Category Archives: New Local Plan

Canvey Island, Congestion – Lack of Infrastructure – Business, Retail + Housing Development and a Couldn’t Care Less attitude to Parking Provision!

For Canvey Islanders the daily commute, whether by car or public transport, can be, to put it politely, “challenging”! Castle Point Council will tell you that it is the same across the whole Borough.

As we are all aware there is pressure to supply yet more and more Housing development. This will inevitably add to the problem.

One would have thought that, CPBC would have adopted a strategy by now, especially over the extended period taken to arrive at a 3 times rejected Local Plan, that would at least start to address the congestion problem.

But no, where Canvey Island is concerned, the Town Centre Regeneration scheme has been ignored and dismissed where convenient to CPBC! The old Nat West building and neighbouring property, identified as space for road realignment is set to become a community centre and bakery, with new development adjoining.

More concerning however, is the lack of correlation between, new Builds and the accompanying Car Parking spaces, and the major Business and Retail Parks receiving all being Approved on the Island!

These planning proposals all due to impose a Negative Impact on Canvey Island’s Car Parking and Road Network, despite the fine words included within the Local Plan 2018.

The Castle Point Borough Council Emerging Local Plan proposed Policies that seeks “Opportunities to promote walking, cycling and public transport are pursued; The environmental impact of traffic and transport infrastructure is taken into account; and Movement, streets and parking are integrated into designs”

The Emerging Local Plan recognises “Many of the main routes within the borough are single carriageway roads with little prospect for widening due to the proximity of existing development. This also limits the potential to provide dedicated passenger transport routes and cycleways” “Castle Point is peripheral on the bus service network and whilst there are good services during the day on most routes, service frequency is not as good in the evenings and on Sundays.”” The cycle network within Castle Point is limited, and where it does exist it is disjointed and poorly maintained.”

The New Out of Town Retail / Business sites will not only be to the detriment of the Canvey Town Centre but also intensify the Congestion heading towards and from Canvey West. However, almost every Flatted development Approved on Canvey, has a shortfall of Car Parking Spaces, officers suggesting that isn’t their concern as Town centre Flats benefit from facilities being nearby and benefit from regular public transport!

Equally there is a consistency with the Approved Retail / Business sites, that they to, when residents and mainlanders arrive, will also have a Shortfall of Car Parking Spaces!

Below are a few examples indicating the Castle Point Council’s Planning officers and committee approach to the issues of Car Parking and new Housing Development and Retail / Business development.

Spot the Connections!

King Canute Flats, Vetenary practice and CO OP store.

“The proposed car park…..would result in a significant level of harmful conflict… between the 3 independent uses, adversely affecting the ease of movement within the site, and if approved, likely to accumulate in the displacement of the residential occupiers vehicles onto Edith road, to the detriment of safety and traffic flows,”

The Flats “attract a requirement of two parking spaces” each…. “the provision of 3 spaces (in total) would appear to represent a deficiency, however….””where Flats will have easy access to the bus network…” “the parking provision is considered satisfactory.”

“With regard to the retail element” the area of floor space results” in a maximum requirement of 25 parking spaces.”

The retail element is provided with some 13 parking spaces.” Recommended for Approval and subsequently Approved by Committee.

…………………………………………..

125 – 127 High Street Canvey Island. 14 x 2 Bedroom Flats

“ The currently adopted parking standards published by ECC require the provision of two spaces per property. Within Town Centres this may be reduced.”

“The site is remote from the core of the Town Centre…”

“Visitor parking should be provided at a rate of 0.25 spaces per dwelling.”

“Application of parking standards generates a requirement of 32 parking spaces.”

“The proposal would provide 15 spaces and should therefore attract a recommendation of Refusal.” Approved on Appeal

…………………………………………

Canvey Supply Ltd 74 High Street Canvey Island  16/0212/OUT

The scheme would provide 24 car parking spaces and 32 cycle parking spaces to serve the needs of the residential development and 4 spaces to serve the shops.

The maximum parking requirement for this development is as follows:

12 x 1 bed apartments 12 spaces, 12 x 2 bed apartments 24 spaces, Visitors 0.25 x 24 = 6 = 6 spaces 42 spaces parking spaces.

The proposed retail units have an area of some 268m2 and therefore attract a requirement for 14 parking spaces.

A maximum total of 56 spaces is therefore required on the site.

The proposal seeks to provide 24 residential parking spaces.

 The proposed development is deficient in parking provision and ordinarily would attract a recommendation of refusal. However, the site is located within a Town Centre where the availability of private parking and service areas is extremely limited and where access to other public car parks and public transport is available. Approved by CPBC committee.

……………………………………..

Now let’s look at our New Retail / Business developments!

Land Opposite Morrisons Northwick Road 15/0293/RES

Hotel and motor dealership. Approx. 27 Units various sizes.

This site has a total area of 7.5ha, the north of which connects to Northwick Road. The east of the site is bounded by Roscommon Way and the Morrisons site

Parking Requirement 590 Spaces. 565 Spaces to be provided. Projected Shortfall  25 Spaces.

………………………………..

Lidl foodstore 18/0868/FUL

Lidls presents itself as a local convenience retailer and therefore operates on the basis of a limited catchment area. Usually this would be a five minute drive time. However given the somewhat unique circumstances of Canvey Island, this has been extended to eight minutes in order, primarily to capture the whole of Canvey.

A significant proportion of turnover will therefore be derived from diversion from existing retailers.

 The impact of this diversion on the vitality and viability of the Centres must now be considered.

102 car parking spaces would be provided. The proposed store would attract a requirement for 149 car parking spacesShortfall of 47 Spaces.

………………………………..

Land South Of Roscommon Way Canvey Island  14/0707/OUT, Demolition of disused pumping station and construction of commercial and industrial development

7.41Ha site

The proposed Layout indicates the intention to provide 566 Parking Spaces. However the Actual Supply should be 662 a Shortfall of 96 Parking spaces.

…………………………….

Retail Site M and S, Costa, B and M, Sports Direct, Garden Centre etc

Land off Roscommon Way Canvey Island 16/0419/FUL

3.4Ha site (approx).

Approved with undersize car parking spaces, inconsistent with adopted parking standards.

The proposal should be required to provide 456 car Parking Spaces

Actual Supply 240 Parking Spaces. Just 53% of the Requirement “This deficiency would appear to represent a significant objection to be proposal.”

………………………………..

Next time you are out sitting in Traffic or wondering why people are Parking on Pavements etc, just Remember, it’s all part of somebody’s Big Plan!

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Residents of Canvey Island left to Face the Risks, whilst Castle Point Council, Fail to Develop an Adequate, operable Emergency Plan!

38,459+ Residents living on Canvey Island, seemingly oblivious to the everyday Risks and potential Harm facing them!

Whether the Risk is Tidal from the Estuary, Surface Water flooding or from the Hazardous Industries on the Island, a suitable Emergency Plan involving the Residents is essential.

The old Adage “we are safe from the Sea” is bunkum, as Castle Point Borough Council’s own evidence Highlights!   

 “Given the risk to the population, various measures are required to deal with the concerns to human health and wellbeing. These include:

• The need for an emergency plan to be in place;

• The need for sea defences to be maintained and improved;

• The need to maintain the population living in the flood risk zone at current levels or lower;

• The need for existing homes to be made more flood resilient, and include areas where people can remain safe in the event of a flood;

• The need for new development to incorporate design elements that make them safe in the event of a flood for occupiers;

• The need for building techniques to be used that enable easy restoration in the event of a flood.” (1)

Further CPBC Local Plan Evidence Documentation enforces the issues;

10.4 Tidal and fluvial flooding poses the most significant flood risk to the Castle Point Borough, in particular Canvey Island and Hadleigh Marshes. The topography and location of watercourses on Canvey Island means that the whole island is at risk from tidal and fluvial flooding. Although much of the Island is protected by the presence of defences, the island is still at residual risk of flooding if the defences were to fail or to be overtopped.

10.5 In the event that a breach in the existing flood defences was to occur, or a failure of one of the existing flood barriers (residual risk), significant depths of floodwater would be experienced on Canvey Island and the southern portion of the mainland.  Given the low lying nature of these parts of the Borough, floodwaters would propagate rapidly across Canvey Island thereby reducing the time for warning and evacuation of residents. (2)

During the Local Plan Intervention fiasco, CPBC informed the Secretary of State of particular physical circumstances of the Borough, considered to be legitimate constraints as to why the Authority could not provide for its Housing Development Needs.

“Of the urban areas of the Borough, Canvey Island, with approximately half of the Borough’s population, is defined by the Environment Agency as Flood Risk Zone 3a, being at or below sea level.

Further land is likely to be required on Canvey Island by the Environment Agency for improvement to existing sea defences in the lifetime of a Local Plan, further restricting opportunity for development

The Health & Safety Executive require significant exclusion areas to be maintained by the Local Planning authority around two top-tier COMAH sites on Canvey Island’s Thames Estuary frontage”, (3)

Direct Recommendations detailed within the CPBC Strategic Flood Risk Assessment state:

“The majority of the sites will rely on the provision of adequate emergency planning measures to mitigate the residual risk of tidal flooding in the event of a breach in the tidal flood defences.

It is therefore strongly recommended that the suitability of locating more residential accommodation on Canvey Island and the capacity of the existing egress routes off the island is further discussed with the Emergency Planning Team at Castle Point Borough Council and/or Essex County Council prior to site allocation” (4)

Remarkably, CPBCs Development Control Committee has taken responsibility, (having only aspirational resolutions for the various preventative requirements), for successfully seeing-through Housing developments at Canvey Island since January 2012.

In doing so exposing an increased number of residential and commercial population to Residual and/or Actual Societal Risks.

Emergency Plans supporting increased development on Canvey Island are seemingly only “Generic”, where by dealing with a wide range of possible scenarios such as for example Influenza Pandemics, with no “Specific Plans” that relate to a particular emergency.

Specific Plans are a detailed set of arrangements designed to go beyond the generic arrangements, when the latter are likely to prove insufficient in particular cases such as breaching of flood defences or total LPG tank failure. (5)

It would appear that CPBC have not considered the value of Specific Planning in relation to Canvey Island, if they have, they have not included the involvement of the community in the production of specific planning for viable emergency incidents.

Editor, I will leave the reader with an opportunity to provide a Rationale as to how our local authority, Castle Point Borough Council has managed “Residual Risks” via its Local Planning strategy.

Document References

  1. The CPBC Sustainability Appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment Scoping Report, New Local Plan January 2012
  2. Castle Point Borough Council New Local Plan 2018 Technical Evidence: Summary Document June 2018
  3. CPBC Response letter to Sajid Javid 31st Jan 2018, regarding why Government Intervention in the Local Plan process was unnecessary.
  4. Revised Castle Point 2018 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment
  5. Chapter 5 Cabinet Office Revised Emergency Preparedness. Definitions of “Generic” and “Specific” Emergency Planning.

The Big Stick raised to Fall across Castle Point Council’s Knuckles! Government yet to send Letter, as the Wirral and Thanet hear their Local Plan Bad News!

Castle Point Council are now the sole Council awaiting the Government response to their “protracted” efforts towards producing a Local Plan.

Back in March 2018 CPBC were one of just 3 Local Authorities singled out for criticism at the lack of response and effort towards forwarding Local Plans amongst the 15 most feet dragging authorities threatened by the then Housing Minister.

In letters dated 28th January 2019 the Wirral and Thanet Councils have received further instruction on what is now required towards producing their Local Plan. Basically a streamlined group, consisting of a designated lead councillor and lead official, will be charged with responsibility of progressing their Local Plans.

No word as yet of Castle Point Council’s Fate!

In his letter to the Wirral Council, the Secretary of State, JAMES BROKENSHIRE wrote; “We note that in the Wirral’s case the Housing Minister points out “at least two communities in Wirral are currently preparing neighbourhood plans: Leastowe and Birkenhead North. Two further communities have neighbourhood plans in force: Devonshire Park and Hoylake. Communities can bring forward neighbourhood plans in the absence of an up-to-date Local Plan, but doing so can be more challenging for communities.””

Previously Housing Secretary SAJID JAVID had stated; “The government has abolished top-down regional planning. But a locally-led planning system requires elected local representatives to take the lead, listen to local residents and business, and set out a clear framework to build new homes, provide key infrastructure, support the local economy and protect the environment.”

The Canvey Green Belt Campaign group maintains the opinion that Canvey Island, as a whole, would have been better represented if we had made efforts to, at least, commence a Neighbourhood Plan.

This is no less relevant, now that we learn that within the next stages of a CPBC Local Plan, we will be represented by a Lead Councillor more likely to propose inappropriate development on Canvey Island.

A Canvey Island Neighbourhood Plan would have been a vehicle to illustrate the issues facing Canvey Island, in the process to produce a fair Castle Point Local Plan.

Instead we will likely be represented by a Lead Councillor supportive of the rejected 2018 Local Plan, and all of the Development that document proposed to deliver on Green Belt on the Flood Zone and away from politically sensitive areas!

Sources inform us that no Local Plan work is on-going at CPBC, they appear to sitting like ducks in the water, oblivious to the shotgun about to be fired at them!

Admittedly it is strange that of the 3 councils in most serious trouble with the Secretary of State, only CPBC have yet to receive a letter. Either way none of the councillors are feeding any information nor CPBC making comment as to Local Plan progress.

Councillors and officers have a responsibility to the Residents but show little regard as to keeping them informed.

We are likely to pay a heavy price for CPBC’s ineptitude!

We thank our friends at Basildon Residents Against Inappropriate Development for alerting us to the issuing of the Government letters to the Wirral and Thanet Councils, shame our local Echo isn’t more challenging where CPBC is concerned.

The Letters issued to the Wirral and Thanet can be found via this LINK.

Castle Point Borough Council, the Authority that uses Canvey Island Flood Risk as a Constraint to Limit Housing Growth, across the Whole Borough!

Canvey Island residents lay claim that they are treated unfairly by Castle Point Council. In turn CPBC claim they are being treated unfairly by the Government, by being threatened with Intervention due to their Tardiness with producing a Local Plan!

Apparent outrage from the CPBC leader and chief executive, at those Councillors brave enough to Reject the draft Local Plan, did not disguise the fact that the emerging Plan deserved closer Scrutiny and Challenge from Councillors, than those Reasons given for their votes of Rejection during the December Council Meeting.

Whether the Failure of the Local Plan 2018 is due to CPBC Incompetence, or whether some perceived levels of Immorality, or political corruption, is involved in the selection of the Canvey Island Green Belt sites for Housing Development, especially in the approach to the application of the Sustainability Tests involved, we leave the Reader to decide.

As you are probably aware, the whole of Canvey Island is regarded as being in Flood Zone 3a. Housing in this Zone is considered as being Vulnerable development.

The whole of Canvey Island is also considered to be a Critical Drainage Area.

For ease and to avoid confusion wording highlighted in Blue are those of CPBC whilst wording in Red is official Government Guidance.

The Castle Point Local Plan 2018 version at Paragraph 17.4 states “planning policies should take a proactive approach to mitigating and adapting to climate change, taking into account the long-term implications for flood risk, coastal change, water supply, biodiversity and landscapes and policies should support appropriate measures to ensure the future resilience of communities and infrastructure to climate change impacts”

Typically though, of CPBC, and despite their Officers and some members,  insisting that the NPPF should be “Read as a Whole”, the Local Plan 2018 version Craftily fails to include the final, and most Important part of the NPPF text of the above Paragraph 17.4.

That is; “ , such as providing space for physical protection measures, or making provision for the possible future relocation of vulnerable development and infrastructure.

CPBC Sequential Test Page 2

This Local Plan Evidence document almost immediately sets out to justify, carte blanche, large scale Housing development on Canvey Island.

Bear in mind that Housing and Residential care Homes are considered to be a “More Vulnerable” uses of Land in Canvey Island a Flood Zone 3a area.

“The NPPF recognises that following the application of the sequential test, it is not always possible, consistent with wider objectives, for certain development proposals/requirements to be located in lower ‘flood risk zones’. It therefore also sets out a test that needs to be passed if certain types of development are to be exceptionally allocated in a local plan”

Exception Test

All of the Canvey Island Housing Sites are considered by CPBC to Pass the Exception Test, “This site has significant positive impacts related to the sustainability objective concerning the provision of housing, including affordable housing.”

Affordable Housing being considered practically Unviable on all Housing Development Sites, even those not requiring the Surface Water Management measures, and Sustainable Urban Drainage schemes, and Raised Floor Levels that are now required on Canvey Island.

Additionally the CPBC Sequential Test found that, NONE of the 9 Housing Development Sites allocated for Canvey Island is considered to be “Within a Potential Surface Water Flooding Hotspot”, whilst 4 of the Mainland Housing Sites were within a potential flooding Hotspot !

Clearly the evidence found in the Reports, on the Canvey Island Summer Flooding 2014 and 2013, has been discounted, ignored and will be hidden from the Government Chief Planner and Planning Inspector examining the Next CPBC Local Plan!

Groundwater Flooding

“All the deliverable and developable sites assessed in terms of their risk of groundwater flooding were found to be appropriate for development, at least in this respect.”

We would ask CPBC “what Tests and Reports  were their Assessments based on?”

Once again only certain Mainland Sites were considered to be “Within an Area Susceptible to Groundwater Flooding”, NONE of the Canvey Island Sites allocated for Housing Development were considered to be affected!

This goes Against common local knowledge AND written evidenced Reports to be found on CPBC’s own website!

Recommendations

“Subject to other considerations, it is recommended that when selecting sites for development in the New Local Plan, preference is given to those sites within the highest preference ranking groups over those in lower groups. This will reduce the exposure of new development to flood risk.

It is recommended that housing sites on Canvey are only allocated as a means of providing flexibility to the housing land supply. If sites on Canvey are included within the New Local Plan, a sequential phasing requirement should be applied within their allocation policy to ensure other sequentially preferable allocated sites are brought forward first. Additionally, requirements in the allocations policies should include the provision of flood resistant and resilient design.”

Quite clearly the Housing Development Site Allocation process, of Castle Point Borough Council, applies considerably more Weight on Green Belt protection over that of Flood Risk. The local authority Actively Chooses to adopt this approach despite some sites on Canvey Island being both Green Belt, within a 3a Flood Risk Zone and a Critical Drainage Area!

Government Guidance in the NPPF continues to point out;

“11. Plans and decisions should apply a presumption in favour of sustainable development.

 For plan-making this means that:

b) strategic policies should, as a minimum, provide for objectively assessed needs for housing and other uses, as well as any needs that cannot be met within neighbouring areas, unless:

i. the application of policies in this Framework that protect areas or assets of particular importance provides a strong reason for restricting the overall scale, type or distribution of development in the plan area, see Footnote 6

Footnote 6 The policies referred to are those in this Framework (rather than those in development plans) relating to: habitats sites (and those sites listed in paragraph 176) and/or designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest; land designated as Green Belt, Local Green Space, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a National Park (or within the Broads Authority) or defined as Heritage Coast; irreplaceable habitats; designated heritage assets (and other heritage assets of archaeological interest referred to in footnote 63); and areas at risk of flooding or coastal change.”

“Incompetence”, perceived “Political Immorality”, or a “Corruption of Facts”, you decide, if not the Examining Planning Inspector most certainly will!

Canvey_060309_1

Canvey Island, densely urbanised yet always room for more!

 

Castle Point Council remain on the Intervention “Naughty Step”, whilst other authorities stall and Protect Green Belt! Making an example of CPBC may come at a Cost!

Castle Point Council, having endured an uncomfortable Christmas, sat on the Government Intervention “Naughty Step”, continue to give no sign of any action they may, or may not, have been taking to put the Secretary of State, at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s, mind at rest that they have continued working hard on the CPBC Local Plan.

With the extended Christmas break for council officers and members, we can only assume that once the dreaded “phone call” from the Government chief planner is received, CPBC will by then have raised the White Flag of surrender above Runnymede Towers!

After all, the Local Development Scheme’s Timetable was more focussed on producing Any Local Plan on time, rather than a Good Local Plan! Sound familiar?

However, with the whole Country focussing on the Brexit position, now could be a very Bad Time to make an example of Castle Point Council. With local elections due in May it may be considered untimely for the Government to be seen to be criticising their colleagues within the Local Lead political group, particularly as some of their own members took such decisive action in opposing a Local Plan that proposed so much development on Green Belt!

Since the Local Plan process has been undertaken in Castle Point the current Lead group has maintained political control. Withdrawn Plans include the Core Strategy, the 2014 Plan and the 2016 Plan. Clearly some assistance may be required, but for the Government to make a move that could possibly unbalance the control of the council, would be interesting in the least.

Some public explanation as to what, if any, work has continued to be undertaken would be the least residents deserve, even if only a statement was released via the cpbc friendly Echo.

Meanwhile; The number of homes granted planning permission in England rose by two per cent in the year to the end of September, rising to 359,500.
“The latest Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government statistics reveal a slight increase on the 352,000 homes securing permission in the same period last year.” Housing minister Kit Malthouse welcomed the cooperation between “builders, developers and councillors”, claiming that government reforms to the planning system are “starting to deliver the permissions we need to reach 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s”. Planningportal.co.uk

From this we can ascertain that secured Permissions do not equate to the number of dwellings delivered.

Probably, and more threateningly to Canvey Island, similar to the number of sites identified for release in the CPBC Local Plan, will not equate to the number of sites being developed on the mainland!

County Border News reports December 2018

“Tandridge district council said, the plan would be submitted “in advance of the introduction of a new government target, which would require the district to plan for 12,900 new homes or 645 homes per year”.
It added: “Based on the rural nature, environmental and landscape designations and the significant proportion of the district covered by Green Belt, the council believes the number of homes the local plan can deliver is 6,056, or 303 homes per year.

Whilst elsewhere in Greater Manchester, the local authority have also revised downwards the number of new homes needed, whilst also halving the proposed Green Belt Loss!

“Insiders say this was because the original document was planning for more homes than the region needed.
It also concentrates even more ‘high density’ development in Manchester and Salford – apartments, essentially – as well as in town centres such as Stockport and Bolton, in order to reduce the amount of protected green space under threat elsewhere.
Around 15 green belt sites have been removed from the plan altogether.

The total amount of green belt space under threat has roughly halved under the new plan” **

Whether Localism is to become an empty promise, or not, with other authorities performing equally, if not worse, than CPBC, for the Government to make an example of Castle Point Borough Council at this “sensitive” time, may well be at the price of an upset mainland community.

smiff

*more can be read HERE.

** more can be read HERE.

Master-Planning is left in the Paddock, whilst the Local Plan, Stalls! Could Castle Point Council appear anymore Inadequate? Government Chief Planner to eventually let us know!

Two issues have reared their heads locally, One concerning the Paddocks, Canvey Island, the other the whole of Castle Point through its emerging Local Plan and the Government threat of Intervention!

Firstly the Paddocks. It appears that 3 Councillors have visited the Paddocks and engaged with the Hall users.

Now our cllr Leader, cllr smith has enthused over his Local Plan’s promotion of “Master Planning” where development is concerned. During the Special Council meeting arranged to hurry / force through the approval of the Local Plan 2018, much was made of the Master planning initiative, through which local ward councillors would have input, alongside residents and developers on new developments.

So it was surprising to learn that these 3 councillors attending and engaging with the Paddocks users where not the local South Ward representatives.

The Local Plan 2018 reads: “The NPPF also explains that the creation of high quality buildings and places in fundamental to what the planning process should achieve. It goes on to state that design quality should be considered throughout the evolution and assessment of proposals. Early discussion between developers, the local planning authority and the local community is important for clarifying expectations. Proposals that demonstrate early, proactive and effective engagement should be looked on more favourably.” 

So it appears that cllr smith’s preference for Master Planning, maybe somewhat selective!

The Agenda paperwork for the Local Plan 2018 Special Council meeting clearly indicates that the threat of Government Intervention in the Castle Point Local Plan is a dire consequence of not adhering to a strict agreed Timetable;

“Failure to keep to the programme as agreed by Council in the LDS to produce a legally and technically compliant local plan is likely to result in intervention.”

“Failure to make progress with the New Local Plan 2018 at this time will also be noted by the Secretary of State.”

“If the Council wishes to remain in control of the Council’s local plan process for the Borough the Council must make progress with a local plan. The New Local Plan 2018 now before Council has been prepared to an accelerated timetable, agreed in June following consultation with the Ministry.”

On the Local Plan 2018 itself; “The Chief Executive informed Council that the consultants, led by an experienced Planning Inspector had concluded ‘Lit appears that the Council should be able to submit a local plan for examination which meets current national advice’.”

” The decision (for councillors consideration, rather than that of approval of the Local Plan and its Green Belt development) was whether to keep control of the local plan making process for Castle Point or allow Government officials to intervene and take over the process.”

As we all know the Local Plan 2018 was rejected by Full Council despite these warnings!

Councillors found that amongst other reasoning the distribution of Housing Growth was generally Unjustified.

Since then there has been a further Full council meeting. This meeting produced NO  report on works being carried out on furthering or adjusting the Local Plan!

Such is the purported urgency with the Local Plan schedule that it would have been reasonable to expect, by Government Planners and the Secretary of State AND local Residents, that some work would have gone into addressing the concerns of the councillors that were “brave” enough to go against the council leader’s and ceo’s advice and warnings!

It would be interesting to learn from the Canvey Island Independent Leader and cllr A.Sheldon, possibly the most active Green Belt campaigning mainland councillor, whether officers and / or council leader have engaged with them in a seemingly important effort to continue a process of adjusting the Local Plan, to make it acceptable for councillors approval. Or are the leadership simply sitting and waiting to hear our Fate?

If nothing is being done, you can be sure Castle Point Borough Council will look even more inadequate than it did following the Duty to Cooperate debacle, in which the leadership and officers can be viewed as being seriously negligent!

 

Canvey the Answer to Castle Point’s Problems, now were in the Sights of Thurrock Council. A 3rd Access Road plus our own Railway Station? Don’t be Fooled!

Canvey Island long the Dumping Ground of local problematic development issues, has now fallen under the Radar of our “friends” in Thurrock!

The new Thames Crossing scheduled to be located within Thurrock, is proving understandably unpopular. So in an attempt, no doubt, to carry favour with the Thurrock electorate the local councillors, ignoring the financial impacts to the scheme, are seeking to have the Crossing moved further along the Thames to Canvey Island!

In turn, Castle Point Council’s eternal aspirational political golden nugget, the 3rd Canvey Island Relief Road, to Manor Way Thurrock, is kicked into touch!

So much for the Cooperation so highly lauded by CPBC and the other “band” of 6 South Essex Council, under the banner of ASELA, or “The Association of South Essex Local Authorities”!

This group of 7 local authorities, joined to plan a strategic approach to Development and Growth across the region, are also expected to assist each other in producing Local Plan’s.

The Duty to Cooperate being a major contributory factor as to whether a Local Plan may be successful or a failure. CPBC having already fallen at that hurdle may be more sensitive and aware of the Duty to Cooperates importance than most.

If such strategic issues such as the new Thames Crossing and a new access road to Canvey Island can prove to be such pitfalls and failure issues, then the other important issue of seeking assistance for taking some of CPBC’s Housing provision will appear to be likely to receive an absolute rejection from our neighbouring local authorities!

This Cooperation, or the lack of, is not apparent from the CPBC website, where a statement reads:

Councils across South Essex have agreed a common approach to supporting the development of housing and key infrastructure over the next twenty years.
The Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA) – which is made up of Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point, Essex County, Rochford, Southend-on-Sea, and Thurrock Councils – has drafted a ‘Statement of Common Ground (SCG)’.
Cllr Louise McKinlay, Leader of Brentwood Borough Council and Chair of ASELA, says: “We are working collectively and across our district borders for our vision for South Essex’s future.
“This is not just about providing more housing, it’s about much more than that. It’s looking at developing new and improved transport links and roads, new health, medical and care facilities, schools and creating business and skill opportunities across South Essex to support a growing economy. All of this needs to be part of the proposals very early on.”
“The Government is looking to local authorities to prepare Statements of Common Ground as part of a new Local Plan process, and more specifically, to provide the main evidence to demonstrate that strategic planning matters have been dealt with effectively and the legal provisions of the ‘Duty to Cooperate’ have been met. ASELA have been a national pilot for the new process and are the first collective of local authorities to reach this stage of the new process.

Reads well, but not so cooperative in practise between our local Thurrock councillors. it appears!

Thurrock councillor Peter Smith has claimed the crossing should be on Canvey instead. “I am not an engineering expert, but when we talk to the public and fellow councillors, they keep saying further east, towards Canvey on the Essex side.
“At that distance on Canvey, it can go straight under in a tunnel. That would alleviate the impact to the (Thurrock) local people.”

A better and more clearer example of a DOGMATIC approach, would be hard to find, and not suggesting the Duty to Cooperate is going too well, is it?

Of course a new Thames Crossing proposal for Canvey Island has been considered, and dismissed I must add, some years before.

Once again the promised, aspirational benefits to be bestowed on Canvey Island, despite the Crossing’s route being the most expensive, were to be beyond local residents dreams.

“Metrotidal Ltd believes that the capital cost of the plan will be £2–4bn, with the tunnelling part of the project thought to cost around £1bn. The tunnel is expected to be formed from concrete tubes immersed in the bed of the estuary along a trench dredged across the Thames.”

“and will give Canvey Island its own railway station for the first time and a third road access off the island.”

It would appear on that note a very good place to end the Blog for this year 2018, and to thank One and All for reading, following, contributing and supporting the Canvey Green Belt Campaign cause.

To everyone of you we Wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Links to the previous Thames Crossing, Canvey Island proposal, the press coverage of the Thurrock Councillor’s call for Canvey Island to be used for the new Crossing are below;

Canvey Crossing Link.

Thurrock Councillor’s Rant Link.

Should anybody wish to take part in the Thames Crossing Consultation, time is fast running out to do so as the consultation closes on the 20th December, the link is HERE.

Meanwhile to our Thurrock Councillor friends we extend a friendly:

Harvey Smith