Category Archives: New Local Plan

Canvey Flatsland – Island to be Re-named after rumours of Jellicoe future emerge?

The Admiral Jellicoe Public House site is to be re-developed into between 40 and 50 Flats, according to rumour that has reached us!

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Preparation work to the site appears to have commenced, this despite a search of the cpbc Housing Portal revealing no application paperwork. If there is paperwork published, then it is very well hidden.

The opportunity for residents to comment appear to have been denied, if the rumour is true. Local parking, for one, must be a huge concern for local residents and businesses alike. The surface water flooding issue will not doubt be dismissed by reassurances supported by officers!

The probability that the government’s call for a Brownfield Site Register will include the Admiral Jellicoe site within Part 2 of the Register, sites granted planning Permission in Principle, is highly likely if cpbc’s Register is published by the December 2017 due date.

Alongside this is the news that the option has been confirmed to consider replacing the Canvey Island Paddocks with a new Hall financed by even more Flats.

The numbers of Flats needed to finance a new Paddocks Hall will undoubtedly be very many, given the Viability issues with the lack of provision of Affordable Housing emerging from lucrative developments of late.

The Canvey High Street is also the location for 2 more Flatted development sites, the old Dairy, and the 125-127 approved proposal, whilst the old Council Building in Long Road is also under threat from the Government call to release local authority land for Housing Development.

The Castle Point Council Crystal Ball indicated this profound finding;

“It is not thought that flatted developments on Canvey will become viable however, due to the additional costs associated with flood resistance and resilience.” *

Well the current frenzy of Canvey Flats development has blown that consideration out of the water!

On social media of late protests that Canvey isn’t more likely to be subject to development than any other part of the borough have emerged from mainland sources. And yet Thorney Bay is the largest actively promoted development site!

More relevant than Housing numbers as an indication of castle point council’s Housing Distribution record, is the population growth in the Borough.

During the last Census decade the distribution of the population increase, Canvey Island was 2.6% up whilst the Mainland saw just a 0.8% increase!

During the time period Castle Point has existed as a Borough; 

Historically, between 1971 and 2001 Canvey Island saw an increase in population of over 40%.  The Mainland saw just a 2.4% increase during the same period.

Quite clearly the demand exists for Housing, exactly where, and why in Castle Point, may require some close examining!

The removal of 8 Green Belt sites from the Local Plan Housing site Supply is to be commended, however the driver for this is questionable as a strategic area in the north of the Borough is to be promoted for release despite it being Green Belt, albeit partially previously developed. Only 1 notable site, of these 8 Green Belt sites, being on Canvey Island.

The cpbc focus of targeting Housing on Canvey Island appears to border on obsessive.

As recent as the 2016 Local Plan amongst their “evidence” to support Housing growth distribution the Sustainability Assessment focussed as early as Pages 4 and 15 of a 258 page document this point was repeated twice!;

“This has caused some people to choose to live in poor quality accommodation at Thorney Bay Caravan Site resulting in health and social issues arising. Housing land supply should be sufficient to enable a stable and regular supply of new homes that respond to local demand”

We suggest that in such a small Borough as Castle Point the focus on the “local” in Housing distribution, especially given the constraints, is too tightly focussed on Canvey Island!

*CPBC Strategic Housing Land Availability 2014

Photograph: Echo

 

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Opportunity Knocks for Canvey Island, whilst Castle Point mainland left Neglected again?

Lucky Canvey Island appears to be at the Opportunity End of Industrial Employment Opportunities!

Planning to Neglect the mainland part of Castle Point in favour of Canvey Island, despite consultants challenging evidence, cpbc look intent on giving the green light to employment planning proposals for large scale development.

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An investment opportunity

This should be seen as a Good News Story not only for the employment opportunity but also the status quo protection of land on the mainland.

The cpbc Annual Monitoring current report indicates Extant permissions for Industrial growth proposals distributed across the Borough thus;

Canvey Island: 45,724 square Metres

Mainland: 3,380 square Metres

Admittedly this may mean a loss of open green space.

Signs so far also indicate that with cpbc promising a high end retail element of take up, minimum wage employment and high traffic usage by deliveries and visitors causing some air pollution and road congestion, may result.

However cpbc must be commended for their bravery in insisting that Canvey Island is the place to develop!

This in the face of their consultants guidance and recommendations;

The main supply of industrial sites is in Canvey Island, away from strategic roads and the areas of stronger demand. Castle Point also has very limited provision for small, start-up businesses compared with adjoining boroughs.

….around 72% of the employment land area is located within the Canvey Island area, with some 27% in Thundersley, and less than 1% within the South Benfleet and Hadleigh urban areas.

Over 90% of the borough’s allocated employment land is in Canvey Island with limited supply elsewhere to meet future demand. The Borough’s two allocated sites South of Northwick Road and Roscommon Way appear reasonably suited to meet future needs although their proximity to the Thames estuary, relative remoteness and potential drainage issues may deter development.

….there may be a qualitative need for some more sites that are readily available and better located to strategic roads and population centres in the north of the Borough.   Such sites might also have better prospects of attracting developers.

It would appear difficult to achieve any sizeable reduction in out-commuting in Castle Point. However, various approaches could help avoid the situation worsening These would include providing some more immediately available industrial sites in the north of the borough, near strategic roads.

….it is not obvious that a new road access to Canvey Island could enable the area to benefit to a much greater extent from the major port and distribution development at London Gateway in Thurrock.  The cost of such infrastructure would also need to be weighed against the scale of economic benefits likely to accrue to Canvey Island, and the extent of these do not appear likely to be major.

The main supply of industrial sites is in Canvey Island, which is away from strategic roads and the areas of stronger demand.

It would appear difficult to achieve any sizeable reduction in out-commuting in Castle Point. However, various approaches could help avoid the situation worsening…. These would include providing some more immediately available industrial sites in the north of the borough, near strategic roads

 

The Paddocks Future remains in the Balance. Residents appear unconvinced by Cabinet Assurances!

Canvey Island Residents were treated to an explanation of the future intentions for the Paddocks Community Hall by the cpbc cabinet member for regeneration  during a Community meeting on the 9th October.

Paddocks

The Paddocks community centre, Canvey Island

Apparently all options are open and a report from consultants is awaited.

Promises to approximately 150 residents in attendance, were given that a Hall would remain on site as would the war memorial.

The underlying prospect is that there appears an unwillingness to commit £1,600,000 on a refurbishment. This figure appears to be an update on the cpbc estimate of March this year of £500,000.

A substantial figure of £4-5 million was mentioned for a new Hall and the impression given, albeit unconfirmed, this is the preferred choice of direction. A new smaller Hall funded by development of Housing (Flats) and the relocation of extra Health Service facilities into the existing NHS building already on site.

Residents should be aware that other local authority owned building and land in the Borough, especially on Canvey Island, will also be examined as to how best to release assets and improve the broken Housing Market. The Government scheme to encourage this land release was covered by the FT in a 2016 article;

Councils to sell £129m of land and property

Thirty-two authorities identify land to build 9,000 homes in first phase of Cabinet Office scheme. Councils will sell £129m of land and property in the early stages of what the government hopes will become a much wider push to raise cash from assets, helping to mitigate budget cuts. In England, 32 local authorities have identified land to build 9,000 homes in the first phase of a Cabinet Office scheme to encourage public sector bodies to reassess their land and property holdings to cut running costs and raise money from sales. Another 100 councils have recently signed up to the scheme.

Photograph: Copyright John Rostron

 

Since when did Canvey Island become the New Klondike?

Canvey Island, the only town with a Housing Crisis?

Well it certainly appears to be the ONLY town in the Borough of Castle Point to be!

Attracted by the apparent “open spaces”, according to the Echo, Canvey is now expected to be the answer to London’s Housing Crisis, as well as providing Housing for its own “Distinct Community”!

The latest Carrot dangled before local politicians is the £2,000,000,000 extra government funding to assist the country’s “Broken Housing Market”.

Whilst Thorney Bay has been the answer to many local authorities own housing problems, the regeneration of the site into Sandy Bay, now appears to mean these housing problems are now, solely Canvey Island’s problem!

The lack of Affordable Homes has been created by weak local authorities, as is castle point council, that have accepted “viability” as an excuse by developers to negate their conditional agreements to supply affordable dwellings. In Castle Point this was demonstrated when the Kiln road developer was excused affordable housing provision by development committee consent, even though houses were being sold for £600,000 each!

The impression given now by cpbc spokesperson is that the rehoming of Thorney Bay residents will be Canvey Island’s responsibility. Fair enough except that the current London influx means the crisis may not be Housing but Services and Transport.

The Borough have accepted Taxes from Thorney Bay, quite obviously re-housing IS a Borough responsibility! Why are Benfleet, Hadleigh and Thundersley areas allowed to cower down behind Canvey Island? Why isn’t the stagnant population growth and ageing population a problem in other parts of Castle Point?

How far we are expected to believe the enormous figure of £2,000,000,000 towards affordable housing will stretch?

There are 326 in England alone, with Castle point being one of the smallest. Supposing the money was distributed evenly, which is unlikely, cpbc may receive £6 million.

If a Flat could be supplied at £150,000, this would attract a subsidy out of the £6 million of approximately £41 per dwelling !

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Cpbc are energetic in attempting to receive their fair share of government grants, but their record in actually receiving the requested funds and infrastructure, such as the second access route for Canvey and the £24,500,000 on drainage improvements, appears less successful.

Until the Constraints, identified within the NPPF, are addressed fairly and evenly across the Borough, within the draft New Local Plan vers.III, then these appeals for Government Cash are quite correctly going elsewhere to more deserving causes. 

Perhaps cpbc members have cried Wolf, once too often!

Photo: Favim.com

Why Must Canvey Island be the Answer to ALL of Castle Point Council’s Problems? Because they consider us Old, Fat and Deprived!

As we have said before, Canvey Islanders know our place and appear to be willing to absorb as much punishment and discomfort that our overseers wish to dump on us!

The latest re-emergence is in the name of delivering better Health Care to the Island population, or in other words, yes you have got it, Saving Money!

The Castle Point and Rochford Health Care Trust are consulting (very privately I would add), on a Plan to close the Long Road ex Council Offices facility And – Get This – handing the building back to Castle Point Borough Council.

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Jacksons Photo Service

The very same CPBC, who are desperate to identify as much land on Canvey Island to provide as many Housing development Sites as possible for their Unsound New Local Plan MkIII !

We can all guess how this will end up, with yet another Canvey Island Flatted development!

In a document that seriously denigrates the current surgeries on Canvey Island so as to imply that most should be closed and incorporated into the Paddocks health centre, chiefly it appears to cast an alarming financial cloud over the Castle Point and Rochford situation, and implying that the Canvey situation is the cause of the financial mess the Trust is in, or that only Canvey, can provide the means of relieving the area’s budget shortfall!

The proposal is that 25,000 Canvey Island patients will be accommodated at the Paddocks surgery!

The document goes on to summarise;

“Why Canvey Island?
As detailed above it can be concluded that there are issues within the Canvey area which can be summarised as follows;
*Increasing elderly population living in their own homes  *High levels of deprivation  *Increasing obesity leading to an increase in type 2 diabetes  *Regeneration of Canvey Island with increased housing and population growth  *Deteriorating GP premises (excluding Central Canvey Primary Care Centre)”

And so we go around in circles with cpbc creating and increasing the problems for Canvey Island in the name of Planning:

Because of the perceived issues, Canvey must be continued to be developed;

Because of over-development, we have perceived issues!

It doesn’t help when a Health Care Trust resort to tired, out dated CPBC clichés to identify perceived issues with Canvey Island and its residents to support its intended course of Action! As if none of the other towns in the district, nor Rochford have any of the same issues.

If anybody can remember the original Rejected cpbc Local Plan, that included an Aspiration for a second large health centre.

Fortunately with the first attempt at a cpbc Local Plan, the Examining Inspector identified what cpbc were attempting, and was rejected basically because of an imbalance of Housing Growth distribution across the Borough. That is cpbc wished to direct the large housing sites onto Canvey Island!

It is noticeable that ONLY the Canvey surgeries are under Scrutiny, none of the Rochford, Daws Heath, Benfleet, Hadleigh nor Thundersley are considered!

Castle Point &Rochford Clinical Commissioning Group applied to NHS England for a pot of money, which has been granted, for the following:

To hand back the former Long Road Council Offices to castle point borough council and to move facilities, xray etc, into the ccpcc (Paddocks) to form a new Canvey health hub.

To facilitate these changes, structural changes and layout changes are necessary in the ccpcc, of which they’re already at a point where they intend to push ahead with this next year.

Currently awaiting approval from castle point borough council. 

Castle Point Borough Council are desperate to identify development land as so much is protected on the mainland. In carrying out this search they would prefer, so as to avoid challenge, for this to be as much Brownfield land as possible.

Being as they appear to have few scruples in their choice of land, in a Flood Zone, in a Critical Drainage Area, near Hazardous Industrial sites etc, a Listed Building, such as the NHS facility in the old Canvey Council Long Road building, should prove little obstacle for an allocation of Flats!

The fact that the building in question was originally Canvey Island district council’s, will make even more sense for our mainland controlled borough council to make use of this “Gift”!

The Long Road, ex Canvey Island Urban District Council office and chamber is, as mentioned, a Listed Building. CPBC indicate that they consider it “Both historically and architecturally significant.”

And yet cpbc have left it barely maintained and Neglected!

If this issue has caused a little stir amongst any Canvey Islanders, they may wish to look a little further into the document.

Ignore the initial 10 pages of college boy “blue sky outside of the box” bull **** and you will read some pretty damning findings , most probably out of date, on our Canvey Island Surgeries.

Is it too late to do anything about it?

Most probably, but lets see if this draws a response from our representatives.

The document can be read via this Link: https://castlepointandrochfordccg.nhs.uk/about-us/our-governing-body/governing-body-meetings/2017/27-july-2017/2753-item-09-canvey-outline-business-case-270717/file

Then consider, Why Must Canvey Island appear to be the Answer to All of Castle Point’s Problems?

Further History of the Long Road building can be found via CanveyIsland.org the Canvey Community Archive

A Little Government Help with assessing Castle Point’s Annual Housing Needs – as if we needed any!

The Castle Point Council long winded Local Plan process, (yes we know it is important to get it right and that No Plan is better than a Bad Plan, oh sorry that is a different current process), has indicated with the usual accuracy that the current Housing Need is roughly between 326 -410 New Dwellings per Year!

The latest Government Assessment indicates, ahead of a consultation on the methodology used, that Castle Point requires 342 New Dwellings per Annum.

The estimate of Green Belt land in the Borough is 55%.

This consultation sets out a number of proposals to reform the planning system to increase the supply of new homes and increase local authority capacity to manage growth.

Proposals include:

  • a standard method for calculating local authorities’ housing need
  • how neighbourhood planning groups can have greater certainty on the level of housing need to plan for
  • a statement of common ground to improve how local authorities work together to meet housing and other needs across boundaries
  • making the use of viability assessments simpler, quicker and more transparent
  • increased planning application fees in those areas where local planning authorities are delivering the homes their communities need

The ‘Housing need consultation data table’ sets out the housing need for each local planning authority using our proposed method, how many homes every place in the country is currently planning for, and, where available, how many homes they believe they need.

Alongside this consultation, the ‘Comprehensive registration programme: priority areas for land registration’ document lists those areas where Her Majesty’s Land Registry intends to prioritise the registration of ownership of all publicly held land.

A link to the Consultation can be found HERE.

Apologies for the lack of any photograph, we hope it doesn’t detract from the content.

 

Government Consultation on Assessing Housing Need – Delayed

The Department for Communities and Local Government has confirmed the consultation on assessing local housing need has been delayed until Parliament returns in September.

Speaking at the Local Government Association (LGA) conference early in July, communities secretary Sajid Javid said the government would launch a consultation on a new way for councils to assess their local housing requirements that month.

This was first announced in the housing white paper in February.

Now, a spokesperson at the DCLG has confirmed that the department “intends to publish the local housing need consultation when Parliament returns in September”.

Richard Blyth, head of policy at the RTPI, told The Planner the standardised methodology “must be introduced so as not to cause a hiatus in local plan production”.

Andrew Gale, chief operating officer, Iceni Projects, said: “While the introduction of a new simplified methodology for assessing housing requirements has been widely supported by many in the industry, the government has clearly concluded that efforts to force councils to increase the number of homes in their local plans is too much of a political hot-potato.”

2 August 2017 Laura Edgar, The Planner