Tag Archives: Annual Monitoring Report

Castle Point’s “Surgeless” Supply of Affordable Housing an Examination concern? Brighton indicate the way with Transparency!

Nearly 5 Years after Castle Point Council were promising a “surge” in the supply of Affordable Homes in the Borough, through the Echo newspaper;

Norman Smith, cabinet member for economic development and business liaison, said: “It is very disappointing that affordable homes are not being built in the borough for those wanting to find a home in the borough.
“But following the approval of recent planning applications, in terms of affordable housing, I do not think it will be long before we start seeing a change.”

This “good news” story came in the wake of; “Castle Point is suffering a major shortfall in housing as no new affordable homes have been built for almost a year.” *


Disappointingly for those in need of such housing, the latest published cpbc Annual Monitoring Report fails to indicate any such expected / promised “Surge” in Affordable Housing Supply in Castle Point having been forthcoming;

“16 affordable housing units were delivered in Castle Point in 2016/17, representing 14% of total housing provision (114 dwellings). This level of provision is an improvement on the annual average provision for the period 2001 to 2016 of 11.5%, but significantly below the housing market requirement for affordable housing identified in the South Essex Strategic Housing Market Assessment 2016 of between 50% and 57% of new homes per annum.”

“The indicates that provision in line with OAN would require between 50% and 57% of new homes per annum across the housing market area to be affordable in order to meet the need for affordable housing.”

We trust that the Affordable Housing Supply does NOT include that of Caravans, of which the cpbc Annual Monitoring Report states;

“Since April 2011, the number of people living within caravans in Castle Point has continued to increase. Initially, the increase was rapid, with the number of units increasing 16% between 2011 and 2014. This fell in 2015 and 2016, but this increased to 124 additional caravans falling into residential use, according to Council Tax records in 2016/17.”

“The number of people living in caravans is still significant, and presents an issue for the Council. Caravans do not represent high quality living accommodation as there are issues with winter warmth and over-heating in summer associated with such accommodation.”

Developer David Wilson Homes is constructing 150 new homes on land off Kiln Road, a development which will see the provision of 53 affordable homes.

AND YET; castle point council planning portal reveals Kiln Road developer and the Council have signed a S106 Agreement to provide just 14 affordable dwellings in the first phase of 71 new homes!
A supply of just 20% affordable.

The success of development in Kiln Road is unmistakeable and lucrative. Over 2 years ago it was publicised that homes selling for up to £600,000 were being bought off-plan, such was the demand.

The developer claiming that the Government’s Help to Buy scheme meant that purchasers only need a 5% deposit and that the development is suitable for families and first time buyers. **

This when the refused Glebelands developent was offering 30% Affordable Housing Supply and the daft New Local Plan was proposing 25%, as the requisite for the mainland area!

The defenceless castle point council whose planning department and committee agreed that viability was an issue in the supply of the required Affordable Housing at Kiln Road, will face this issue as a major hurdle if and when their Local Plan eventually reaches Examination by an Inspector, their previous historical supply being unsupportable.

In contrast Brighton City Council aim to achieve more. They are now expecting developers to make public their Viability Assessments on Affordable Housing Supply alongside development proposals.

Setting their expectation levels far higher than those of castle point council, Brighton CC admit;  “This lack of transparency has led to public concern on schemes where reduced affordable housing provision has been accepted by the council on grounds of viability.”

The Brighton and Hove City Council statement reads;

“Property developers could be made to publicly disclose detailed financial information in cases where they say they cannot meet affordable housing targets set out in Brighton & Hove’s City Plan.
At present the city council requires developments of over five or more residential units to provide a percentage of affordable housing – unless it would make a scheme financially unviable. All schemes over 15 units should provide 40 per cent affordable housing.
Currently developers submit viability assessments to the council which are then independently assessed by the District Valuer Services (DVS). The viability information and the independent assessment are currently not disclosed to the public in order to protect commercial confidentiality.
This lack of transparency has led to public concern on schemes where reduced affordable housing provision has been accepted by the council on grounds of viability.
Now the authority is proposing to insist that developers show their sums in applications falling short of the affordable housing target. It would require a full Viability Assessment submitted up front with the rest of the application information.
Councillors are being asked to approve the new requirements in a report to the tourism, development and culture committee on 11 January. The proposals set out in the report are in line with the need for more openness sought by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and recently proposed government consultation paper.
A public consultation on the issue was held in the autumn. The majority of respondents felt the measures would lead to greater transparency, understanding and trust in the planning system. Broadly, developers were concerned that commercially sensitive information could be disclosed and this had the potential to hinder development in the city.
Committee chair Cllr Alan Robins said: “In many cases there may be perfectly good reasons why a developer cannot meet 40 per cent. For example a council might want them to pay for other things such as a new leisure centre. But sometimes developers might be trying their luck by raising viability issues. Either way, it could be beneficial for the public to have the same information as councillors on the planning committee, so that everyone understands why a given amount of affordable housing was accepted or rejected.”
If approved, the new requirements would come into force early this year.”


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.


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


Castle Point Development Record equally Unsound, whether on Flood Zone or Green Field Land!

Recently we read, through the Echo, how in Castle Point 48% of New Homes built between 2013 and 2016 were in the Borough’s 3A Flood Zone, namely Canvey Island!

The “latest” published Castle Point Annual Monitoring Report, supplied as Base Evidence to support the Local Plan2016 suggests that equally the Borough’s Green Belt / greenfield land is equally open to abuse!


Figures from Castle Point Council reveal;

The Percentage of New and Converted Dwellings developed on Previously Developed Land has fallen Dramatically since 2013.

2005/06  99%

2006/07  100%

2007/08  97%

2008/09  94%

2009/10  96%

2010/11  82%

2011/12  97%

2012/13  99%

2013/14  61%

2014/15  52%

Coincidently the 2014/15 figures appear to reveal that 48% of new dwellings were sited on green field / Green Belt land, the same 48% figure that was built during 2013 and 2016 on the Flood Zone at Canvey Island.

Residents may, or may not be relieved to hear cllr Jeffrey Stanley’s opinion that “We as a council will look at every single planning application and ensure the developer has taken the steps to mitigate flood risk.

The risk of flooding from the Estuary is a one in a thousand year occurrence, and recent flooding has owed to (sic) unusual amounts of rainfall and inadequate drainage.

Anglian Water has taken some steps to try and rectify the issue.”

Whilst this statement is open to scrutiny, we wonder if comment will be forthcoming from our local council representatives purporting to be defenders of our Green Belt!

Figures taken from cpbc Annual Monitoring Report accompanying the Local Plan version 3 and statement from the Echo, link HERE.