The Castle Point borough council Development Committee will tonight consider the proposal for the development of a 57 bedroomed Care Home at the junction of Canvey Road and Northwick Road.
This proposal, within Canvey Island’s depleted Green Belt may present a few contradictory issues during debate.
“Consideration of the proposal under the provisions of the NPPF and adopted Local Plan identifies that the proposal constitutes inappropriate development in the Green Belt, which could only be justified if Very Special Circumstances could be identified,”
“The need for specialist residential accommodation has been identified as a circumstance to which consideration should be given; however, there has been no demonstration that this need can only be met on the application site. In the absence of a clear demonstration that the identified need could not be met elsewhere it is not considered that this circumstance….would justify inappropriate development in the Green Belt.”
The un-identified Need for the Care Home may be difficult to establish, given that the business already has an establishment on a Brownfield site, that it could be argued, may be suitable for renovation to provide the care offered in this new proposal.
“it is considered that the specific scale of development proposed is excessive, resulting in a building of mean and cramped appearance”
“The proposal is therefore contrary to Government guidance as contained in the NPPF.”
The site, currently contains a Garden Centre consisting of basically a large “Green House” style building and wooden canopies to shelter plants. Council officers argue, presumably using imagination, that these they consider “permanent” buildings, in support of the new proposal!
Directly connected to the proposed site is “To the north the site is adjoined by a detached two storey dwelling beyond which is a bungalow and some 112m further to the north, the Dutch Cottage, a Grade II Listed building.
To the west the site is bounded by open land designated an Ancient Landscape and Wildlife site (West Canvey Marshes Nature Reserve) and used, in part, for the grazing of horses.”
Given the Approach to development within Castle Point’s Green Belt of late by the local authority on both a Policy level and at Development Committee level, this proposal may provide some extra confusion to the mix!
Only recently ex-councillor J. King was granted permission for Equestrian facilities consisting of bricks and mortar stables and offices, within the Green Belt.
Contrastingly the need for Housing both market priced and affordable, is proven to exist within the Borough, yet this is denied Approval.
Care MUST be taken in the decision making to establish consistency.
Further, the suitability for a Residential Care Home, within such a small Borough, within an area at Risk of Flooding, should be a serious “consideration”!
The site is opposite an industrial estate with adjoining and nearby roads, Roscommon Way and Northwick Road, the subject of local residents complaints over Noise.
The proposal is also of some considerable size, especially compared to the existing “buildings” on site.
Confusion will be added to debate when the “position” of our previous Local Plans are touched upon. The Adopted 1998 Local Plan is out of date, the Core Strategy is “dead”, the 2014 and 2016 Local Plans are both “withdrawn”, whilst the 2018 hasn’t yet finalised consideration of the Consultation stage!
Most recent development committee decisions have attempted to comply with the proposed non development of so called “virgin Green Belt”, despite the decision in favour of ex-councillor J. King.
The site for the Care Home proposal has been proposed to be included in the most recent draft Local Plan’s. However the 2018 Local Plan is at a development stage, likely to be criticised by an Inspector well ahead of any decision.
Given that the 2 large Green Belt sites in the borough, Jotmans Farm and Glebelands, were both Refused permission by cpbc officers and committee, and on Appeal also Refused by the Secretary of State on grounds that a decision would be Premature whilst a Local Plan was being produced by the local authority, it may appear “confusing” for a site proposed for inclusion in the 2018 Local Plan, to be decided upon ahead of the new Local Plan’s publication.
A new Local Plan, under close scrutiny from the Government’s Chief Planner, may be better used for Housing or indeed returned to the Green Belt. An interesting proposal indeed.
Whilst this proposal is not exactly the same as either the Jotmans and Glebelands cases we can expect to hear a few “However’s” from the cpbc Case Officer during tonight’s discussion!
Illustration Copyright: Brian Davison estates