With Castle Point council indicating no Development Control meeting scheduled for March 2018 and confusion over the April meeting, there could be an indication that all is not well where Planning is concerned at our local authority!
Luckily our local newspaper, the Echo, has not picked up on this as cpbc may well have been made to reveal some difficult reasoning as to, not only, what is behind these meetings being cancelled, but also why Residents involvement in the Planning Process is being censored! (see the link HERE.)
Clearly there is a move to apply a level of Autocratic control over planning in Castle Point, whether this has come from instruction from the Government department or the back offices of Runnymede Towers, we await answers!
There is either plotting being undertaken to prevent Government Intervention in Castle Point council, and / or the cpbc Development Control committee are seen by the cpbc officers as being the Root of the Problem!
Previously the Regional Spatial Strategies were the root of all problems where Housing Need numbers were concerned, causing Castle Point council to put forward Canvey Island Green Belt as the only sites that should be unconstrained by the GB policy!
Now it appears that the Joint Spatial Plan, supposedly emerging via the Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA), is the New Driver behind the next New Local Plan.
However this appears less Open and Transparent, as little feedback from meetings and works carried out is made public.
Is it a case of if our representatives are cut out of the equation and work is carried out by officers and the Leader and his close colleagues, more planning is likely to be Approved and successful in Castle Point?
Where you might ask, the ECHO, and our local representatives, is the Castle Point council response to the Government threat of Intervention that was due to be delivered by the end of January?
In November 2017 Sajid Javid MP Secretary of State wrote to Castle Point Council to instruct:-
“The February 2017 Housing White Paper set out that we will prioritise intervention where:
* the least progress in plan-making has been made
* policies in plans had not been kept up to date
* there was higher housing pressure; and
* intervention would have the greatest impact in accelerating Local Plan production
My decisions on intervention will also be informed by the wider planning context in each area (specifically, the extent to which authorities are working cooperatively to put strategic plans in place, and the potential impact that not having a plan has on neighbourhood planning activity).”
Now in March 2018 Sajid Javid follows up with further pressure on local authorities with these instructions, as interpreted by the BBC News:-
“Nimby councils” in England that fail to build enough new homes, or allow them to be built, could be stripped of planning powers, Housing Secretary Sajid Javid has warned.
Councils will be told how many homes a year must be built and inspectors will step in if that does not happen.
Mr Javid told the Sunday Times he would be “breathing down” the necks of local authorities to ensure targets are met.
However, Labour accused the government of “eight years of failure on housing”.
On Monday, the government will announce an overhaul of planning rules in an attempt to increase the rate of house building in England.
A new planning policy framework will contain new rules to determine how many homes councils must build – taking into account local house prices, wages and key worker numbers.
Higher targets will be set for areas where house prices outstrip annual earnings.
House price calculator: Where can I afford to rent or buy?
Your biggest financial decision – in charts
Reality Check: How does renting a home in the UK compare?
“For the first time it will explicitly take into account the market prices,” Mr Javid told the Sunday Times.
“If you are in an area where the unaffordability ratio is much higher you will have to build even more. It will make clear to councils that this number is a minimum, not a maximum.”
He said councils would also be held to account on house-building promises they make.
Mr Javid said councils that fail to meet targets will be stripped of the right to decide what is built within their boundaries, with inspectors making decisions instead.
Prime Minister Theresa May told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show the government would “release more public sector land” to facilitate more building of homes.
She added: “We’re saying to councils you’ve got to take local communities into account, you’ve got to ensure you’ve got a proper plan for your local area. If you haven’t got it the government will intervene.”
Nimby – short for “not in my backyard” – is a term that originated in the US but became popular in the UK from the 1980s to describe people who routinely object to any proposed development near their homes that might affect property values.
It is not often applied to towns or councils as a whole but Mr Javid said his new rules were designed to stop “Nimby councils that don’t really want to build the homes their local community needs” from fudging the numbers in their area.
“We have a housing crisis in this country. We need a housing revolution,” he added.
Mr Javid also revealed plans to build up to five new towns between Oxford and Cambridge.
“Along that corridor there’s an opportunity to build at least four or five garden towns and villages with thousands of homes,” he added.