Yet another Government Quango with yet another Survey to accumulate the thoughts of the Residents, businesses, voluntary sector organisations in South Essex!
SE2050 propose; “Through this survey we want to hear your views on South Essex as a place to live, to visit, to work, or to run a business – what makes the region distinct and special for you. We want to explore how South Essex might change over the next 30 years; what we might be able to achieve together; and how we can focus our efforts and direct investment towards the things that matter most.”
This is to add to the Castle Point Borough Council Local Plan Consultation and the South Essex Plan Consultations, supposedly informing the Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA).
South Essex Today: what makes the region special?
“While each individual town, village, coastal or rural area in South Essex is special in their own way, we want to hear your views on what makes the South Essex region distinct from other parts of the UK. Think about:
What is South Essex famous for? What makes it distinct from other places?
What do you see as the region’s biggest strengths? What makes South Essex a great place to live, to visit, to work or to run a business?
Which regional developments or achievements over the past decade make you most proud and why?”
Canvey Island has become an overspill for the London Housing deficiency with suspicions remaining that outside boroughs still relocate residents on their Housing Lists, into the local area. The Island has become more and more overcrowded, resulting in congestion and under resourced Services. All the while CPBC and ECC cutbacks have led Canvey to become more untidy, with drainage issues and a lack of Building Control.
The result of SE2050 will no doubt be more funding for our Local Government Partnership, more Housing, higher Population levels, possibly more Roads, more Hazardous Industrialisation, more pressure on Health Services and more Congestion, all in an area with Surface Water Drainage issues and an Un-funded Sea Defence Improvement scheme!
“What’s the Point” you will say? Well don’t have Your Say, and you will allow your name to be Used in Support of the Scheme.
Have you wondered why London hasn’t an Eastbound Motorway similar to the west of London.
East houses the business and production areas along with the urbanised towns, almost merging with each other, whereas to the west is a lot more land space and the holiday routes.
On the A127 it is difficult to measure the traffic
What I mean is that it is distorted by being just 2 lanes and has purposely retained slow down mechanisms, namely the fortune of war roundabout, and the poorly, and the economically designed short slip roads, which slows down traffic flows often to a Halt!
Chelmsford is looking after the mid and north of the county routes, intentionally leaving the south and thameside local authorities to seek other funding streams which are barely forthcoming.
Hence the piecemeal patchwork upgrades to the a13
and the lack of improvements to the a127.
Is it a deliberate ploy by Essex County Council to segregate us from them, in the knowledge that Thameside areas under the will of “The Association of South Essex Local Authorities” intends to become more and more intensely urbanised, acting as a buffer to keep mid and north essex leafier and more better funded off the back of us!
The “improvements” on the local major arteries have been piecemeal and catastrophic. The A127 being basically neglected for the last 40 years as for the A13 we need only to consider the sections of lane widening such as now only just commencing at Stanford at the same time as the seemingly continual repairs to the substandard construction of the Sadlers farm Junction.
Locally the incomplete Roscommon Way, the 2nd phase being completed to vastly reduced lifetime standards, whilst the continually promised 3 road off Canvey Island, remains after all of this time an “A”spiration. (Is that what they mean by an “A” road?).
Meanwhile Parliament got in on the act by holding a discussion on the road infrastructure of Essex in Westminster Hall.
Speakers included Priti Patel, Mark Francois, Graham Stringer chair, James Duddbribge, Will Quince, Rachel Maskell, Jesse Norman Min of State Dept of Transport.
Some of the debate included, with no names attached to quotations, but you will note the early emphasis on Mid and North of the County, and you can contemplate this as you sit in your nearest Traffic Jam, in the clear Knowledge that Nothing Will be Done Soon to Improve the Situation!:
“Over the past decade there has been a 25% increase in the number of enterprises across Essex. In 2010, that number stood at 61,540. By 2018 it had risen to 77,365.”
“it is not only individuals who depend on our transport sector, but businesses and everyone else. Essex has a strong advanced manufacturing and engineering sector that employs over 50,000 people in over 4,200 companies.”
“In the county of Essex, farming alone is worth over £400 million to our economy and employs over 8,000 people.”
“every year enough wheat to make 1.3 billion loaves of bread, enough barley to make 280 million pints of beer, and 150 million eggs. We also grow outdoor vegetables on 5,000 acres of land, so roads and transport are important”
“we have 66,000 professionals in Essex, so it is important that we continue to grow and support them. We have a dynamic academic and educational sector, with Writtle University College, Anglia Ruskin University and the University of Essex”
“We have over 1,000 acres of port-adjacent, tri-modally connected logistics and distribution sites, which are the backbone of our economy, and we are connected by road, rail, sea and air to global markets. We have four major seaports—London Gateway, Tilbury, Harwich and Purfleet—with a fifth major port, Felixstowe, just over the border in Suffolk. There are also six port-side rail freight terminals and three key tri-modal logistic sites at London Gateway and the London distribution park.”
“our airports: Stansted, which is the UK’s third largest air freight hub by capacity, and Southend airport. Those airports are not just growing, but experiencing considerable passenger growth and, in the case of Stansted, benefiting from private sector investment to the tune of £600 million.”
“One statistic says it all: it is not surprising to learn that Essex is the local authority with the second-highest traffic level in the country, with 9.68 billion vehicle miles in 2017 alone. That is 2 billion miles more than in 1997, and if the unitary authorities of Thurrock and Southend-on-Sea are included, the greater Essex area has the highest traffic level by distance, with 11.2 billion miles.”
“The Minister must understand that our main arterial routes—the A13, the A127 and the A12—are bursting at the seams.”
“The Government want more house building in south Essex and the rest of the county. I make it plain to the Minister that he has to pay for the infrastructure if he wants those houses built. If the Government will not come up with the money, for instance to make the A127 the M127, they can forget their housing targets.”
“Chairman “I remind Members that, although this is not a well-attended debate, interventions should be short, brief and to the point.””
“The case for investment in the A12 and the A120 is compelling”
A12 “below standard slip roads and capacity problems which can result in tailbacks.”
“Minister, if this were legislation, I would suggest a very simple amendment: delete “A” and insert “M”. I refer, of course, to the A127. We want it to be a motorway. When I say “we”, I do not mean me, or a collection of a few random individuals; the whole of Essex wants it to be a motorway. In November 2018, a group came together—the south Essex A127 taskforce—led by Councillor Mike Steptoe, who is both of Essex County Council and deputy leader of Rochford Council. That group included Essex, Southend, Thurrock, Rochford, Basildon, Castle Point, Brentwood, Chelmsford, Malden, Havering, Transport for London and Highways England.”
“The A127 carries more than 75,000 people every day.”
“we need to make sure that all incremental improvements to the A127 do not stand in the way of a future motorway—developments such as the Fairglen interchange between the A130 and the A127 need to be motorway-proof.”
“Although right hon. and hon. Members have extolled the economic opportunities for their areas and discussed the housing developments that are putting pressure on the infrastructure, which is clearly under severe pressure and needs to be redressed, I urge the Minister to take a more strategic view of how we develop our transport infrastructure. The reality is that we need to plan not just for the next decade or two, but for the long term.”
“In December 2014 the Government launched the first road investment strategy, which outlined how more than £15 billion is to be invested in our strategic roads between 2015 and 2021. That is the biggest upgrade to strategic roads in a generation, and it will be exceeded in RIS2 from 2025, which is of the scale of £25 billion.”
“To zero-in on Essex, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witham pointed out that the first road investment strategy includes the widening of the A12 between junction 19 at Chelmsford and junction 25 at Marks Tey, where it currently joins the A120.”
“Question put and agreed to.
“That this House has considered transport infrastructure in Essex.”
For Canvey Islanders the daily commute, whether by car or public transport, can be, to put it politely, “challenging”! Castle Point Council will tell you that it is the same across the whole Borough.
As we are all aware there is pressure to supply yet more and more Housing development. This will inevitably add to the problem.
One would have thought that, CPBC would have adopted a strategy by now, especially over the extended period taken to arrive at a 3 times rejected Local Plan, that would at least start to address the congestion problem.
But no, where Canvey Island is concerned, the Town Centre Regeneration scheme has been ignored and dismissed where convenient to CPBC! The old Nat West building and neighbouring property, identified as space for road realignment is set to become a community centre and bakery, with new development adjoining.
More concerning however, is the lack of correlation between, new Builds and the accompanying Car Parking spaces, and the major Business and Retail Parks receiving all being Approved on the Island!
These planning proposals all due to impose a Negative Impact on Canvey Island’s Car Parking and Road Network, despite the fine words included within the Local Plan 2018.
The Castle Point Borough Council Emerging Local Plan proposed Policies that seeks “Opportunities to promote walking, cycling and public transport are pursued; The environmental impact of traffic and transport infrastructure is taken into account; and Movement, streets and parking are integrated into designs”
The Emerging Local Plan recognises “Many of the main routes within the borough are single carriageway roads with little prospect for widening due to the proximity of existing development. This also limits the potential to provide dedicated passenger transport routes and cycleways” “Castle Point is peripheral on the bus service network and whilst there are good services during the day on most routes, service frequency is not as good in the evenings and on Sundays.”” The cycle network within Castle Point is limited, and where it does exist it is disjointed and poorly maintained.”
The New Out of Town Retail / Business sites will not only be to the detriment of the Canvey Town Centre but also intensify the Congestion heading towards and from Canvey West. However, almost every Flatted development Approved on Canvey, has a shortfall of Car Parking Spaces, officers suggesting that isn’t their concern as Town centre Flats benefit from facilities being nearby and benefit from regular public transport!
Equally there is a consistency with the Approved Retail / Business sites, that they to, when residents and mainlanders arrive, will also have a Shortfall of Car Parking Spaces!
Below are a few examples indicating the Castle Point Council’s Planning officers and committee approach to the issues of Car Parking and new Housing Development and Retail / Business development.
Spot the Connections!
King Canute Flats, Vetenary practice and CO OP store.
“The proposed car park…..would result in a significant level of harmful conflict… between the 3 independent uses, adversely affecting the ease of movement within the site, and if approved, likely to accumulate in the displacement of the residential occupiers vehicles onto Edith road, to the detriment of safety and traffic flows,”
The Flats “attract a requirement of two parking spaces” each…. “the provision of 3 spaces (in total) would appear to represent a deficiency, however….””where Flats will have easy access to the bus network…” “the parking provision is considered satisfactory.”
“With regard to the retail element” the area of floor space results” in a maximum requirement of 25 parking spaces.”
“The retail element is provided with some 13 parking spaces.” Recommended for Approval and subsequently Approved by Committee.
125 – 127 High Street Canvey Island. 14 x 2 Bedroom Flats
“ The currently adopted parking standards published by ECC require the provision of two spaces per property. Within Town Centres this may be reduced.”
“The site is remote from the core of the Town Centre…”
“Visitor parking should be provided at a rate of 0.25 spaces per dwelling.”
“Application of parking standards generates a requirement of 32 parking spaces.”
“The proposal would provide 15 spaces and should therefore attract a recommendation of Refusal.” Approved on Appeal
Canvey Supply Ltd 74 High Street Canvey Island 16/0212/OUT
The scheme would provide 24 car parking spaces and 32 cycle parking spaces to serve the needs of the residential development and 4 spaces to serve the shops.
The maximum parking requirement for this development is as follows:
12 x 1 bed apartments 12 spaces, 12 x 2 bed apartments 24 spaces, Visitors 0.25 x 24 = 6 = 6 spaces 42 spaces parking spaces.
The proposed retail units have an area of some 268m2 and therefore attract a requirement for 14 parking spaces.
A maximum total of 56 spaces is therefore required on the site.
The proposal seeks to provide 24 residential parking spaces.
The proposed development is deficient in parking provision and ordinarily would attract a recommendation of refusal. However, the site is located within a Town Centre where the availability of private parking and service areas is extremely limited and where access to other public car parks and public transport is available. Approved by CPBC committee.
Now let’s look at our New Retail / Business developments!
Land Opposite Morrisons Northwick Road 15/0293/RES
Hotel and motor dealership. Approx. 27 Units various sizes.
This site has a total area of 7.5ha, the north of which connects to Northwick Road. The east of the site is bounded by Roscommon Way and the Morrisons site
Parking Requirement 590 Spaces. 565 Spaces to be provided. Projected Shortfall 25 Spaces.
Lidl foodstore 18/0868/FUL
Lidls presents itself as a local convenience retailer and therefore operates on the basis of a limited catchment area. Usually this would be a five minute drive time. However given the somewhat unique circumstances of Canvey Island, this has been extended to eight minutes in order, primarily to capture the whole of Canvey.
A significant proportion of turnover will therefore be derived from diversion from existing retailers.
The impact of this diversion on the vitality and viability of the Centres must now be considered.
102 car parking spaces would be provided. The proposed store would attract a requirement for 149 car parking spaces. Shortfall of 47 Spaces.
Land South Of Roscommon Way Canvey Island 14/0707/OUT, Demolition of disused pumping station and construction of commercial and industrial development
The proposed Layout indicates the intention to provide 566 Parking Spaces. However the Actual Supply should be 662 a Shortfall of 96 Parking spaces.
Retail Site M and S, Costa, B and M, Sports Direct, Garden Centre etc
Land off Roscommon Way Canvey Island 16/0419/FUL
3.4Ha site (approx).
Approved with undersize car parking spaces, inconsistent with adopted parking standards.
The proposal should be required to provide 456 car Parking Spaces
Actual Supply 240 Parking Spaces. Just 53% of the Requirement “This deficiency would appear to represent a significant objection to be proposal.”
Next time you are out sitting in Traffic or wondering why people are Parking on Pavements etc, just Remember, it’s all part of somebody’s Big Plan!
So a proposal that the Admiral Jellicoe public house on Canvey Island is highly likely to be demolished and replaced by 40 Flats has been lodged with Castle Point Borough Council.
Admiral Jellicoe. Luke Baker Photography.
This is “timely” news as cpbc will be evaluating the next move forward with their new draft Local Plan2018 at Wednesdays special council meeting. Work is also imminent on the Brownfield Land Register, which will give Permission in Principle for Housing sites across the Borough to meet the Housing Need required of the cpbc Local Plan.
The Housing Need is likely to be set around 342 dwellings per annum.
Currently the Brownfield Land register reads as a paltry supply of a minimum 264 dwellings.
This Supply List appears somewhat misleading as the entry for the Admiral Jellicoe site indicates a minimum of just 15 dwellings, 25 less than the planning proposal applies for!
This misleading figure causes concern as the previous draft Local plans have carried a figure for Thorney Bay of 600 dwellings. This is 33% less than the intended figure, quoted by the Sandy bay site manager, of 900 Park Homes!
How many other discrepancies are contained within the figures for Canvey Island?
Whilst our esteemed councillors consider the new Local Plan2018 Housing Growth Distribution and the numbers they perhaps should consider their morals as they allocate Canvey Island’s proposed Housing Numbers.
According to data published by the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) figures show that 11% of new homes were built within areas of high flood risk, up 9% from 2015/2016.
Castle Point Brownfield Land register indicates that of the minimum numbers identified, 264 dwellings, 43% will be developed on Canvey Island, a Flood Risk Zone 3 area and a Critical Drainage Area!
Compare this 43% with the 11% National Average and you might just begin to realise it may be overdue for councillors to consider their conscience as they allocate yet more dwellings onto Canvey Island.
And that 43% is without allowing for the actual proposed numbers referred to above!
“Geoff Offen, managing director at Future Climate Info pointed out that the figures show that more than one in 10 new homes were built on sea or river flood plains which are prone to flooding.
‘While the national housing shortage compels us to seek out more land across England and Wales to build homes upon, buyers of these new properties must be aware of the risks their new bricks and mortar face,’ he said.”
CPBC Agenda paperwork explains; “Furthermore, Canvey Island is within Flood Risk Zone 3a, and as such planning applications for residential development normally require a Flood Risk Assessment. Advice is awaited from the Environment Agency as to if and how the Council could go about addressing this requirement before proceeding to consider any sites on Canvey Island for inclusion on the Part 2 of the Register”
Cllr Riley letter to Sajid “it (cpbc) will bring forward Part 2 of its Brownfield Land register – the “Permission in Principle” The council has a clear indication of the technical work necessary to bring forward sites from Part 1 of the Register and would commit to and complete this work by summer 2018”.
However cpbc are aware that “Part two of the register is optional” and that “planning permission would not be granted until Technical Details Consent is applied for and approved by the Council.”
Presumably an in-house application of the Sequential Test will suffice!
Furthermore much appears to be being made of residents comparing Canvey Island with the mainland and how this is wrong as we should be viewed simply as “one borough,” as though division is weakness.
Perhaps having considered some of the above the “one borough” approach can be seen as less suiting to Canvey.
However quite rightly the claim is supported by facts that more development has taken place recently on the mainland.
Once again we must point out, “yawn,” that since Castle Point was formed the vast majority of population increase, 42%, has been directed onto Canvey Island.
All well and good until the population level is considered in light of possible emergency situations from flooding or Hazardous Accidents and the inabilities of responders in coping!
We are pointed to the very recent Housing numbers allocated to the mainland compared with Canvey Island and how the mainland has absorbed more.
We need first to accept that recent new housing development numbers in the borough have been very low, little more than 100 dwellings on average per year. We would suggest that nowhere in the Borough has had much Housing development, compared with other areas.
In fact in very recent times only 2014 – 2015, when 214 Housing Completions were achieved, stands out as an above average year for the borough and the distribution of Growth hardly supported the argument that the vast majority were delivered on the mainland.
Information for this 2014 – 2015 period indicates that 86 were completed at Kiln Road, whilst 50 at Long Road, Canvey Island and 30 at Lubbins Car Park, Eastern Esplanade, Canvey Island were the only sites realising over 14 dwellings!
Whichever Local Plan the cpbc councillors are “entrapped” into adopting, whether the 2014 daft Local Plan or the 2016 version, we will hear that Canvey residents should be grateful that more Housing is scheduled for the mainland compared to the Island.
However cpbc do not impose Flood Risk, nor hazardous Industries, as a Constraint on Housing Numbers. Sites are allocated to Canvey Island because of “The Borough’s Housing Need”!
Let us remember on the day of local Plan reckoning that not only will Housing Land be released on Canvey Island but also Green Fields allocated for Industrial and Business Use!
Of which: Land Opposite Morrisons Northwick Road Canvey Island Essex
Area 7.5 Hectares site, Roscommon Way Canvey Island Essex 2.24 Hectares site, Land South Of Roscommon Way Canvey Island 7.41 Hectares site, Extension to Charfleets Industrial Estate Canvey Island 7 Hectares site, Land for Employment South of Northwick Road Canvey Island 8 Hectares site.*
All on Greenfield Land, on land affected by a High Water Table made worse by tidal water penetrating UNDER the sea defences, something never heard considered during planning matters.
As a group and individually, we have nothing against any of the residents of the Borough, and are known to happily collaborate with other GB campaign groups, but if we cannot see a fair and decent Local Plan emerging we will be intent upon challenging!
The cpbc Brownfield Land register, Dated 1. 12. 2017, can be found HERE.
* Happy to correct details if found to be incorrect.
Green Belt is put under further pressure from Housing and Business development by the fashionable approach that an area’s Rural Idyllic Value should become an addition to the existing agreed list of Functions.
A Point is made to support Green Belt being released for development that “over 60 percent is farmland, with herbicides and pesticides pouring air pollution into our cities“. This only proves that using an exaggeration provides a headline rather than gravity to the claim, that the answer to fixing our broken housing market, lies in the Green belt!
Jotmans Farm development proposal rejected by Secretary of State, back on the Table?
An investment opportunity
Releasing Green Belt isn’t the easy fix, especially where the need for affordable homes is concerned. Indeed quite the opposite, for despite the comparative ease and economics of developing on Green Belt over previously developed areas, levels of affordable housing being provided is low, apparently through viability reasoning!
Of course a Review of Green Belt should be included within a Local Plan process but challenging or undermining of the Green Belt Functions should not be the only test for release.
In the case of Canvey Island, Green Belt, what little that remains, and Green Field land perform far more than the 5 Functions.
Local planners would do well to remember this before it is too late and we have far more to worry about than “pouring pollution” into the urbanised area!
The level of proposed releases of Green Belt is concerning, it will not bring an immediate Fix to the Broken Housing Market. Developers will not build at a rate that would collapse the housing market values!
A balanced approach is required on Housing Supply and Population levels in areas able to support and keep safe current and future residents in appropriate areas. isn’t that what Sustainable Housing should be based on?
Politics of Planning blog posted, 11May 2018:
“Labour’s Siobhain McDonagh has called for unused ‘wasteland’ in the Green Belt to be developed. The Member of Parliament for Mitcham and Morden argues that the development of such land would go some way to addressing the housing crisis, whilst preserving genuine areas of natural beauty.
Ms McDonagh is advocating that an extra million new homes be built in London, where 22% of the land within its boundaries is Green Belt, and has made a written submission to the NPPF consultation to this effect. She says that she has found many examples of such land within minutes of train stations across the country.
Commenting on the situation, Ms McDonagh said: “I have no desire to call for building in our countryside or on the flowing fields of green that we should be so grateful to have. My frustration is not with parks and hills or areas of natural beauty. And of course, I have no intention of calling for housing in areas with environmental protection… There are 128,000 children in England living in temporary accommodation, desperate for a place to call home. In the hearts of our towns and cities, and close to public transport, scrubland, rubbish tips and car washes are inappropriately designated as Green Belt land. It’s time to burst the myth that all Green Belt is green and use it for the homes our children so desperately need. It’s time to grasp the nettle and to stop promising new homes without the means of providing them.” Siobhain McDonagh said that the idea has support across both parties and amongst a number of thinktanks. Matthew Kilcoyne of the Adam Smith Institute agrees with Ms McDonagh, and believes that there is a common romantic misconception over the true nature of the Green Belt. He commented: “Far from rolling hills and daisy strewn meadows, the Green Belt is anything but a rural idyll. Over 60 percent is farmland, with herbicides and pesticides pouring air pollution into our cities.”
Siobhain McDonagh’s intervention came in the same week as the National Planning Summit, held on 10 May in London. Her opinions are in step with Christine Whitehead of the Government’s Build-out Review Panel – the Letwin Review – who told the Summit that a “very large proportion” of the problem of why planning permissions fail to be built out is an over-reliance on large housing sites. Ms Whitehead added that “between 2008 and 2014, over 50% of permissions were on large sites, and five per cent of the output was on large sites.”
Ms McDonagh’s idea would certainly free up many small sites within London, and it will be interesting to see whether this issue is considered by the Letwin Review, which is due to be published before the Autumn Budget in November 2018.“
The issue of potential Flooding remains a Hot Topic. That is as it should be, however as we have seen within Castle Point Council it only acts as a Development Constraint verbally, rather than effectively.
The responsibility on Flood Risk should fall squarely on the shoulders of council members, but other interests and “fear” of scaremongering, in effect mean that Flood Risk as a Constraint on Development is disregarded.
View of Canvey Island flooding from Police Helicopter July 2014
The Environment Agency adopt a position where residents safety over the lifetime of a new development is left to council members, Canvey Island and mainland residents Representatives.
The EA consider;
“The site is currently protected by flood defences so is not at risk of flooding in the present-day 0.0% (1 in 1000) annual probability flood event. The defences will continue to offer protection over the lifetime of the development, provided that the TE2100 policy is followed and the defences are raised in line with climate change, which is dependent on future funding.”
The Island’s Flood Risk Assessment confirms over topping will be a concern prior to the year 2100!
There are no guarantees of this future funding and residents may be surprised to know that much of this funding must be raised locally. Councillors should be in a position to inform us of the sources of this funding and of the avenues in place for the collection of these monies, if they are confident that the sea defences will receive the necessary improvements so as to have confidence any new builds that they approve, will be safe over its Lifetime!
The EA give further warning;
“Although Canvey Island is defended to a high standard of protection, it is at risk should there be a flood defence failure”
Of course the official position of cpbc appears to be that as long as there is space provided for safe refuge areas above the ground floor, development is acceptable.
A somewhat contradictory position in respect that if Canvey Island could not Flood, the safe refuge requirement would be un-necessary.
Government and Defra continue to fumble about giving residents no security whilst planners and developers take advantage of the lack of a clear position.
The BBC Report;
The Commons environment committee said ministers were not addressing what it called the fragmented, inefficient and ineffective flood management.
Areas of concern include flood impact home insurance, building rules and local authority planning decisions.
The government rejected the criticism, saying it had accepted many previous suggestions on flooding from the MPs.
The committee’s comments are the latest in a running tussle between MPs and the environment department Defra.
The MPs admit that flooding has risen up the government’s priority list, and say “considerable work” on flooding is being done across Whitehall. But they complain that ministers are still ignoring reasonable demands.
Jim Fitzpatrick MP, acting chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (Efra), said: “People living in areas of flood risk need to be reassured that the government is acting to improve our disjointed flood management system.
“Defra has failed to give sufficient justification for its rejection of our recommendations for important new measures.”
Continued development also increases pressure on Canvey Island’s drainage system, already capable of failure through misuse and lack of maintenance. Housing and Business development means Roads, Parking areas and hard impermeable surfaces intensify this issue as development approvals continue unabated.
This move to develop more and more areas of grass land on Canvey must be considered in the light of it inevitably increasing the likelihood of Surface Water Flooding, a warning of this issue is contained in a Research paper by Dr David Kelly. Its relevance to Canvey Island should be considered Striking!
It should be remembered that, whilst the sea defences have some ability to stop the Tide from over topping, they have absolutely no effect in stopping the Tidal Water from penetrating the ground from beneath, and causing flooding and a High Water Table by that means!
“Impact of paved front gardens on current and future urban flooding” Research Paper by Dr D.A.Kelly
The proliferation of paved gardens is putting the UK’s towns and cities at greater risk of flooding and, by 2080, the UK’s urban drainage system could be overwhelmed by ‘runoff’ equivalent to the volume of up to 100 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
The potential impact that paved gardens could have on urban flooding in Edinburgh, Exeter, Manchester and London by 2050 and 2080 was examined by Dr David Kelly, associate professor in Heriot-Watt’s Water Academy.
Many gardens in the UK have been paved by homeowners who want low maintenance gardens or off-street parking. Covering traditional gardens with hard paving, and the subsequent loss of green vegetation, reduces the amount of rainfall that can be dealt with naturally and significantly increases the rate and volume of runoff flowing to surface water drainage systems.
Dr Kelly applied projected rainfall intensities for each of the four UK cities to simulated front gardens that reflect the trends for paving.
Calculating the runoff contribution from new and existing paved gardens will help planners and policy makers identify areas of risk in their town and city – and decide whether to call for homeowners to depave. Additionally, data of runoff from individual paved gardens could highlight the need for behaviour change, and help encourage homeowners to take action themselves by depaving their gardens and enhancing green vegetation.
Dr Kelly, assistant professor in Heriot-Watt University’s Water Institute said: “Domestic front gardens cover almost 30% of our urban space and play a vital role in managing surface water runoff in towns and cities.
“Existing urban drainage systems will be inadequate to cope with the level of increased runoff from paved front gardens. With runoff from all impermeable surfaces, including paved front gardens, likely to increase in future due to urban densification, the risk of urban flooding will increase unless substantial efforts are made to minimise runoff.”
Homeowners and policymakers need to focus on depaving gardens across the UK.
Dr Kelly’s research showed that the collective runoff by the 2080s from front gardens alone is expected to increase by substantial amounts during extreme storm events due to climate change.
“In Edinburgh, considering only gardens that are currently at least three-quarters paved, during just one storm, runoff could increase to 29,000m3 across the city, equivalent to 12 Olympic swimming pools, by 2080.”
“In London, the volume of runoff could increase up to as much as 278,000m3 (equivalent to 100 Olympic swimming pools). ”
“But, if all of these gardens were depaved and had zero impermeable cover, then the runoff could almost be eliminated, particularly if combined with enhanced green vegetation solutions.”
D.A.Kelly’s research paper; “Impact of paved front gardens on current and future urban flooding” can be found HERE
The full BBC Environment Parliamentary Report can be found HERE.
The reorganisation of government subsidies to local authorities, involve less monies being retained through council tax, whilst 100% of business rate is retained. This likely means that Boroughs with high levels of residential areas will be looking to “attract” business development ventures into their locality.
Castle Point appear no different having progressed the expansion of Charfleets Industrial Estate and the two business / industrial proposals alongside the large Morrisons expanse.
Under the guise of “good news” story telling and “jobs for locals” these proposals indicate Castle point Council’s use of Canvey Island as simply a financial opportunity.
The need for employment is no greater in the Island part of the borough, than the mainland. The strength of objection against housing development in the mainland would be miniscule compared with that if a new industrial site should be proposed. Instead the areas selected for business / industrial development, are exactly in the most difficult to gain access to parts of Castle Point!
It is no wonder why the general public find it difficult to understand why their councils seem so entrenched in developing their environments to beyond bursting point!
Government Ministers and Communities and Local Government Committees work closely together to bring about that very outcome.
Government Minister Greg Clark earlier this year corresponded with the Chairman of the committee stating inter alia:-
“I was pleased to note the Committee’s strong support for the principle of 100% business rates retention. The Committee’s report was very helpful and as I hope you will see, therefore, the consultation and call for evidence cover many of the issues you – and those giving evidence to your inquiry – have raised. This includes the principles that will guide decisions on the new grants and responsibilities to be devolved to local government, as well as how the design of the system provides the right level of incentive and reward to councils pursuing polices that drive additional growth in their areas. In addition, the consultation discusses options for managing risk from successful appeals, including how councils could work together to do so.”
It is no wonder that CPBC planning officers can confidently continue to plot developments on green belt and flood plain. In doing so they are able to go on to ignore those communities who partake in the process of protesting in various ways, comfortable in the knowledge that the deal has already been done!
With a healthy mixture of Blue Sky thinking and Nimbyism Castle Point Council have a long standing record of “regeneration planning” for Canvey Island. Aren’t we Lucky to have such thoughtful decision makers?
Within an out-of-date Planning document, dated 2007 we learn how our Borough Planners wishing to respond to an employment growth led scenario accept that Castle Point, being an out commuting area, may need to look for some local business development sites.
Reverting to their automatic tunnel-visioned position, they commissioned Report to support, and ONLY, investigate development sites on Canvey Island, where else?
Assuming that there is no space on the mainland, they can then justify making space on Canvey. Canvey green space is different to mainland green space, firstly it is less politically sensitive and secondly it is at or below sea level. Furthermore some of it, despite being exactly environmentally sensitive as neighbouring land, doesn’t have the all-important GB label attached to it, therefore far more suitable!
Castle Point Council have a policy that ignores applying the Sequential Test to the Borough.
Therefore with a brief to produce enough claptrap, bluff and bullshine the commissioned report, that 38,000 Canvey residents helped finance, publishes a document that helps protect mainland land and further urbanises Canvey. Extracts include:
Canvey Island is situated within the Thames Gateway Growth Area as a consequence of which there is a sophisticated- and developing- policy and strategic context and a huge array of strategic plans and documents that are helping to shape development and regeneration activity.
We have aimed to identify how the proposed development can respond to its setting by leveraging its unique features and converting them into opportunities for creating an environmental exemplar.
This type of occupier would possibly be attracted by Canvey Island’s locational characteristics (such as security and seclusion);
I am relieved they mention Canvey Island as the reader may think they were referring to some other Utopia!
Development at Canvey Island could help to reduce out-commuting, promote inward investment and advance the environmental objectives
Referring, in comparison to Basildon and Thurrock the Report stated “But both areas currently have relatively high levels of vacant floor space, whereas Castle Point has only 11,270 sq m, less than one tenth of either Basildon or Thurrock.”
Using standard measures, our analysis of Castle Point and Canvey Island provides a good case for intervention through specific employment initiatives and further investment. There are high levels of out-migration and commuting outside the area in order to access better opportunities and higher incomes. Reversing this existing pattern would help to retain younger, economically active people and drive up levels of prosperity.
CPBC and the authors appear to suggest that for Canvey Islanders to be leaving the area for employment may be a bad thing, whereas mainland residents are aspirationally more suited for the outside world.
However there is always that age old chestnut, future road improvement promises, to fall back on. Useful in an era of strict strategic austerity where funds are even unavailable for correcting the drainage issues that flooded out so many Canvey Island (and mainland) homes during 2013 and 2014!
The Report states:
as a precondition for achieving regeneration and additional development”. Several major road upgrades are mentioned as well as improvements in rail and bus networks and improved access to Canvey Island is identified as a longer term objective….. The use of the term ‘precondition’ relating to improved transport infrastructure is noteworthy. Not only is improved connectivity of Canvey to the wider sub-region important to sound spatial planning, it is also likely to be a factor influencing investment decisions by commercial developers and occupiers.
There is the answer to those of you that labelled Roscommon Way as the “Road to Nowhere,” it actually provides “improved connectivity of Canvey to the wider sub-region”!
This identification of land on Canvey Island to support urban intensification appears to be the “golden thread” that runs through Castle Point Council policy making.
In the case of the Thorney Bay development it demonstrates the “local” preference to protect unavailable mainland areas whilst a site within a Flood Risk zone and within the hazard ranges of the Calor Gas site is suitable for people to be investing in property.
Such is the background that will make any Local Plan making an extremely difficult process.
Maybe a reason why Castle Point Council appear keen to aspire to generate large industrial / business development growth on Canvey Island is contained in this paragraph from the Planning Advisory Service (PAS) document “Objectively Assessed Need and Housing Targets”;
“4.5 On balance, we would suggest that:
Future jobs belong above the line, because jobs impact on the demand for housing (many people want to live near their workplaces or new job opportunities), independent of any policy considerations. Albeit policy also plays a role, because job growth itself may be policy-led; and also because, as mentioned in the PPG, one of the reasons for locating housing close to jobs is to avoid unsustainable commuting.”
The PAS admit their advice note has no official status, but is based on existing good practise, their own experience and recommendations from Planning Inspectors.
Three large business developments the extension to Charfleets, Land South of Roscommon Way and the Northwick Road site opposite Morrisons are receiving encouragement.
An investment opportunity
The fact that the Northwick Road site was included within the out of date 1998 Local Plan, and remains undeveloped, may indicate the lack of actual business confidence in the area.
Despite the Nathaniel Litchfield Castle Point Employment and Retail Needs Assessment identifies that “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 and adopting measures to encourage their development and occupation.”
“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 housing growth / business growth distribution across the Borough will be examined by the Inspector at Examination of the Local Plan, as it was during the Core Strategy and was found wanting.
If our local authority officers are responsible for our daft New Local Plan, why would they risk making the same mistakes?
The Local Plan is proposing to increase the development of business to justify the proposals encouraging large housing development in a Flood Risk area.
Canvey Islanders have for years been re-assured that no risk of surface water flooding exists, the CPBC Surface Water Management Plan was celebrated at Cabinet as proof! Likewise Essex Highways identify little capacity issues on the roads at the south of the Borough. Whilst Canvey is the most densely urbanised part of the Borough, it is suggested the infrastructure is able to cope whilst it is apparent; the same aspirational highway improvement promises are carried forward from the 1998 Plan to the current new daft Local plan version, primary / junior school places are at a premium, the drainage system is at breaking point!
Likely we will end up as a Sustainable Urban Drainage experiment.
During the ill-fated Core Strategy process it was clear that political factors were responsible. The Local Plan process provides less clarity, the driving factors work in less apparent ways. Almost as if dark forces are at work, in the corridors and the committee rooms of Runnymede.
Whilst we were promised more openness and transparency, residents’ apathy allows the Local Plan process to edge slowly towards the distasteful final stages whilst decision makers hide behind policies that promote less sustainable policies.
It appears that Canvey Island Green Belt is expendable.