Tag Archives: brownfield

New Housing Development in Castle Point, where does the Money Get Spent and where are the Benefits?

As from December 2020, Castle Point Borough Council will be required to make public where and how the monies raised from granting New Development has been allocated and spent.

This new disclosure of so called Developer Community Infrastructure Levies (CIL), applied to raise funds and improve neighbouring areas, and supposedly in Canvey Island’s case make provision for future Sea Defence Improvements, is supposed to make more transparent where funds are actually spent.

With Developers and Local Authorities targeting Green Belt and Greenfield sites for Development over Brownfield profits are at a Premium for Developers. There is no reason, except pitifully poor negotiations by local authorities for these Developer Community Infrastructure Levys, to make a real difference and improvement to areas.

Across the housebuilding industry operating margins are twice what they are in America

Last month (February 2019) Persimmon, Britain’s largest housebuilding firm, posted profits of £1.1bn for 2018, its highest ever.

Recently Barratt Developments revealed a cunning plan which involved lowering the pitch of its roofs, which should reduce the number of tiles required.

A calculation by Neal Hudson of Resi Analysts, a consultancy, suggests that residential land prices are currently about 30 per cent below what one would expect given their historical relationship with house prices. With land prices held down, many builders have seen rising margins on each house that they sell. ( The Economist )

Now, the UK Government issue an instruction from Housing Minister Esther McVey on Developer Community Infrastructure Levies, proposing that it “will allow residents to know how developers are contributing to the local community when they build new homes”, and “The rules are designed to support councils and give greater confidence to communities about the benefits that new housing can bring to their area.”

Looking deep into the legal jargon we find that part of a most lucrative development By Redrow Homes at Kiln Road, Thundersley have produced some surprising CIL funding;

Construction of 71 No. dwellings and associated access roads | Land North of 201-219 Kiln Road Thundersley Benfleet Essex SS7 1RS

S 106 Agreement requirement reveal that the Developer, Redrow Homes Ltd, amongst other issues agrees to provide: Affordable Housing; 14 Dwellings of which 3 are 1 Bedroom Houses, 3 x 1 Bedroom Flats, 9 x 2 Bedroom Flats and 2 x 3Bedroom Dwellings.

These 14 of the 71 dwellings to be supplied as a Mix 50% for Affordable Rented Housing and 50% Shared Ownership.

Education Contribution: Essex County Council to receive £66,701 towards Early Years and Childcare Contribution, in Cedar Ward.

Highways Contribution: £75,000 towards improvements at Victoria House roundabout  and Woodmans Arms mini roundabout.

The usual so called Residential Travel Information Pack, a booklet containing info on bus, train travel, cycling, walking, taxi travel, car sharing, community transport and possibly an interactive CD Rom that takes each resident into livetravel sites! Scratch Cards and Vouchers that are expected to “secure a modal shift from private car” onto more sustainable methods of Transport!

Health Care: £23,000 to mitigate the capital cost to NHS England for the provision of additional healthcare services!

Surface Water Flood Contribution: £14,975 to the “Council.” CPBC!

Valerie Wells Wood, Benfleet: Pay £265,160 to Essex Wildlife Trust!

Regarding the Affordable Housing Contribution; The CPBC 2016 daft Local Plan stated “In Castle Point there is a need for at least 73% of new homes to be affordable, assuming delivery at 200 homes per annum.” and to achieve this figure “it is recommended 25% affordable housing provision is sought in Benfleet, Hadleigh and Thundersley, and 15% affordable housing provision sought on Canvey Island.”

Note that the above example at Kiln Road CPBC agreed a figure of just 20% of Affordable Housing. An early Capitulation by our local authority!

Whether revealing the Sums collected from Developers and where and how they are distributed, no doubt hidden away in the CPBC Budget Reports, will be of benefit to Castle Point and Canvey Island Residents, we will hold judgement.

It has long been suspected that Developers do not fulfil their full contribution obligations, now CPBC may have to make public their failure to hold them to Account!

In the meantime more can be Read HERE.






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Canvey Residents – Ignore the Castle Point Local Plan Consultation at your Peril! Changes – Development – Pipe Dreams and Promises are Afoot!

Whether you Bother to Answer, and How you Answer, the CPBC consultation questions, will have a direct bearing on how much Canvey Island changes in the immediate Future! Council Leaders and officers will have appeasement from the Government threat of Intervention in the cpbc Local Plan, uppermost in Mind!

Paddocks

The Paddocks community centre, Canvey Island

Make no Mistake, Development, both Housing and Business, on the most easily accessible large Green Field sites is the likely outcome of Castle Point’s Local Plan consultation!

Once the Local Plan consultation period is over the “Tricks of the Trade” of those charged with “interpreting” the responses come into play.

Previous consultations have seen many objections against cpbc proposed Local Plans, this has led to cpbc council Leaders suggesting that the “non responders” views mirrored those of the council Leaders, despite them having no evidence to suggest they did!

It is for this reason that Canvey Island residents should not only take part in the Local Plan consultation, but also be very careful how the questions are responded to!

Your responses may well be construed to mean something very much different in the hands of cpbc!

An eagerness for infrastructure, may be construed to indicate that residents are in favour of more large developments on Canvey Island. Whilst the Infrastructure improvements amount to pipe dreams, be sure that, the developments will be forthcoming!

Consultation Question 9, for example asks;

Which approach described below in providing new development is most suitable for the borough?

A Intensify existing built up areas with new development and increased density
B Create new settlements in the borough
C Disperse developments to the edge of the built up areas

Before you Answer A, we should remember that Canvey Island is already the most densely Urbanised part of the Borough!
Answer C flies in the face of the Purposes of the Green Belt, that is, “to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas”
Answer B would appear to have implications for residents elsewhere in the Borough.

Answer Question 11 without an explanation and you will be considered to support large site development on Canvey Island!

11. What type of housing do you feel is best suited to your area? (tick all that apply)
Affordable rents, Buy-to-let, Elderly care homes etc, etc.

None of which can be provided without Private Investment, likely off the back of large scale, market price, private development!

Housing allocations
“The new Local Plan 2018 will revisit all potential sites considered within the 2014 and 2016 Plans and assess their future suitability through technical studies,”

No they will not! All Canvey sites, with the exception of the “Triangle Site”, behind the Dutch Cottage Canvey Road, for some reason, were considered to be developable whether Green Belt or Brownfield, or in a Flood Risk zone or Critical Drainage Area, which incidentally the whole of Canvey is!

The Constraints on development revealed in the Technical Studies are all dismissed by cpbc where Canvey Island is concerned!

13a. Do you support the potential residential development at land at Thorney Bay Caravan Park, Canvey Island?

Absolutely irrelevant Consultation question. The owners have permissions in place for a Park Home site and are successfully developing one. CPBC have no jurisdiction over the likely loss of the Roscommon Way final phase land.

14a. Do you support the potential residential development at land at Point Road, Canvey Island?

The Business site was first proposed as a housing development, then returned with a vastly inflated figure of Housing, drawing many, many objections from local residents not least because of the reliance on the tiny roundabout access area and the Flats proposed. And, where would all of the current businesses be re-housed, well no doubt onto more Canvey Green field land around the Roscommon Way area!

20a. Do you support the potential residential development at land west of Benfleet?

Ask ourselves, can we really take more traffic on Canvey Way? And by the way, this is Jotmans Farm if you didn’t recognise the site name.

22a. Do you support the potential residential development at land east of Canvey Road?

Do they really need to ask? This is the Dutch Village Green Belt site, the one that out of the 6,534 Referendum Votes cast, just 56 Canvey Islanders said they were comfortable with persimmons developing!

23a. Do you support the potential residential development at land fronting Canvey Road?

This is beside the Dutch Cottage, Green Belt site, I am sure the extra traffic filing down from Sadlers Farm to Thorney Bay Road every evening, is something we could do without.

26a. Do you support the extension to Roscommon Way?

Given that there is no funding, and that Essex Highways do not wish to burden themselves with future maintenance costs, and that the Thorney Bay part of the land required may not be available for development anyway, this appears simply an unlikely aspiration.

27a. Do you support widening of Sommes Avenue?

Of course we do, but wouldn’t the installation of the cycle way along the North side of Somnes Avenue by ECC, mean that there is no space for the widening of Somnes Avenue by ECC?

29a. Do you support dualling of the northern section of the A130 Canvey Way in the vicinity of Sadlers Farm?

Or put another way, do you support development of Jotmans Farm with access an access onto Canvey Way.
Really?

32a. Do you support improved access to Canvey Island?

Well of course we do, but it will be at the likely expense of much more land released for development. Thurrock Council opposition will not remove their objection and cpbc will have to overturn their own Local Plan Evidence findings that; “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.”

And Finally, as they say:

34. Do you have any additional comments on the new Local Plan 2018?

Not unless you feel the fact that Canvey Island, the whole of which, is a Critical Drainage Area, is also a tidal Flood Zone 3a area, and has 2 Top Tier Comah sites, meaning should there ever be a need to evacuate the Island, the Emergency Services would be unable to cope with the current levels of Canvey’s population, has some bearing on the Consultation that castle point officers appear to be overlooking or ignoring!

The Paddocks, public meeting Rejected now out to Consultation. Every scrap of Canvey Brownfield available for Development!

A step back to assess the bigger picture may be wise.

Paddocks

The Paddocks community centre, Canvey Island

The Adopted 1998 Local Plan has a blanket no development of Green Belt in the Borough, whilst any later emerging Local Plan has been attacked for proposing various levels of Green Belt development.

Government apparently supports Green Belt reviews through Local Plan processes and if not enough Brownfield sites are available to meet projected Housing Needs for an area, evidence and arguments will be considered over the release of Green Belt for release and development.

Castle Point is likely to not have enough Brownfield sites to meet its Housing Need.

It therefore follows that those in Control of forming Policy and drawing a Local Plan for Castle Point would fall back on existing policies, fending off at the 11th Hour government Intervention in the cpbc Local Plan, developing out all Brownfield Land in an attempt to meet Housing Need, whilst being seen to be proactive in following Government guidance in the case of the Paddocks would include considering releasing its own Local Authority land for development.

Government Press release April 2017
Councils will have new tools to speed up development of derelict and underused land for new homes.

Councils will have new tools to speed up development of derelict and underused land for new homes, Housing and Planning Minister Gavin Barwell confirmed today (3 April 2017).

Local authorities across the country will now have to produce and maintain up-to-date, publicly available registers of brownfield sites available for housing locally.

The new registers will help housebuilders identify suitable brownfield sites quickly, promising to unlock land for thousands of new homes.

Communities will be able to highlight local derelict or underused building sites that are primed for redevelopment. This can bring investment to the area and increase the number of new homes in the area.

As set out in the recently published Housing White Paper, the registers are part of the government’s ambitious programme to speed up house building, promote brownfield sites for development and release land to deliver many more new homes.

Housing and Planning Minister Gavin Barwell said:

We need to build more homes in this country so making sure that we re-use brownfield land is crucial. We want to bring life back to abandoned sites, create thousands more homes and help protect our valued countryside.

These new registers will give local authorities and developers the tools to do this.

In addition, the £3 billion Home Builders Fund will be used to support the development of brownfield sites, with an additional £1.2 billion provided to unlock at least 30,000 Starter Homes on brownfield land.”

The promise of replacing the old Paddocks building with a brand New smaller Facility, was expected to act as  a sweetener, to the 30+ Houses on site that are purported to finance the project.

Whether the viability of the scheme has been tested fully, we shall eventually see.

A public meeting for Canvey residents has been, whilst it must be remembered that Borough finances will be affected, and in place a Consultation is expected.

Now with May elections approaching “outsiders” are having their say through social media on what is basically a Canvey matter.

Canvey and mainland residents should though be ready to consider whether different standards are applied to different areas across the Borough.

For reflection we include the Echo coverage on a Hadleigh site from January 2014, whilst acknowledging that no two cases are alike.

Will the cpbc promised Paddocks Consultation, rather than a public meeting, be worth the Council Meeting minutes paper it is written on.

Read the following Echo report from 2014, including councillors Smith and Isaacs reassuring words, then You Decide!

Hadleigh Hall and the WRVS Hall in John H Burrows Recreational Ground could be torn down

DRAWINGS of multi-million pound plans to completely remodel a Hadleigh park have been revealed to the public.

Hadleigh Hall and the WRVS Hall in John H Burrows Recreational Ground, in Rectory Road, could be torn down as part of Castle Point Council’s plans to revitalise the rundown site.

The council has revealed the plans will cost £3 million and will go out to consultation.

Proposals include a new family-friendly restaurant and pub by Greene King, a community venue, sports pavilion, multi-use games area, outdoor exercise equipment as well as provisions for basketball, tennis and skateboarding.

There will also be campus-wide CCTV and 24-7 security on 1.14-acre site.

Norman Smith, Conservative councillor responsible for economic growth and business liaison, said: “We asked the regeneration partnership to go out and obtain interest in that particular site as we have a derelict hall full of asbestos and another which has come to the end of its useful life.

“It is also widely used by various groups for cricket, football and the children’s play area.

“But at the moment it only caters to the very young and older residents where members would like facilities for all age groups.

“We have had interest but some parties couldn’t deliver what we wanted.

“I do not want this to be seen as a done deal. We want the public to look at it and come back with recommendations for us to evaluate.”

Under the plans the existing Hadleigh Bowls Club, Hadleigh and Thundersley Cricket Club, children’s playground and Solby House will remain although the tennis courts will be moved elsewhere on the site.

Greene King has offered to give £750,000 to the project.

The council hopes to gain the additional cash from Veolia Pitsea Marshes Trust and Sport England.

However, Godfrey Isaacs, Conservative councillor for St James’ ward, said he had been inundated with emails from residents concerned about a new pub coming to the park.

Mr Isaacs said: “The information given out to the public was for commercial use and at that stage I envisaged a restaurant similar to the one in Chalkwell Park rather than a public house.

“Four public houses in Hadleigh have closed in the last 10 years and none of these were in a sports field.

“We have two halls there that are beyond their sell by date that need to be repaired or replaced but not to the detriment of facilities already there.

“This consultation needs to be thorough and borough wide, wide enough so that people can make their feelings known.

We do not want just a two week consultation that will just see it rubber stamped.”

Anything to add, feel free to Comment!

 

Basildon Council Stick 2 Fingers up at Whipping Boy, Castle Point and its Green Belt! Now “Watch this Space!”

Government Intervention. Canvey Island and Castle Point residents will now have to listen to the Borough’s decision makers feigning shock as to how badly they have been treated by the Government’s secretary of state Sajid Javid and his announcement of his intended Intervention in the cpbc local Plan process.

Harvey Smith

Feigning shock, as it is apparent that through contact and advice with the Government, cpbc would have been warned that their “feet dragging” had tested the SoS’ patience too often and for too long!

Glebelands SoS decision June 2013:

In the Secretary of State’s view, whilst the now withdrawn CS was in preparation, there were no real drivers to ensure that the Council pressed ahead. With the publication of the NPPF, he is more positive than the Inspector that the Council can achieve its’ programme for LP adoption, especially given the drivers within it.”

Jotmans Planning Inspector conclusion April 2017:

“However, events have not borne that out positive view. The Draft New Local Plan is currently sidelined and it is very obvious from elements of the Council’s case that there is no political will to take it further forward. In arguing that the proposal at issue is premature, the point is not that it would be premature in terms of the Draft New Local Plan but premature in terms of a different Draft Local Plan that takes a different approach to the provision of housing.”

Reading like a demand for a naughty child’s parents to attend a meeting with the Headmaster the SoS Letter to cpbc Leader Cllr Riley appears to be an illustration of total incompetence by our local authority:

” I gave you the opportunity to put forward any exceptional circumstances by 31 January 2018, which, in your view, justifies the failure to produce a Local Plan under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 regime.”

” the submission accompanying your letter of 31 January 2018. The Council has failed to meet its deadline for publication of a Plan between January – March 2018, in accordance with your July 2017 Local Development Scheme. There has been a consistent failure to produce a Local Plan since the last Plan was adopted in 1998. The Council has failed to meet milestones in published Local Development Schemes at least five times since 2004 and two failures to take a plan through examination.”

” Given that your Council has said it will not produce a Local Plan until after the Joint Plan has been produced and that the Joint Plan is not due to be submitted until 2020 it appears possible that Plan production could be accelerated through intervention.”

And Damningly:

” the other constituent authorities of Basildon and Brentwood are proposing to submit plans ahead of the Joint Plan”

Equally scathing was the SoS’ consideration of the Basildon Local Plan, HOWEVER, it appears Basildon representatives had their ears open!

In the SoS’ letter to Basildon council he writes:

… your Council still remains without an up to date Local Plan which undermines public confidence in the plan-led planning system.

Therefore I will hold you to account for your Council’s actions. Your Council needs to continue to meet your published timetable.

I will continue to monitor your progress closely and any further significant delays in meeting your timetable will cause me to have considerable doubt as to whether your Council is doing everything that is necessary in connection with the preparation of its Local Plan.

I will not hesitate to consider how to use the full range of powers Parliament has given me to ensure that a Plan is in place.

My officials will continue to engage with your officers.”

“My officials will continue to engage with your officers”! Quite clearly talks held, advice given and meetings have been held, between the Government officials and inspectors and Castle Point representatives.

There is no place for feigned shock and surprise.

Castle Point Borough Council Knew This Was Coming!

And sat on their Hands!

Why then is there not a Call for Heads to Roll?

Interestingly we noted within the cpbc Duty to Cooperate examination that, “Thurrock does not expect to make a submission until 2020”.

“And where are we in Castle Point left?

Even the most recent version of the cpbc Local Plan failed to include the “saviour” site, the Blinking Owl. With its previously developed element, close to strategic Highway routes and politically “barren”, enthusiastically promoted by mainland representatives and residents, in advance of more “precious” and “virgin” Green Belt sites as developable.

Unfortunately Essex County Council refuse to allow direct access onto strategic routes.

It is with Alarm then to read that Sajid Javid is intending that;

“My officials will also begin formal discussions on the options of inviting Essex County Council to prepare a Local Plan for Castle Point and with the neighbouring authorities on the possibility of directing an accelerated Joint Plan, as part of considering whether to use my statutory powers and if so which ones.”

Now we likely see the loss of Glebelands, Jotmans Farm and the Dutch Village and all will be blamed on the Nasty Secretary of State and the Planning Inspector!!!

All so that Castle Point can be used as a Whipping Boy!

local plan.jpg-pwrt3

In the meantime Basildon campaigners, officers and councillors have nothing to feel smug about

Basildon Council Spooked by the Government into hurrying through their Local Plan!

It appears that Castle Point have expressed to Basildon Council they will not be able to reach their Housing Needs, without breaching rules around flood risk and/or nature conservation.

Whenever has Flood Risk prevented Castle Point Council from approving development plans on Canvey Island?

With typical political divisive splits the towns of Billericay, Basildon and Wickford, reminiscent of the old Castle Point plan-making battles, narrowly managed to vote to approve their Local Plan.

This is despite the Plan appearing to be doomed to failure! Not because the development may be in the right, or wrong places, but questions remain over the Duty to Cooperate requirement. The DtC bringing failure to the Castle Point LP, also illustrated where Basildon may well fail!

With council officers warning members that BASILDON Council could be forced to build thousands of extra houses to make up for a shortfall in Southend and Castle Point, if its Local Plan is not signed off by the end of this year, the council appear to have panicked into completing the process.

Little Cooperation appears to be forthcoming! Pulling the Draw Bridge up early does not indicate that exhaustive exploration of cooperation, where Housing Need and Supply is concerned, has been completed.

And yet the formation of the Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA) consists of Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point, Essex County, Rochford, Southend-on-Sea, and Thurrock councils, following the demise of the Castle Point Local Plan, is purposely intended to prevent future failure of the Local Plans requirement to comply with the Duty to Cooperate

Why then would Basildon rush into approving their Local Plan?

All is now clear, Buying Time!

The ASELA group of authorities had,  and probably still do, intend to adopt a strategic view of Planning and Housing allocations, across the Housing Areas.

Until ASELA agrees a Joint Spatial Plan, no small undertaking, the Basildon Plan will logically be judged to be Premature at the least, and Unsound at best.

But they have moved on in the process, something it appears cpbc were happy not to do!

Now there appears little option but to do so, and hurriedly! The Chief Planner and his appointed team will expect cpbc members to be compliant, otherwise expect exclusion!

Our neighbouring Boroughs, apparently willing to commit Green Belt for development, will expect Castle Point to commit the same. 

Government forcing its will on local authorities causes resentment.

Recently there has been the abolition of Labour’s centrally imposed housing targets and improved Green Belt protections laid out in the Government’s new National Planning Policy Framework.

We have however a “Broken housing Market”!

Market forces dictate though that developers will NOT build at a rate that results in market prices falling.

Of course there is the small issue of local elections approaching in May, that may focus peoples attention.

Of course, we may have misunderstood the intentions of the Secretary of State’s letter to Cllr Colin Riley, the cpbc officers may have got it all wrong !

But the fact remains Castle Point published a Local Plan in 2016. Only the Duty to Cooperate was Examined. It has been assumed that the Plan itself would also have Failed. Must this assumption of Failure be correct?

If so on whose decision. The same people who have stalled updating the document through cooperation work that should have been taking place since January 2017, when the failing was announced!

There are questions requiring answers and we are not getting them.

We have been promised Localism and Neighbourhood planning, we are getting neither if the Government Chief Planner and Essex County Council are given control of our Local Plan.

Feel free to comment!

Coverage of Basildon concerns over cpbc and Southend Housing Needs can be read HERE.

Adoption coverage of Basildon’s Local Plan can be read HERE.

CPBC councillors in no Hurry, despite Canvey Brown field Land being up for Grabs!

The Castle Point Local Plan wheels of Motion turn Notoriously Slowly.
It was apparent from the debate during full council that nothing had progressed following cabinets “noting” of the requirement to compile a List of Brown field land Register, Part 2 of which would be granted Planning in Principle to support Housing supply within the Local Plan.

Cabinet Councillors spoke of forming a committee to consider appropriate land to be included in the Brown field Register and a similar debate during full council indicated no appointments made, nor meetings planned, in the meantime following the cabinet’s decision! With August arriving few meetings are usually scheduled due to holidays.
This Brownfield register may be seen as the mainland residents Green Belt life saver, as many brown field sites have been rumoured to have already been identified on Canvey Island.

Paddocks

As with all cpbc committees the balance of power rests with the mainland councillors so we can expect the development land identified to receive a Planning Inspector’s response to raise concerns on “the consequences of this on the distribution of growth across the Borough!”

However there is an opportunity for CITC to partake

“Notification for parish councils and neighbourhood forums of proposal to enter land in Part 2 of the Brownfield register; 

Where the council of any parish, or a neighbourhood forum, (“the relevant body”) in the area of the local planning authority have—

(a) requested the authority to notify it of a proposed entry of land in Part 2, and

(b) the land to which the proposed entry relates is within the area of the relevant body, the local planning authority must notify the relevant body of the proposed entry by serving requisite notice on it”

The driving force on compiling this Register, expected complete by the End of 2017, appears left to councillors with leading officers now having taken consultation only positions.

It appears that the first point of debate should be, but will most likely be disregarded, what constitutes Brown field land.

If you were to simply swallow what some local protagonists claim, Green Belt is held akin to:

And did those feet in ancient time Walk upon England’s mountain green? And was the holy Lamb of God On England’s pleasant pastures seen?

Rather than:  Green Belt serves five purposes:

  • to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas
  • to prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another
  • to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment
  • to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns
  • to assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land

This is recognised by Chelmsford City Council;

In their Local Plan Preferred Options Document they state:

Green Belt  A national planning policy designation given to land. Green Belts were designated to stop the uncontrolled growth of large cities and towns.    The Green Belt can include both greenfield and brownfield sites in areas with both good and poor landscape value.”

Our local Castle Point councillors will do well, if they were indeed intending to work towards bringing forward a Local Plan rather than extending the process indefinitely, to first understand and absorb this definition.

Of course that may not be their most important driving force!

Government regulation and advice on the compiling of Registers of Brownfield Land includes:

The regulations require local authorities to prepare and maintain registers of brownfield land that is suitable for residential development. The Order provides that sites entered on Part 2 of the new brownfield registers will be granted permission in principle.

The proposals came in to force in mid April 2017. Local authorities will be expected to have compiled their registers by 31 December 2017.

The (Government) department’s rigorous new burdens assessments ensure local planning authorities receive the relevant resources to meet their statutory obligations. We have written to authorities informing them of the grant funding that they will receive to cover their new responsibilities.

We (the Government) intend to publish statutory guidance to explain our policy for brownfield registers in more detail by Summer 2017. It will also set out our expectations for the operation of the policy and the requirements of the secondary legislation.

Brownfield registers will provide up-to-date, publicly available information on brownfield land that is suitable for housing. This will improve the quality and consistency of data held by local planning authorities which will provide certainty for developers and communities, encouraging investment in local areas. Brownfield registers should include all brownfield sites that are suitable for housing development irrespective of their planning status.

Local planning authorities who are required to develop a Local Plan under Part 2 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 will be required to have a register covering the area of the local plan.

The regulations set a process for identifying suitable sites, including the requirements for keeping a register and the criteria for assessing sites. (The regulations also set out the requirements for publicity and consultation where an authority proposes to enter sites on Part 2 of the register.) There is a duty on local planning authorities to have regard to the development plan, national policy and advice and guidance when exercising their functions under the brownfield register regulations.

the timescale is realistic. Local authorities already collect and review information on housing land as part of the well established Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment process and the requirements for preparing registers are aligned to this process as far as possible. Seventy-three local planning authorities have piloted the preparation of brownfield registers and their experience has helped to shape the policy and requirements.

Putting a site on Part 1 of a register does not mean it will automatically be granted permission in principle. Local planning authorities will be able to enter sites on Part 2 of the register which will trigger a grant of permission in principle for those sites suitable for housing-led development only after they have followed the consultation and publicity requirements, and other procedures set out in the regulations and they remain of the opinion that permission in principle should be granted. Those sites which have permission in principle for housing-led development will be clearly identified by being in Part 2 of the register.

Where a site on a register is considered to be deliverable within 5 years it can be counted towards the 5-year housing supply. Local planning authorities will be required to indicate whether sites are ‘deliverable’ when entering data on their registers.

Local planning authorities must take into account the National Planning Policy Framework when identifying sites to include in their brownfield registers. The Framework has strong policies to protect the natural and built environment and conserve and enhance the historic environment. It also requires authorities to ensure that a residential use is appropriate for the location and that a site can be made suitable for its new use.

Brownfield registers complement the existing Local Plan processes for identifying sites that are suitable for housing. When preparing their plans, local planning authorities are required, through the preparation of Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessments to identify housing sites on brownfield land and other land that is suitable for housing. The regulations ensure that the process of identifying suitable sites for the brownfield register is aligned to the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment process, and so proactively supports the plan-making process.

Permission in principle will settle the fundamental principles of development (use, location, amount of development) for the brownfield site giving developers/applicants more certainty.

And the next Green Belt site up for Development in Castle Point is-!

An area of Green Belt land at Solby Wood, comes before the Castle Point (cpbc) development committee on the 6th December.

The proposal is for 46 dwellings.

The development committee agenda states;

“The proposal represents the residential development of a previously developed site in the Green Belt, on land which has been identified in the New Local Plan as suitable for release for residential purposes. Development of the site for residential purposes, whilst inconsistent with the Adopted Local Plan is considered to be consistent with the provisions of the New Local Plan and Government guidance.”

“My recommendation is that the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government be advised that the Council is minded to approve this application and that subject to no adverse direction being received and subject to the completion of a satisfactory S106 Agreement covering:
 
(i) The provision of affordable housing etc, etc
 
the Head of Regeneration and Neighbourhoods be authorised to grant permission, subject to conditions.”

“Should Members therefore be minded to approve the proposal, after consideration of all relevant matters, it will be necessary for the matter to then be forwarded to the Secretary of State for further consideration.”

This last point might be a timely reminder for the Secretary of State, whilst he continues to peruse the Jotmans Farm Appeal Inquiry papers, that cpbc are implementing in the meantime, policies as per the Local Plan2016.

The development committee paperwork goes into some description that may, or may not be on such certain legal ground by explaining:

“Para 89 of the NPPF states that the construction of new buildings within the Green Belt generally represents inappropriate development; however there are some exceptions to this general principle and the paragraph goes on to state that the partial or complete redevelopment of previously developed sites (brownfield land), whether redundant or in continuing use (excluding temporary buildings), which would not have a greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt and the purpose of including land within it may not be considered inappropriate.
 
The application site contains a number of substantial structures which are associated with the equestrian use of the site.
 
In addition a proportion of the site is hardsurfaced and used for the storage of caravans.
 
The site may therefore be classified as a brown field site.”

The cpbc Green Belt Review describes; “The site is partially developed to its eastern part with farm buildings and caravan storage.”

Brownfield land is considered: ‘Land which is or was occupied by a permanent structure,” “This excludes: land that is or has been occupied by agricultural or forestry buildings” “land in built-up areas such as private residential gardens, parks, recreation grounds and allotments

Regarding the development the Echo had revealed in 2013

“THREE green belt sites in Castle Point could be developed within the next five years, the Echo can reveal.

A letter leaked to the Echo shows Castle Point Council’s chief executive, David Marchant, wrote to County Hall identifying the three pieces of land.

The sites were highlighted so the county council could predict the number of future school places in the area, as part of the consultation to close the Deanes School, Thundersley.”

“”last week meetings had taken place between the owner of Solby Wood Farm and Castle Point Council regarding a pre-application for up to 160 homes.”

Regarding Green Belt the case paperwork states;

“The site is allocated for Green Belt purposes on the 1998 Local Plan Proposals Map.

This allocation is not maintained in the New Local Plan (2016). Policy H9 of the New Local Plan identifies the application site and land to the east as suitable for release for residential purposes. This Plan is however not yet adopted and whilst it may be construed as an indication of the direction of travel for the Local Authority, it can carry some limited weight in the determination of this application. ”

“The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) stresses the importance of having a planning system that is genuinely plan-led. Where a proposal accords with an up-to-date development plan it should be approved without delay, as required by the presumption in favour of sustainable development at NPPF.

Where the development plan is absent, silent or the relevant policies are out of date, the NPPF requires the application to be determined in accordance with the presumption in favour of sustainable development unless otherwise specified.

Footnote 9 to the NPPF however identifies that land allocated for Green Belt purposes is an example where development should be restricted. The footnote does not however state that development in such areas is prohibited.

The Development Plan for Castle Point is the adopted Local Plan (1998). This identifies the site as Green Belt.”

“Para 89 of the NPPF states that the construction of new buildings within the Green Belt generally represents inappropriate development; however there are some exceptions to this general principle and the paragraph goes on to state that the partial or complete redevelopment of previously developed sites (brownfield land), whether redundant or in continuing use (excluding temporary buildings), which would not have a greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt and the purpose of including land within it may not be considered inappropriate.

The application site contains a number of substantial structures which are associated with the equestrian use of the site.
In addition a proportion of the site is hardsurfaced and used for the storage of caravans.

The site may therefore be classified as a brown field site.”

“However”, (a word often heard during these meetings), it may be argued, by some, that this remains a Green Belt site as defined in the Adopted Local Plan and therefore should be subject to the recognised development restrictions.

Equally residents would claim, in cases where unwanted development is concerned and given the position of the local Plan2016, the proposal may be considered Premature!

On Affordable Homes, cpbc extend leniency towards the developer, the Adopted Local Plan seeks 35% Affordable dwellings, whilst the local Plan2016 states:

” In order to ensure the viability of development throughout the borough, and to ensure that developments are supported by the transport, community and green infrastructure needed to create sustainable communities, it is recommended 25% affordable housing provision is sought in Benfleet, Hadleigh and Thundersley”

However with the ink not even fully dry on the cpbc Local Plan2016, the officers propose capitulation by conceding in the case paperwork that;

“Both the adopted and New Local Plan recognise that it will not always be possible to achieve the provision of affordable housing on site and that under some circumstances the Council will consider the provision of payments in lieu rather than provision on site. Such payments will however be required to be equivalent to the cost of on-site provision and in accordance with the Council’s adopted formula.”
 
“In this instance the applicant has acknowledged the need to make provision for affordable housing and has requested that a contribution to offsite provision be accepted.”

One may wonder whereabouts in the Borough, these social housing provisions may, or may not, be eventually sited and delivered. The potential for making matters worse via segregational planning practice may have obvious drawbacks, particularly when pockets of deprivation already exist within the borough.

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The Solby Wood site being 3.4 Ha may be considered to be under-developed, only delivering 46 dwellings at a rate of 13.5 per Ha, but then the same rules do not apply across the whole of Castle Point!

The cpbc case officer, in offering some assistance to the developer suggested “I have not worked out the impact on the amenity area provision for the dwellings – but it might be worth looking at.

It will therefore be interesting to observe any committee members comments, given that 15 out of the 46 dwellings will not reach the amenity space standard expected by an average of 17.5 square metres on average, per dwelling!

All in all though, cpbc should be commended for attempting to follow policies as laid out within the Local Plan2016.

Photo copyright:BBC

“Protect the Green Belt” political speak for “alter the Green Belt boundaries!”

Canvey Island Green Belt indeed the whole of Castle Point Green Belt is a target for developers. The Council, and indeed our Government,  have pledged to defend Green Belt land. Already there has been some back tracking on this locally with the Council Cabinet approving previously developed Green Belt sites to be forwarded for consideration by the full Council. 

Is “protecting the Green Belt” the same as not allowing the Green Belt boundaries to be altered?

43% of all new housing is accounted for by immigration.

The Housing Minister, a Housing designer, a builder and campaigner discuss on Newsnight, discuss these issues plus brownfield development and empty homes.                                                                                                                                                      View discussion via this link:

Newsnight