Tag Archives: Cabinet

“A Really, Really Good News Story”! Street Market to act as “destination place” to draw more people to Canvey Town Centre!

Town Centre Master Plans

The validity of the Canvey Island Town Centre Master Plan, being signed off and used as evidence for the 2018 Local Plan, has not been questioned following the Cabinets decision to support a 3 year regeneration project consisting primarily of –  a street market!

The conclusion therefore now can only be, that there is no likelihood of the proposed comprehensive redevelopment of the Town Centre in the foreseeable future.

The delivery risks and obstacles that will have and impact of timescales have long been realised to be simply too great to be reliable or realistic.

Seemingly, there being no other realistic plan to regenerate the Hadleigh Town Centre, CPBCs Cabinet also supported a similar 3 year street market programme however the location of which is not known at this stage.

CPBCs aspirations for our Town Centres knows no bounds!

Town Centre

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Taking the Pee over the Paddocks? CPBC Chief Executive makes clear – we have No Plan!

So, what is it about “there are no plans for the Paddocks” that Canvey Islanders cannot understand?

Castle Point Council cabinet members and committee chairmen have each spoken out to reassure residents that there are NO plans. All to no avail, so now this rumour appears to have become such a sensitive issue that it has become important enough for none other than the cpbc chief executive to go to the Echo newspaper to also assure the community that “there are no plans for the Paddocks”

So what is behind these concerns that people are getting their knickers in a twist over?
The cpbc cabinet January meeting agreed to “note the opportunities afforded by a careful analysis of the wider site area”.

Also to “note the preparation of a detailed business case for a new community hall on the Paddocks site.”

Definitely NO plans mentioned there then.

download

“Fear not, for I have a plan!”

The agenda paperwork went onto state;  “The conclusion of feasibility work reveals that the Paddocks Community Centre building has reached the end of its design life and is beyond economic repair. Operationally, the facility has limited flexibility, does not meet modern hire requirements, is energy inefficient and costly to run and it suffers from periodic recurrent anti-social behaviour issues.

The feasibility work shows however that it is possible to construct a new community facility immediately to the south-east of the existing building.”

” it would be possible to re-configure the car parking layout across the whole site, to provide an indicative capacity of approximately 380 spaces.
This compares to an existing car parking capacity at the site of approximately 200 spaces.” – “Car parking managed by the Borough Council.”

The last of the “free” car parking spaces in Canvey Town Centre!

Beginning to sound a little more like a plan now though?

The Canvey Comes Alive! Regeneration project with its Masterplan for the Town Centre and surroundings had a different Vision just some 9 years ago;

Paddocks Quadrant
This area will be a hub for the community, based on the retained health centre and an improved Paddocks community building.
Improve and expand the existing Paddocks community building
Community uses in the Paddocks including arts and culture, and café at the ground floor
Retain and improve the setting of Cisca House
New residential blocks fronting onto Long Road
Green the environment by creating a parkland setting
Retain and enhance the memorial gardens
Improve the children’s play space
Create new green pedestrian connections through to Long Road and Furtherwick Road

It appears that the Paddocks was considered in a maintainable and restorable condition at the turn of the decade. Some will note the aspiration to improve the play area and that the residential Flats have come to fruition since.

However cpbc appear to have a record of failure where maintenance is concerned. The Paddocks is a 70’s building, so not yet 50 years old. And yet considered not economically viable to maintain!

Would a “New” Paddocks be self-maintaining? Or would it be like any other asset, only of value if it receives the upkeep required?

So, perhaps Islanders should investigate the meaning of the word “plan”;*

plan – Noun

a set of decisions about how to do something in the future:

a type of arrangement for financial investment:

a drawing of a building, town, area,

plan – Verb

to think about and decide what you are going to do or how you are going to do something:

to intend to do something or that an event or result should happen:

Possibly then we can deduce that the cabinet members, the committee chairman and the cpbc chief executive officer may have been using “plan” as a Verb rather than a Noun!

If this is to be the case I would have thought they could have insisted that the Echo should use a capital P, as in Planning Application, when we are told that there are no plans for the Paddocks!

We are easily confused and oh so Easily Misled, us Canvey Islanders!

sarcasm – Noun

the use of irony to mock or convey contempt:

*dictionary.cambridge.org

Dear Sajid, re: Intervention of 15 Local Plan Councils, didn’t realise it was a Race – it’s only been 10 years, Yours Castle Point Council!

We have to hope that the correspondence capabilities at cpbc Runnymede Towers, plus of course the delicate balance of political power in the council chamber, are such that Government intervention in the cpbc Local Plan process, as threatened by the Secretary of State Sajid Javid, will prove unnecessary following the cpbc response to gov. criticism.

On the other hand, how the emerging utopia, otherwise known as Sandy Bay, will be viewed by a Planning Inspector, should one be appointed through an intervention process, will be interesting to see.

The latest cpbc Local Plan vers.IV indicates Thorney Bay as scheduled to realise 600+ dwellings, Outline in Principle is considered to have already been granted for this including the condition that land is set aside for the completion of Roscommon Way, supposedly the answer to all of Canvey Island’s traffic congestion problems.

During the November cpbc cabinet meeting concerns, bordering on panic, were voiced by members that land required for Roscommon Way phase 2 may be being planned for development of the Park Homes development, namely Sandy Bay.

ThorneyBay

Sandy Bay – Roscommon Way route?

The Thorney Bay application for 600+ dwellings includes a Condition that reads;

“”Roscommon Way Phase 2 Extension Land” Means the land to be retained unfettered and free from obstruction and any ransom strip that might fetter the ability to develop the Roscommon Way Phase 2 Extension” 

However a visit to the cpbc Planning Portal indicates that a decision on the Planning Proposal has yet to be determined and that the Conditions, or S106 Agreement remains unsigned and in Draft form only.

Meaning that the consternation of the cpbc cabinet members over Roscommon Way land becoming a “ransom strip” may be outside of their powers of control!

So a Local Plan Government appointed intervening Planning Inspector, would arrive at Castle Point to discover that the only large site identified in the Local Plan vers.IV is within a 3A Flood Zone, part of a Critical Drainage Area, within the Hazard Range of a Top Tier COMAH site and is now outside of Planning Control, due to Thorney Bay having been granted, long ago, permission as a caravan site!

As Olly Murs might sing;

“Dear Sajid, please excuse my writing.
I can’t stop my hands from shaking
‘Cause I’m cold and alone tonight.
I miss you and nothing hurts like no Plan.
And no one understands what we went through.
It was short. It was sweet. We tried.

Park Homes being simply a progression from caravans thereby a new planning application being unnecessary according to cpbc.

Being outside Planning Control there is an unknown potential for the number of Park Homes should the venture be successful, 1000 -1,600 being a possibility.

How can this guess-timate be part of a Local Plan Housing Supply, an Inspector might ask given the unplanned for numbers of delivery.

Fortunately Park Homes are counted as Housing Supply. Perhaps a Local Plan exception can be made in the case of Castle Point Council so that they may leave the 5 Housing Supply as an open ended figure, to be confirmed by the Park Home owners!

Alarm bells should be ringing at the apparent stalling of the Kiln Road delivery adding pressure onto the lack of annual Housing Supply, meaning Sandy Bay becomes more and more important inclusion in the cpbc Annual Monitoring Reports.

So an Inspector would become aware that the sole large delivering “Housing” supply site is on Canvey Island in a most inappropriate area, delivering unsubstantiated numbers of dwellings, whilst all of the mainland sites are, in one way or another, contentious!

This will not look good IF the cpbc “Dear Sajid” letter is unconvincing!

The likelihood of intervention may yet be unlikely as the High Court has twice denied the proposed developer of Jotmans farm site permission to challenge the Secretary of State’s decision to disagree with the Planning Inspector’s Appeal decision.

One can only read into this that the allocation of Housing Supply sites are best done through the Local Plan process and that Local Plans are intended for local authorities to compile through the Town and Country Regulations.

As it appears that legal issues may require testing, the Government may be falling into the open can of worms with this Intervention initiative.

Maybe best if, even, Castle Point and the Sandy Bay developers are left to their own means!

 

Canvey Floods: “Quart into Pint Pot” Development + residents left in fear of the next rainfall

Essex County Council’s re-action, or lack of action prior to the Canvey flooding, was examined at last evening’s Scrutiny meeting.

“The search for a scapegoat is the easiest of all hunting expeditions.” ― Dwight D. Eisenhower

Their failings can be directly attributed to adding tothe cause of flood water entering residents homes during both the July 2014 and August 2013 events.

Information was revealed by ECC, much already suspected by residents, of lack of maintenance and clearing of gulleys and drains.

It was “unfortunate” that both rainstorms occurred at the weekends! Apparently standby contractor gulley cleaning crews come from outside of the area and had problems passing flooded roads!

There are 6,000 road gulleys on Canvey Island. Prior to the recent event Essex County Council were unaware of the total number!

The drainage on Canvey Island suffers from “deep seated” problems and is not simply an issue of maintenance.

It was admitted that Highways do not have enough funds and are having to prioritise their work load.

The implication here being that should there be further heavy rainfall in Essex, outside of Castle Point, without further funding, these clearing crews may be re-allocated to other areas during an emergency.

The Essex County representative also revealed problems that indicate that our own Castle Point Borough Council may themselves be culpable.

ECC working alongside Anglian Water discovered  that a Developer had connected a 150 mm diametre drainage pipe to an existing 600 mm drainage pipe!

The lack of building inspection work on Canvey Island, alongside the lack of flood prevention measures at development proposal approval stage, is a clear fault of the local authority.

blame

Yet so far there is no intention of the Scrutiny Committee  to examine CPBC’s own culpability leading up to the event. It appears that now that ECC have been appointed Lead Local Flood Authority, CPBC are exonerated!

There was a failure by CPBC to attempt to keep records of previous flooding.

CPBC suggested that the flat nature of Canvey’s landscape meant the likelihood of surface water flooding was less of an issue. In fact the recent ECC report suggests that the opposite was true!

These failings were input into the information being collated to produce the Surface Water Management Plan. This resulted in indicating Canvey Island, although a critical drainage area, had no potential surface water flooding “hot spots.”

Castle Point Cabinet accepted without question, despite councillors being aware of previous flooding issues, this document, and the rest was history.

Even the very first “Meeting of responsible Agencies” held on the 30th August following the July 2014 flood, to look into the problem, cause and failings that led to so many householders suffering losses and misery, found the need to work the “redevelopment of Thorney Bay” into the discussion.

There lies the main problem.

CPBC’s continued over development of Canvey Island, despite the area being low lying (below sea level), clay sub soil, generally flat, so no natural water run-off, reliant on pumps as a means of drainage, with a high water table, is the issue.

As long ago as 2005 defra published the “Making Space for Water” document with it’s recommendation to Land Use Planning.

Continually at local planning level in Castle Point little caution is placed on the likelihood of flooding from new development.

Since the Environment Agency were persuaded to view Canvey Island as a “special case” and allow CPBC the responsibility for determining the level of flood hazard and danger to new development, little objection has been allowed by the officers and development committee on flooding grounds.

The Government Office for Science Report on the Essex County Council’s Canvey Island flood review issued 7 Recommendations.

We would like to suggest an 8th Recommendation.

Essex County Council are preparing an approach to the Government for funding aid,  once the Canvey Island Urban Drainage Study is complete. This will take some considerable work. In the meantime residents will fear everytime rainfall is forecast.

Some unfortunate residents had only just dried out their homes following the August 2013 flood before they were flooded out again.

Apparently ECC suggest that some £1.5 million has been allocated for the immediate remedial work.

May I suggest that as an 8th Recommendation a subsidy is arranged for residents to put towards the purchase, and if necessary the fitting, of Anti flood Air Brick Covers.

This, alongside the gulley clearing, would give some immediate hope that water from a further heavy rainstorm may not enter their homes, whilst we wait for the more time and finance consuming remedial work required to our drainage and pumping system.

The Agencies concerned will produce a lot of paperwork and reports, Action is what is required. Action and assistance in protecting our homes.

This may convince the Insurance Industry that something practical is being done so as to make House Insurance viable on Canvey Island.

The other 7 Recommendations issued by the Government Office for Science are:

Recommendation 1 – A single person should have the authority and accountability to manage and coordinate effective flooding responses in vulnerable localities.

Recommendation 2 – An action plan should be drawn up to provide access to pumps during flooding to help ensure continuous pumping when required.

Recommendation 3 – A peer review of the drainage and pumping infrastructure needs to take place.

Recommendation 4 – An assessment should be made of the resilience of the local
population to flooding.

Recommendation 5 – The Met Office and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology should review the likelihood and impact of extreme weather events.

Recommendation 6 – The Environment Agency along with relevant agencies should provide an overview of areas where extreme rainfall events may result in significant local impact, in order to review safeguards in those places.

Recommendation 7 -The Natural Hazards Partnership should use the Canvey Island event as a case study in the surface water Hazard Impact Modelling initiative to enhance the development of more effective future alerting.

Green Belt, a fresh approach from Castle Point Cabinet? Or is time up for our Green Spaces?

A crucial report concerning the future of Castle Point’s Green Belt will be discussed, or noted, on Wednesday the 17th July 2013 at the Borough’s Cabinet meeting. The implications on the new Local Plan from the Glebelands Appeal decision are immense.
As with the Planning Inspector’s letter criticising the withdrawn Core Strategy there appears a certain amount of local political opinion influencing the interpretation of the Appeal decision within the Cabinet report.

The Officer writing the report suggests that the Appellant’s querying of the existence of a Green Belt in Castle Point was a key part of their case.
In effect this appears to have been an aside to the Appellants main aim to prove that special circumstances exist so as to allow development at Glebelands. From viewing some of the proceedings and reading the Appeal paperwork it was obvious that the claim that the Green Belt no longer existed in Castle Point was to serve as a distraction, with the effect of watering down the Council’s case.

To spin this at Cabinet as a local success story is an irrelevance.

The Inspector, in his report, referred to Flood Risk 3 times when considering the 5 year housing supply and the future development sites in the Borough. Interestingly the officer’s Cabinet report fails to mention this. In 2010 Scott Wilson published the Flood Risk Assessment as part of the evidence base for Castle Point’s Core Strategy, the Cabinet still do not adopt the cautionary approach to development on Canvey that is recommended within this document.

The Local Plan’s 5 year housing supply illustrated how Castle Point Cabinet elect to allocate housing development at a ratio in response to existing population distribution rather than a land based allocation. This will result in an even more urbanised area within the Flood Zone.
This is not good planning practise and non-compliant with the NPPF requisites.

The Planning Inspector considered that the Glebelands Green Belt function of preventing towns merging was not effective enough considering the amount of land on the Bowers Gifford side of the A130. The Secretary of State disagreed thus protecting Glebelands from development.

If the Inspectors decision was to prevail there would appear to be a possibility of the option of the Blinking Owl site coming into development rather than the more unpopular and “sensitive” sites that developers are suggesting.

The problem with that is that Persimmon may be able to use the same argument with the Jotmans site.

Should our local authority be forced to allocate Green belt for development? The Canvey Green Belt Campaign believe it is wrong for any areas to be released, not without an open discussion as to the necessity.
Some growth is required, but not above local need, if it means destroying green areas.
On Canvey the Authority point to areas of deprivation as a reason for housing development preferring to deny residents the facility to access to some open green space. How is this a means of alleviating deprivation?

Castle Point Council Leader cllr Pam Challis was brave to admit that mainland Green Belt needed to be given over to development during the Core Strategy process, in an Echo interview.
This, understandably, caused consternation amongst councillors and residents alike.

Now it appears there are signs that our Green Belt boundaries are likely to come under consideration during the new Local Plan process.
Councillor Dick has publically questioned whether if the Barrrett’s proposal for houses on Daws Heath/ Rayleigh Road were to come forward, would this change the game plan of Essex County Council regarding Deanes School.

Is this a hint of compromise?

No Councillors have as yet come forward with evidence to support limiting development to brown field land as being sufficient to support future growth.

This will result in residents showing their disagreement at the polling station, and may well, in the long run, prove detrimental towards Canvey Island as was the case during the Core Strategy!

Forbodings are obvious within the Appeal Report as to the levels of development.
The Inspector disputed the Council’s 5 year housing supply as having only 0.7 years worth of sound development.
Clearly the Council evidence was not presented in a convincing fashion at the Glebelands Appeal. Detail must be put into the presentation, or more realistic sites will be required.

Better still, a clear policy statement as to whether we are able to challenge the population projection levels, and an indication as to whether Localism will, by the time we get around to publishing a Local Plan allow Castle Point to set it’s own housing growth levels.

At the moment reliance falls onto the old disolved RSS housing levels plus past under achiement, described as grossly inadequate by the Inspector.

The dwellings at Thorney Bay are likely to be treated as those at Kings Park and may not be allowed to count as part of the housing supply.
Even though they house many people with some attracted from outside of the district!
A clear strategy will be needed on these sites from the Council when drawing up the Local Plan.

Only in last weeks Echo cllr Smith suggested the district suffered from congestion, in opposing the proposal by Thurrock’s MP to locate the new Thames crossing at Canvey Island. And yet it was cllr Smith who announced that Canvey was to be allocated 46% of the housing distribution in the 5 Year Housing Supply.
We are either too congested or in need of growth. Clarification is needed, and urgently, hopefully he will expand on this at the Cabinet meeting.

If there is to be restricted development, we need to plan for an ageing population, other areas operate under this so called draw back. We believe that an ageing population can offer the local economy some great benefits, as the retired community are far more likely to spend their income locally.

Does our Green Belt matter, well Canvey’s referendum left no doubt about our thoughts and wishes. The poll, held door to door, did not indicate a “silent majority” in favour of development as cllr Stanley suggested.
Rather the 99.13% in support of retaining the remaining Canvey Green Belt was clear indication of the local view.

It appears there may be more budget required for contracting further evidence work to support the Local Plan, suggesting a further drain on local resources. A budget was previously allocated, approx £250,000, but wording in the Cabinet Agenda reads: “it should be noted that progressing the New Local Plan will incur costs that will be detailed when a revised Local Development Scheme is presented to the Cabinet.”

Let us hope for a new approach to the Local Plan, that will be welcomed by residents, is soon to be forthcoming.
The Secretary of State has recently issued clear views of what our Government’s intentions are for protecting the Green Belt, if there is any untoward altering of Castle Point’s GB boundaries then there will be a price to be paid.
Inspiration from Councillors and Officers is required.

Castle Point Cabinet consider Green Belt, Deanes School and Daws Heath! But perhaps not seriously..

Within the Castle Point Council Cabinet Agenda, 19.06.13 are some hints that the recent leadership challenge may have given fresh impetus to the Local Plan process and an acceptance that the previous Core Strategy and current Local Plan strategy maybe flawed.
The new Cabinet, adjusted so as to support the Leader and cabinet principle councillors, give clues that they may be attempting to drive through less popular Green Belt policies.

Notes from the Agenda read: “A number of potential sites are being considered for the accommodation of housing in the period beyond 2019 as part of the preparation of the New Local Plan.
The majority of the sites being considered are within the
Appleton/Deanes/King John School Group area, including a proposal for 450 homes immediately to the north of The Deanes School site on land to the east of Rayleigh Road.”

“Given that the Council has yet to conclude its work on the New Local Plan and determine the future location of housing provision in Castle Point, the decision to close The Deanes School is premature, and should not be made at this time.
It should be a matter for review once the New Local Plan
has been finalised.”
Of course what they consider and what actually transpires has, over the years, proven to be different matters.
The County Council will be aware of the failures so far in the drawn out process of the Castle Point Local Plan. County will not wait for Castle Point to make up it’s mind, while supporting an under used school.
On Canvey the schools issue has been used to support the Council’s wish to promote new development.
It would be inconsistent for them to take the opposite view where Deanes School is concerned.
However that is what has consistently been the policy regarding development at Daws Heath, and yet the single named site in the Cabinet Agenda names the Daws Heath east of Rayleigh Road site as supposedly under consideration as the potential saviour of Deanes School.
It is well known Castle Point Council hold the residents of Daws Heath in great esteem. The likelihood of them naming this site for development would require a u-turn in strategy.
The site was originally assessed as being the most sustainable development area in the Borough but saved from inclusion in the Core Strategy housing list, a reconsideration with the Deanes School in mind would come as a shock to local residents.
Is the saving of Deanes School a price worth paying?
The latest Census figures show just a 0.8% increase in population for the Mainland part of Castle Point over the last 10 years.
With an aging population it should not come as a surprise that facilities closing, such as schools, may be the result of lower intakes from fewer school aged residents.
So far our Councillors have shown a reluctance to allocate Mainland Green Belt land for housing. The Cabinet Agenda indicates they are “considering” a change of strategy.
No doubt, if Mainland Green Belt is eventually and reluctantly indicated for housing development, Canvey Green Belt sites will be indicated and promoted ahead.
It would be fair to assume that the policy of naming and covering all possibilities and alternatives amounts to the usual local “knee-jerk” politics searching for a way out of the troubles and problems facing the Local Plan?

Any links between CPBC Cabinet Membership selection, UKIP result and the Glebelands Appeal result?

The Castle Point Borough Council meet tonight, Wednesday 15th May, to appoint the members who will hold the senior positions.
The apponted Councillors especially the Cabinet members and the Development Contol members will have the biggest influence on the new Local Plan.
Clearly the housing allocation to be included in the Plan will threaten the Borough’s Green Belt.
Cllr Sharp has hinted that he is uneasy at the site selection process within the Core Strategy and the new Local Plan.
Will the recent 14-11 result of the Conservative Leading Group Leadership election
be reflected in the selection of the Cabinet membership?
The Mainland County Council Election vote to some extent highlighted the unrest amongst residents on the particular threat to their Green Belt by development, in that two senior Councillors were beaten by the UKIP candidates.
Another factor that will have enormous repurcussions, depending on the result, is the Glebelands development Appeal.
The result of the Appeal is due to be announced by the SoS Eric Pickles on the 16th May, tomorrow,or before.
Surely the result has yet to be decided.
Surely CPBC do not have the power or influence that could delay the announcement until after the appointments in tonights Full Council meeting!
It would indeed look suspicious if Cabinet membership was decided just the very evening before an upheld Appeal decision was announced.
All Green Belt campaigners eyes are focussed on the make up of the Cabinet and the result of the Glebelands Appeal.