Canvey “Good News” Stories
Canvey Town Centre Regeneration!
Canvey Paddocks Redevelopment!
Canvey Seafront Regeneration!
It can be no coincidence that Canvey’s Paddocks, Seafront and Town Centre were the focus of the Castle Point council’s cabinet’s discussions, available to view either in the public gallery, on cpbc webcast or read, faithfully recorded in the Echo newspaper.
Ably presented as “good news” items by our leader cllr smith and supported by words of appreciation by doting cabinet members and lead group attendees alike.
For those more gullible, let us remember that the cpbc Local Plan is due for agreement for publication ahead of consultation during an upcoming council meeting scheduled for late November!
There is no doubt that these “good news” stories will make for an uplifting “Vision for the Future” chapter to the (hopefully?) new Local Plan2018, and even form some half convincing Policies.
What were we told during October’s cabinet meeting?
The Town Centre Regeneration, that aspired, within the 2016 withdrawn Local Plan, to;
“Increasing the proportion of local comparison spend retained within Canvey and Hadleigh Town Centres by delivering 8,350m2 of additional comparison floorspace in these locations; and Increasing the range of other economic and community activities in town centres”
Even though in the meantime cpbc have encouraged and permitted out of town centre, greenfield growth, on the Island that threatens the whole existence of our High Street and Town Centre businesses!
Canvey Seafront, reference was made within the 2016 withdrawn Local Plan to;
” the Government’s Tourism Strategy 2011 highlights the importance of tourism to the economy and is clear that good planning policies can support growth in the tourism sector.”
” the seafront area on Canvey is in need of regeneration. Despite some investment from the public sector and redevelopment of a key piece of vacant previously developed land, the area requires further improvements to the quality of the private and public realms, and the range of leisure services on offer. Due to the decline in these a front area, there are pressures emerging from convenience retailers to occupy units within the seafront parade. This would undermine the seafront area as a leisure and tourism destination and prevent its rejuvenation.”
The biggest regeneration of the seafront has been at the hands of local Canvey residents. Cleaning of the beaches and footpaths, decoration of the Sea Wall, supply and fitting of benches have transformed the seafront, thereby encouraging more visitors, allowing Castle Point council to identify the possibility of boosting its income from car parking charges!
Latching onto this new income stream prompted further investigation by cpbc into attempting to secure a proportion of the £40,000,000 “prize” money on offer via the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund.
Castle Point council set up a committee, naturally, to engage with Bell Phillips, architects “to undertake a master planning exercise to ensure the future vitality of Canvey Seafront.”
Whilst Canvey Island will never become a holiday resort, those days are long gone, it can hope to be a day-out attraction for many.
The problem with the seafront masterplan was that it appears to sketchy and lightweight without indicating hard evidence that employment would be created, which appears to be the main driver, reasonably enough, of the Government’s Coastal Communities funding scheme.
Perhaps cpbc identified the opportunity of securing funds that could bolster their finances whilst they planned and consulted on ideas that might slowly come to fruition.
As cllr cole queried, how long can it take and how expensive can it be, to install some toilets at the seafront?
What more needs saying about the Paddocks?
It appears that cpbc leader cllr smith has now become a tad reticent, having driven through the cabinet decision to demolish the community’s hall, but now less willing to reveal the Actual size of new hall, costings and sources of finances (Flats or Houses?) needed to produce a new building!
Canvey residents can store the Paddocks, Seafront and Town Centre issues, alongside those of the 3rd Access Road and Roscommon Way, as Aspirations, Fairy Tales and Disappointments perhaps.
However, these dreams will be enough to form a few policies and fill a few pages of the Castle Point Local Plan 2018 to help fool an Inspector that Canvey Island is the sustainable growth area to distribute Housing to help fulfil the Borough’s needs.
Echo Newspaper recent coverage of these issues can be read via the Links below;
Photograph: Castle Point Borough Council