Tag Archives: Appeal

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! or cynical! Jotmans Farm Appeal decision Overturned! To Castle Point Residents Relief!

A decision that can only be described as A-m-a-z-i-n-g  for the residents of  Jotmans farm, as they will be relieved to hear that the Secretary of State has overturned the Planning Inspector’s decision to grant planning permission for the initial 265 dwellings proposed by Persimmon’s!

Jotmans Lane Tank.JPG.gallery

Despite the Secretary of State considering that Castle Point Council have only identified 0.4 years Supply of the necessary 5.0 Year Supply of Deliverable Housing, which he considered as “falling well short of expectation”!

The SoS “further agrees with the Inspector that the proposal would bring forward market and affordable housing in an area where there has been a longstanding failure to provide sufficient new housing, and that in view of the prevailing housing supply situation in Castle Point, that carries very substantial weight in favour of the scheme.”

And that he ” agrees with the Inspector that the ecological benefits attract significant weight in favour of the proposal.”

However in relation to Green Belt issues the SoS considers “The proposal would represent inappropriate development in the Green Belt of a significant size. It would permanently reduce openness, and conflict with several of the purposes of designation. These harmful impacts on the Green Belt attract substantial weight.”

Then using Planning rules more intended for Travellers “unauthorised sites” than settled dwellings the SoS applies great weight to the rule that “subject to the best interests of the child, personal circumstances and unmet need are unlikely to clearly outweigh harm to the Green Belt and any other harm so as to establish very special circumstances”.

This “Good News Story” for cpbc, despite the obvious response from cynics that the Secretary of State’s release of the decision of an Appeal held on the 11 September 2015, during the very same week of an announcement to hold a General Election, is conveniently “Timely”, Green Belt campaigners will take some comfort, albeit possibly temporary.

The fear remains that with a new 5 year term of government the likelihood of a Legal challenge in light of Castle Point’s chronic lack of a 5 Year deliverable Housing Supply, may yet be our undoing!

Canvey Island residents must therefore remain concerned that, in the eyes of the majority of cpbc development committee members, Flood Risk does not act as a Constraint on development, making this part of the Borough more liable to growth as has been the case over the previous 4 decades!

In the light of this decision, the actions of CPBC to Withdraw its Local Plan2016 and to Archive the Plan document and Evidence Base, must be of some concern!

The hope now is that similar ruling and defence of Green Belt will apply across Castle Point, congestion will not be increased and the Local Plan2016 may be resurrected.

The link to Secretary of State’s decision and Inspector’s report is below.

Jotmans Lane Castle Point 2216062 (1)

Photograph courtesy; Echo newspaper

Timeframe the priority, or a Sound Local Plan? The Jury is Out!

Constraints on Housing Development in Castle Point was the last topic under consideration by the Local Plan Task and Finish group last evening, the 25th August, ahead of the Jotmans Appeal.

Most councillors appeared to relish the opportunity to debate, following the officer’s introduction.

It is clearly apparent there is a split in how the local Plan process should proceed, with many councillors uncomfortable with being “locked” into the current Local Plan documentation and policies.

Whilst residents were promised an Open and Transparent Local Plan process, last night’s debate illustrated how far from this approach the actual process had reached!

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If councillors are being kept in the dark, then what hope residents?

Well obviously a lot of digging around and research had taken place to turn the evening proceedings into an uncomfortable time for both officers and chairman, as they failed to steer the meeting in their expected direction.

The official approach was to take a strategic approach to constraints, for instance Green Belt concentrating on and protecting the main Green Belt corridors that feature in and around the Borough. However due to the desire to have one or more extra meetings, so as to focus more on these important topics, Green Belt, Flood risk, Hazardous Industries and Infrastructure, the strategic approach was abandoned and now each possible Housing  Site will be focussed on at the rate of 4-5 per meeting!

The chairman obviously focussing more on a fixed timetable than the importance of Constraints!

The meeting started badly with a piece of surface water flood risk late Consultation evidence being drawn to the committee’s attention. A letter from the Environment Agency in a follow up from the July 2014 flooding suggesting important  changes of wording to the draft Local plan proposed housing site consideration, that had not been drawn to the committee’s attention nor been entered into the Local Plan draft! An apt time to produce this evidence by the councillor, whilst debating Constraints, shame on officers for suppressing it!

Another piece of evidence was called for, a Hazardous Industry’s safety Report. Again UNAVAILABLE!

Apparently, despite the Castle Point Council Development committee doubling up as the CPBC Hazardous Substances Authority, the local authority do not have a copy of these Safety Reports! As unlikely as this sounds councillors were told that the Safety Reports are held by Essex County Council!

A group debating Housing Constraints needs to know the potential for an incident and the size of area this incident could impact upon.

We felt the evening’s Agenda Paperwork contained misleading and contradictory evidence. Throughout the Core strategy and Local Plan process there appears a preference for in-house terminology and wording used to support the preferred Party line of the day!

Below are a few Extracts from the Agenda Paper with concerns of ours that require attention. Agenda paperwork in Bold;

Constraints Agenda, Page 1“a maximum of 2,469 homes being delivered in the next 15 years (SHLAA 2013)”

Remember that the 200 dwelling per annum target figure has not altered since the days of the Core Strategy, 2,469 is equivalent to 164 dwellings per annum across the 15 years.

Is the SHLAA 2013 considered to be a “sound” document for T and F members to be considering especially as a 2014 update has been published?

Constraints Agenda, Page 2

“viability assessment work undertaken by Peter Brett Associates, indicates that higher density flatted development is likely to be unviable in Castle Point, particularly during the early plan period, and particularly on Canvey Island.“

Evidence from Development Committee findings would suggest otherwise, where Canvey is concerned there have been many flatted developments applied for and approved.

Constraints Agenda, Page 3

“Whilst benefiting from some of the best sea defences in the country, Canvey Island is nonetheless located within flood risk zone 3.”

Canvey sea defence was built to provide protection to 1 in 1,000 year standard. Funding for improvements are not secured.

Contrast this with Climate Adaption EU Netherlands state; “The safety standards indicate a minimum level of safety. A safety standard of 1/10,000 per year means that the coastal flood defence must be high and strong enough to withstand storm surges that have a likelihood of occurrence of 1/10,000 per year. Approximately 2/3rds of the Netherlands defences meet this standard.”

There are NO statutary levels of Flood Defence adopted for the Thames Estuary. The confidence in the abilities of the Canvey sea defence is limited, especially when compared with the Dutch defences, therefore a more cautious approach is required.

Constraints Agenda, Page 5

“The escarpment rising up from Benfleet Creek to Hadleigh, known locally as Hadleigh Downs “…. “Additionally, this open landscape affords spectacular views across the wider Thames Estuary.”

Would officers be suggesting that considerable harm would be cast upon these “spectacular views” if development were to be allowed at the Dutch Village? The Dutch Village being within 1.5km of Hadleigh Downs.

Constraints Agenda, Page 6

“Whilst the Council is normally supportive of the redevelopment of previously developed land on Canvey Island in order to ensure that the built environment is of a high quality and contributes towards community well-being, development of open Greenfield land is not supported in the same way. In accordance with the NPPF, the Council would expect the sequential approach to be applied, and therefore open greenfield land on Canvey Island would not be available for development unless land in other parts of the borough had been developed, or was otherwise unavailable for development.”

Question 1. Why was the Dutch Village identified by this authority as the single large Green Belt housing site in the Core Strategy?

Question 2. The Agenda refers to “in the short to medium term a further 39ha of greenfield land on Canvey Island”  then in the following paragraph refers to Green Belt land “an additional 39ha for consideration in addition to this in the longer term.”                                                                                       Is this the same 39ha of land mentioned in both paragraphs? Which area of land is this?  Is it identified as being Green field land, due to the CPBC Boundary review being assumed as already approved and decided, despite the wording of the last paragraph of Page 7? Is the 39ha of land considered to be available in the short, medium and long term? If not, which?

Constraints Agenda, Page 7

“Given the need to review the Green Belt boundary to accommodate the identified needs for sustainable development, it is necessary to step away from localised assessment of Green Belt function, and to consider the strategic role of the Green Belt.” Continued onto;

And Page 8

“Strategic Green Belt Corridors within Castle Point: Daws Heath “Ring”: A ring of Green Belt around the settlement of Daws Heath.”

We would refer you to two Paragraphs in the Baker Associates, Sustainability Appraisal CS October 2009 that suggests;

“4.6 The Spatial Strategy also allocates three sites for development on Green Belt land.  There is the potential for adverse sustainability impacts related to the loss of greenfield land from these allocations.”

  “4.7 Part of the SA was to review the sustainability assessment method used by Castle Point to help select sites for allocation.  The review of the outcomes of the site assessment revealed the site scoring highest against the assessment sustainability criteria has not been allocated.  This site is greenfield land to the east of Rayleigh Road.  Neither the DPD or site assessment process gives a justification for this site not being allocated.  The SA suggests that the allocation of this site could have preferable implications for sustainable development than other ‘mainland’ allocations.”

CPBC appear to have an inconsistent approach to Sustainability issues, why then should we choose to adopt a Strategic Approach to protect Green Belt sites at this late stage, when previously this Council chose the exact opposite? Whilst we may be challenged as being divisive with this statement readers must remember how the Canvey Green Belt Campaign were initially treated, isolated as the sole selected large Green Belt area for development. We are simply using this extract to indicate one difference in Consultants Assessment and the work of the local authority. We suggest in densely urbanised areas, the GB function in “Preventing Sprawl” remains equally, if not more important!

Constraints Agenda, Page 8

“Strategic Green Belt Corridors between Castle Point and other Boroughs:

Western Green Belt: The Green Belt to the west of Castle Point …… also prevents towns in Castle Point merging with settlements to the west in Basildon and Thurrock.”

Officers should have been asked what width of green belt strip is considered necessary  to Perform this Function, this may have put some mainland residents minds at rest!

Constraints Agenda, Page 10

“Competing Needs and Uses for Land.

The loss of the Green Belt will bring these uses into closer proximity with the urban area, causing disturbance to both the animals housed, and to neighbouring properties.”

Do officers recognise the close proximity on Canvey Island of the urban fringe and the important ecological sites, and the potential damage that vandalism and fires are causing? Do officers recognise the value of sites such as the Dutch Village area in acting as a buffer between the urban area and the important ecological sites on Canvey?

Constraints Agenda, Page 11 Surface Water Management Plan

The wording (in the last paragraph on Page 11, and first paragraph of Page 12) refers to “throughout the Borough”  and goes onto refer to “control the flow paths of surface water.”

The officer would fully realise the irrelevance of surface water flow paths in respect of Canvey Island, can he explain why the reference to “throughout the Borough” was made?

  1. Extract From:- Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment 2014

Constraints

“Where a planning application has been approved without objection from the Environment Agency then it is considered that flood risk issues have been resolved.”…  “However, those sites in Flood Risk Zone 3 are only considered to be appropriate in terms of flood risk if they are suitable in all other regards. A site which is at high risk of flooding, and would also have other negative consequences would not pass the exception test set out in the NPPF.”

Regarding “without objection from the Environment Agency then it is considered that flood risk issues have been resolved.”…”this is not strictly true. Often the EA will draw the Council’s attention to concerns such as the opinion of the Emergency Planner or to the Council being confident that Insurance against Flooding can be obtained over the lifetime of the property. This is never discussed by the Development Committee nor can guarantees be given!

Regarding: “However, those sites in Flood Risk Zone 3 are only considered to be appropriate in terms of flood risk if they are suitable in all other regards. A site which is at high risk of flooding, and would also have other negative consequences would not pass the exception test set out in the NPPF.”

This appears to cast suitability, sustainability and soundness doubts over the Canvey Island sites identified as suitable for development contained in the New Local Plan!

Constraints Agenda, Page 3

“Open spaces – open space provision is highly valued by local residents, and also important to their health and wellbeing. It also helps to alleviate pressure on areas of nature conservation importance by providing opportunities for outdoor sport and recreation away from nature conservation habitats.” 

Given the tight constraint around Greenfield areas on Canvey, created by the busy outer road network, does this strategy not contradict further the suitability of the identified housing supply sites on Canvey Island? There is no opportunity to provide compensation for any loss of open space provision!

Many of these issues concern other Green Belt sites right across the Borough. The inconsistent and questionable evidence supporting the Local Plan will not assist their defence at appeal.

Jotmans Farm development Appeal shows signs of Proceeding!

There is an indication that the Jotmans Farm development proposal Appeal Enquiry may also be proceeding after some delay whilst Castle Point Council dally over Local Plan direction.

There have been updates of Environmental impacts submitted for the Inspectors consideration.

These show little change over what has been previously forecast:

Slight improvement in Bus services.

Possible need to improve road junction surface due to skidding accidents, despite number recorded diminishing, however as anecdotal evidence of continuing concerns remains the mitigation measures remain appropriate.

Map shows a Roundabout junction creating access onto Canvey Way.

This should interest Canvey residents! Editor.

“Given the direction of policy in the draft New Local Plan” “there is an intention to look at development in the area of the application site that is more substantial than (sic) the application proposals” ! (cllr Hart please note!).

Predicted Net change following 265 dwellings, based on recorded Vehicle Trips 2013 and 2015.

AM + 8

PM -15

Makes me wonder how new build mortgages will be paid for without commuting, Editor.

Resulting traffic delay at the major junction at Tarpots shows no significant projected increase, approximately 5 seconds AM and 7 seconds PM peak periods

At High Road / Jotmans Lane there is an adequate spare traffic capacity.

Little change in the ecological baseline and the proposed development claims to deliver “a unique opportunity to deliver a significant contribution to the Greater Thames Marshes nature Improvement Area.”

Residents should look for notice in next edition of the Yellow Advertiser.

Daft New Local Plan, cllr Dick’s Motion deferred, Green Belt development, Appeals = unstoppable Inertia ?

Cllr Dick proposed a Motion during the June 2015 Cabinet meeting.

He had previously attempted to have the same Motion considered by full Council, but this had been deferred as financial implications required consideration.

4.1 The Motion put to Council was that;

‘This Council welcomes the statement by the Local Government Minister at a local meeting on green belt. This Council will therefore prepare a Local Plan protecting Virgin green belt areas and produce a realistic annually housing number that can ideally be achieved.’

Cllr Dick commented that only during 2004 had over 200 housing completions been achieved in Castle Point.

I note that the CPBC Annual Monitoring Report 2004-2005 reported:

“The delivery of new housing against the requirements of the Structure Plan is illustrated in figure 3.7. Delivery in the past has been variable and during the period 1999-2001 fell well below the annualised requirement. The inclusion of new residential mobile homes at Kings Park in the housing delivery figures has been important in helping the authority to deliver the requirement set out in the Structure Plan. Of the 1575 dwellings completed between 1996 and 2005, 905 were newly built dwellings whilst 670 were new mobile homes on Kings Park, accounting for 43% of all new dwellings.”

This appears to imply that although the number achieved may in the future be considered acceptable to the Inspectorate, their location may well not.

Static Homes on a Flood Risk Area appears incompatible.

The June 2015 Cabinet Agenda paperwork accompanying the Motion covered financial implications for both the Borough’s Residents and the Local Authority.

Surprisingly Councillors failed to find any relevant financial questions to seek answers from Cabinet members!

The most significant being that the officers consider no funds have been specifically put aside for fighting Appeals, as we had been previously led to believe.

Officers reiterated that 106 agreements would not be met following Appeals leaving little room for  local infrastructure improvements.

The fact that cllr Dicks Motion was agreed to be deferred to be presented to full Council at the time that they meet to consider the findings of the Task and Finish group may lead some to believe that the time of the meeting may become crucial.

With Glebelands and Jotmans development Appeals scheduled for September and October the Council members will be under enormous pressure to approve for publication a Local Plan, of sorts, as vital evidence during Appeals.

For cllr Dick’s Motion, for lower housing targets, to then be accepted would mean that new demographic evidence would need to be found, leaving the current daft New Local Plan suspended.

Some may suggest: Too Late!

I, on the other hand, will leave you to read and digest the relevant extract of the Cabinet paperwork. If this is solely an officers Plan, why did Cabinet and members not challenge the wording, which was, of course presented as factual?

Our MP has continued to insist the Government’s position regarding Green Belt preservation is absolutely clear. Why did the Cabinet continue along a dangerous pathway?

As I have suggested before, despite others protestations to the contrary, this Local Plan has developed its own INERTIA !

lamps-24628715

General Financial Statement:

7.1 The Medium Term Financial Forecast, presented to Council in February 2015, indicates a significant funding gap in each financial year from 2017/18 which the Council must address in order to maintain existing service levels.

7.2 The Council is already effectively committed beyond its means in future years i.e. spending funds it does not have, and will need to identify reductions to existing services.

7.3 The position with regard to Council reserves is also serious. Whilst at the current time reserves appear healthy, there are very real and significant financial risks which may or may not materialise in future years, particularly around planning appeals and associated legal costs. These risks, coupled with the projected budget gap, will result in a complete depletion of general reserves within the next three to four financial years.

7.4 A programme of work is currently underway which it is hoped will contribute towards closing the funding gap. However, until each financial year is balanced, the Council should not enter into new and ongoing financial commitments, nor should it take any actions resulting in a significant ongoing reduction in any income streams.

Specific Financial Implications:

7.5 There are a number of financial implications arising from this report. Should the Council decide to proceed to prepare a different Local Plan; resources will need to be identified to meet the costs of new documents and evidence. Work carried out with existing evidence, as referred to in paragraph 5.1, will have been abortive.

7.6 Any new evidence to be collected is likely to incur a cost not less than that already spent(£184,000),together with new consultation costs (not less than £35,000). In addition to these costs, there will also be additional staff costs amounting to £31,000.

7.7 The Council had previously established a specific reserve for local plan development costs, of £250k. By the end of 2014/15 only approximately £55k remains unspent. Any costs of developing a new plan above this amount would require additional budget, and would further reduce General Fund reserves.

7.8 Should the Council decide to suspend work on the Plan, then there is potentially significant costs and resource implications to the Council in dealing with planning appeals. Any such costs would reduce General Fund reserves. The most recent calculation of the minimum recommended level of General Fund reserves, in the February 2015 Policy Framework and Budget Setting report, indicated a potential amount of £1.6m should appeals be found against the Council. (To clarify the position regarding reserves – No funds have been set aside to fight appeals. All that has been done is to quantify a financial risk that may materialise as a consequence of not having a local plan. Approval to draw from reserves would be required as each risk materialised. There is no approval to spend implied. ) The Council does not receive any New Homes Bonus for any new houses allowed on appeal.

7.9 With no Plan in place, it will not be possible to impose a Community Infrastructure Levy, putting at risk potential improvements to infrastructure.

Legal Implications

7.10 Where plans are not based on robust evidence, or Government policy and guidance, these may be subject to legal challenge.

7.11 At appeal, the Council must demonstrate that it has followed Government policy and guidance and has acted reasonably in order to avoid any award of costs.

7.12 Failure to have made significant progress with a New Local Plan will result in uncontrolled development through the appeals process.

7.13 At particular risk are the sites Jotmans and Glebelands which are subject to Public Inquiries respectively in September and October this year. These sites may well be sacrificed as a result of having no Local Plan in place or the prospect of having one any time soon. This point is not lost on Fox Land and Property who in their statement of case in relation to the Glebelands Appeal refer to the Secretary of State’s faith as expressed in his Decision in the Glebelands appeal in June 2013 being misplaced in that the “drivers” in the NPPF would see the Council press ahead with their new Local Plan.

Graphic courtesy: Dreamstime

Green Belt, Flood Zones! In Castle Point even Pestilence would not act as a Constraint!

I have come across an interesting conversation.  The content is not new, has been muted by others, but is of interest so I have taken the liberty of re-producing some of it in this Post.  The content and generality, I believe, leads it to not being considered to have broken any confidences.

Initial enquiry reads:

On 5th September 2014 it was reported that Keith Holland, an inspector for the department for communities and local government, stated at a meeting with Councillors in March 2014, “I want to be absolutely clear. If a local authority wishes to amend its green belt or use some of its green belt land for development, that is a decision for the local authority. It is not a decision which the planning inspector will impose on a local authority.

“It is purely your decision if you want to use green belt land or not and the National Planning Policy Framework is very clear.”

On 8th January 2015 it was reported that Minister of State for Planning and Housing Brandon Lewis told campaigners and Tory MP Rebecca Harris, “By placing local plans at the heart of the system, councils have the power to protect their green belt and take account of all local environmental issues, while at the same time working to meet their local housing need.

“So, I would urge Castle Point Council to get on and put its local plan in place, as the best way to deliver the homes local people want and need, while maintaining strong protection for its green belt.”

Mr Lewis supported the views of the planning inspector, Keith Holland, who was secretly filmed at a Castle Point Council meeting telling councillors they would not be forced to release green belt land to meet its housing quotas.

Despite these verbal assurances that any development on green belt land is purely at the discretion of the local Council, it was reported on 13th January 2015 that Castle Point Council is refusing to rule out building on green belt land – unless they get a cast iron guarantee from Government.

Norman Smith, chairman of the council’s local plan task and finish group, said: “It needs to be backed up by a government directive, rather than one minister just saying what he maybe feels we want to hear.” This was reaffirmed on Wednesday at the Richmond Hall meeting.

The response reads:

“If you go on the .gov website and look under planning and see the wording of the NPPF and all the accompanying guidance it’s already there in black and white.” 

“The councillors have to get a grip of this and understand for themselves what the new legislation says – and stop making a political football of it!” 

Through this we learn that the current Parliamentary message appears on the face of it quite clear.

Meeting Objectively Assessed Housing Need does not over ride the protection of any constrained sites.

Brandon Lewis

Only local choice would allow this to happen.

 At present, it appears CPBC officers are promoting the release of land on Canvey which is both Green Belt and within a Flood Zone 3A, thereby electing to disregard both physical and policy constraints!

This CPBC policy may also be considered to have been endorsed by councillors who voted to approve the draft New Local Plan for consultation.

 As the H18 Blinking Owl site appears to be being promoted as an alternative deliverable Green Belt site for development, officers suggest by its identification, it becomes an additional site.  There now appears a query as to whether Green Belt is the sole issue.

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If a collective or a group purports to vow to defend Green Belt per se, they weaken their defence by suggesting alternative sites.

Their strength of reasoning will be examined.

Why is one site more valuable than another? Other considerations must be factored, infrastructure, road access to main highways etc.

It has been suggested that those values supporting H18 Blinking Owl site are weaker than those used to promote Glebelands for development.

We must be careful, it is a difficult game being played with high stakes and consequences for the Borough.

What is known is that  recommendations by the Environment Agency that any new development on Canvey Island must be supported by a Flood Response Plan reliant on the EA’s early flood warning and that consideration must be given before approval that CPBC are confident that new builds will be able to obtain insurance against flooding during the lifetime of the dwelling.

Floods 2014

Firstly, the EA’s early warning fails to offer notice to residents signed up for the scheme of two of the three methods of flood.  Only should the sea defence be in danger of over topping can an alert be confidently be released.

Secondly, the to be introduced during 2015 FloodRE Insurance scheme will not cover new builds post 2009.

Despite these issues, not being discussed, approvals for development on Canvey is the norm.

These decisions undermine the physical constraining argument against building in areas vulnerable to Flood.

The identification of the Blinking Owl site and it’s furtherment, may be used to undermine the Green Belt constraining argument.

The upcoming Appeals may provide a debating chamber for these issues.

Our MP has gone to the lengths of delivering advice from an Inspector and the Housing Minister.

Better to heed this advice, use it to support a Local Plan and submit for pre-examination of the evidence in support, than continue along the current lines unsupported lines, or not?

I stand to be corrected but understand that no further meetings of the draft New Local Plan have yet been arranged. 

Persimmon Homes’ one eye on the Dutch Village and the other on Jotmans Farm!

The announcement of the application of the proposal to develop part of Jotmans Farm will come as a blow to Benfleet residents.
The application can be viewed on the CPBC planning portal, reference CPT/122/13/OUT.
The plan is for 265 dwellings within the Borough’s Green Belt, subject to the Glebelands Appeal Inspector’s ruling as to whether the Borough Council has correctly saved the Castle Point Green Belt as part of a Local Plan policy. There is a possibility that, if the ruling goes the wrong way, then the Green Belt may not actually exist.
Jotmans Farm proposal is not identified as being amongst the Council’s preferred 5 year housing supply in the new Local Plan.
By identifying a 5 year supply residents were promised by lead group councillors that the Borough’s Green Belt would remain “safe”. Clearly this may well not be the case as both the Glebelands and Jotmans Farm developers feel the current situation is challengeable at Appeal.
By identifying a challengeable 5 year Local Plan housing allocation the situation arises that Developers are now designating their own preferred sites. Jotmans, along with Canvey Island sites will immediately add to traffic problems. Jotmans Farm development via Tarpots and Canvey Island via Waterside roundabout, prior to the inevitable extra usage of Sadlers Farm.
By Castle Point Councillors indecision, rather than sites being selected closer to the main arterial roads in the Borough, sites coming forward are in inappropriate areas.
Reading some of the Jotmans proposal submission it is clear the intention is to go straight to Appeal, once it is turned down by the Development Committee. In the meantime the Council will struggle with producing a Local Plan.
The Council will now be scrutinised as to their wisdom in rejecting the Core Strategy Inspector’s offer of assistance when he offered it.
Be in absolutely no doubt that decision-making in these circumstances is a difficult and thankless task but if local factors are at the root of influencing decisions then we can expect more, not less, of these proposals and the fault will lay firmly at the door of our own local authority.

Appeal success rate and why the Planning Inspector may not be unwelcome in Canvey part of the Borough.

“Government Planning Inspectors uphold the London Borough of Croydon’s planning decisions at appeal “in most cases”, according to research. The Planning Inspectorate confirmed that only 4% of planning applications are appealed nationally and most decisions are made locally, according to research by the local paper the Coulsdon and Purley Advertiser.

The research focussed on planning applications in Coulsdon and Purley in south London. Of the 123 appeals that were decided since 2009 by a Planning Inspector, 88 (75%) of the appeals were dismissed. “The majority of decisions are made locally”, a spokesman said according to the report.

“In determining an appeal, an inspector will always remain impartial…They will decide the appeal based on the evidence placed before them, in writing or orally,” the spokesman said.

In Coulsdon and Old Coulsdon, of the 58 planning appeals decided since 2009, the Planning Inspectors agreed with the Council and dismissed the appeals in 43 cases. In Purley, of the 65 appeals decided since 2009, the Inspector dismissed 45 of the cases.

Each figure includes a mix of large-scale developments and householders’ appeals for extensions, conversions and garages, the report said.

“Ultimately, with a lot of objections, the profile of the development increases, and then it goes to the political arena of the planning committee,” said a local planning consultant, according to the report. “The Planning Inspectorate is an opportunity to re-inject some professional, dispassionate judgment.””                                              Out-Law.com

Locally in Castle Point there is a possibility that the Glebelands development Application, turned down prior to the Local Elections, may go to Appeal. The 75% turn down figure mentioned above may give some comfort to Green Belt campaigners, however the Application was considered in the wake of the fledgling National Planning Policy Framework. We are aware of the strength of feeling on the Mainland against the release of Green Belt for development, this was demonstrated by cheering and applause on announcement of the decision from the public gallery. Whether the intricacies of the NPPF was debated fully by the Councillors is open to conjecture.

In contrast the Canvey Green Belt Campaign Group have, from the beginning, welcomed the opportunity to present our evidence against development to the Planning Inspectorate. We took an early decision that a decision had been made locally by the Borough Council to weight development unevenly towards early release of Green Belt on Canvey for development. A political decision going against sound planning practise. If in the new Local Plan the Council choose to take the same direction, we will again be prepared to highlight the flaws within the Plan to the Inspectorate. Hopefully new housing number need and a fair allocation may be forthcoming, providing the Authority can find an evidence base to back up the figures.