Tag Archives: Canvey Way

Castle Point Residents Ill-informed or Gullible? Green Belt Saved or still in Jeopardy?

Be In No Doubt Canvey Island residents stand to be affected by the development of Jotmans Farm, as much as the Jotmans Farm residents do themselves!

Once all phases of the Jotmans Farm proposal is completed there is a plan to construct a Roundabout to allow traffic from the 800 dwelling estate, onto Canvey Way!

sadlersjpeg

Not only that, but the much Heralded retail extension nearby Morrisons on Canvey Island with the promised Marks and Spencer / Waitrose food, B and M and Sports Direct outlets, will add more Motorists Misery, entering and leaving via the Waterside Farm Roundabout and the local areas!

Recently the Jotmans farm Green Belt campaigners have been left to “discover” that Persimmons have decided to challenge the Secretary of State’s decision in the High Court.

The Secretary of State’s decision, generally portrayed to Residents as being a signal that not only Jotmans Farm, but also Green Belt in General, was Saved from Development, was Released on the 21st April 2017.

And so we headed for the Polling Stations, on the 4th May for the Castle Point Borough Council Elections and the General Election on the 8th June.

Possibly, Unfortunately the Election Period of Purdah may play some legal significance.* See below.

Through an email released by the Jotmans Farm campaign group, we gather that they are being led to believe that none of the Lead Group of Castle Point councillors were aware, or felt it unimportant to make the information known to Residents, that High Court action threatened the Jotmans Farm Decision!

Castle Point Council are an “Interested Party” in the High Court action. One only has to refer to the Glebelands case to be aware that CPBC should be involved:

Case No: CO/10476/201

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

QUEEN’S BENCH DIVISION

ADMINISTRATIVE COURT

 Manchester Civil Justice Centre

Date: 17/01/2014

Before :

THE HON MR JUSTICE BLAKE

Between:

 

FOX LAND AND PROPERTY LIMITED

Claimant

 

– and –

 

 

SECRETARY OF STATE FOR COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

-and-

CASTLE POINT BOROUGH COUNCIL

 

 

 

Defendants

Would the Castle Point officers not have immediately informed the Lead councillors, could the councillors not have been Open and Transparent and informed their Residents, of the Legal move?

In the Echo newspaper it is reported that Jotmans farm residents clutch at the possibility that the Persimmon legal team, left it beyond the 6 weeks to challenge the Secretary of State’s decision. CPBC appear to leave this desperate hope hanging.

In our humble opinion we find it inconceivable, not only that the Persimmon legal team would be so inefficient, surely the challenge would have been dismissed should the 6 week time limit to challenge the decision have elapsed, but that some lead group Castle Point councillors to be unaware cpbc are an Interested Party in the High Court case!

CPBC are quoted in the Echo “As the Appeal is actually against the decision of the Secretary of State it is for the secretary of State to defend.” …..”councillors have been kept informed…”

We fear on behalf of Jotmans Farm and Canvey Island residents, on whom this development will impact upon, that the release date of the Secretary of State’s decision and the dates of the Local Elections may well have had some influence, as well as having some legal impact.

* “The term ‘purdah’ is in use across central and local government to describe the period of time immediately before elections or referendums when specific restrictions on the activity of civil servants are in place. The terms ‘pre-election period’ and ‘period of sensitivity’ are also used.
The pre-election ‘purdah’ period before general elections is not regulated by statute, but governed by conventions based largely on the Civil Service Code.
The pre-election period for the 8 June General Election will start on midnight on Friday 21 April 2017.
A ministerial statement gave details of the different ‘purdah’ periods for the different elections on 5 May 2016: The period of sensitivity preceding the local, mayoral and Police and Crime Commissioner elections starts on 14 April”
Source: House of Commons Library Published Friday, April 21, 2017

Christmas – a season of goodwill to all men… Even Thurrock Borough Council?

The aspirational 2nd access route between Canvey Island and the Manor Way Thurrock which would serve Canvey Island, not only a means of congestion relief, but more importantly, a much needed Emergency Relief Road has caused some consternation between our local authority and Thurrock Council.

Castle Point Council appear to have the issue lodged somewhere between being essential and of low-level option, see HERE.

Some confusion as to the research and evidencing of the “need” for this emergency route became apparent during the evidence given by Essex County Council’s Highways representative.

Castle Point council’s efforts to secure funds to provide the evidence of vehicle capacity levels and usage of Canvey way and the need for a 2nd access route was apparently successful back in April 2014, see HERE.

Hopefully some evidence of need will come forward prior to the CPBC Local Plan2016 Examination, so as to support the intended and / or approved Housing and Business developments.

Thurrock’s approach to cpbc’s Local Plan and Duty to Cooperate efforts can be considered to rest somewhere between being un-neighbourly to downright unsympathetic!

marleys_ghost_original-ill-john-leech

Scrooge visited by Marley’s ghost, who is forever cursed to wander the earth dragging a network of heavy chains. Original ill. John Leech

In answering the cpbc Local Plan’s Examining Inspector’s questions on the Duty to Cooperate, Thurrock responded;

“Thurrock Council officers have consistently set out Thurrock Council’s objections to a Canvey Island to Thurrock link road through the consultation workshops and representations on the Castle Point New Local Plan and in discussions on South Essex transport infrastructure as part of South Essex officer scoping of key strategic matters (January 2016). However there has been no specific or formal meetings with Castle Point Council regarding the issue of the North Thameside Link Road either with Thurrock Council members or officers under the Duty to Cooperate (a more detailed response is included at question 15).

Thurrock Council is unaware of any detailed or specific meetings concerning a proposition for a North Thameside Link Road. No representations were received by Thurrock Council from Castle Point on the Issues and Options consultation of the Thurrock Local Plan that took place in February to March 2016.

 There have been no formal meetings or requests for discussions between Thurrock officers and members with Castle Point Council officers or members regarding a North Thameside Link Road. Castle Point Council have not formally requested such discussions as part of the local plan process. Furthermore Thurrock Council has not formally discussed this road link with Essex County Council as the highway authority.

 The Chancellor in his Budget Statement of March 2016 included a reference to a Canvey Island third road, this was in the context of (paragraph 1.319) which stated, “…The government will look at the case for other projects, such as the Canvey Island Third road, to be taken forward”. The statement does not directly commit the Government to the funding of a third road to Canvey or that it is linked to the Manorway Road in Thurrock.

  It is Thurrock Council’s understanding that Essex County Council are working with Castle Point Council in seeking funding for a feasibility study to consider an outline business case for access options to Canvey island and not specifically the case for the North Thameside Link Road or any road linking Canvey Island to Thurrock.

With regard to the North Thameside Link Road Thurrock Council had made objections to this proposal with regard to:  Lack of evidence;  Deliverability and programming;  Impact on the highway network  Impact on the environment;  Failure to meet duty to cooperate on this matter. Castle Point Council have not discussed any of these matters with Thurrock Council.

Castle Point should carry out a comprehensive and robust assessment of housing supply and Green Belt to ensure that the housing target in the plan represents the most robust allocation and target.

Thurrock Council recommends that due to its opposition and the uncertainty regarding the feasibility and deliverability of a North Thameside Link Road that it should be removed from the Castle Point New Local Plan and Proposals Map.”

Hopefully the Inspector will view this as a little misunderstanding and suggest that Thurrock should extend a hand of friendship to Castle Point  in the light of the need to work together in the interests of developing out the Thames Gateway corridor.

After all, it is the Season of Goodwill to All Men!

The Canvey Green Belt Campaign would like to thank our reader for his continued support and wish One and All a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

Entrapment for Canvey? Castle Point Local Plan 2016 consultation health warning!

Amidst threats, encouragement and plain suspicion residents ponder responding to the Castle Point Local Plan 2016 Consultation.

The 8 page full colour brochure sent to residents as part of the information pack is in itself “interesting.”

Councillors voted to sign-off the latest version  of the Local Plan under the “veiled” threat from the council chief executive that;

“Any attempt to remove sites that is not supported by evidence will result in the Council’s approach to meeting its housing needs being found unsustainable.
This in turn could put the entire plan at significant risk with the Council being faced with the prospect of either a finding of unsoundness or having to withdraw yet another development plan document after examination.”

” Failure to produce a statutory development plan places the Council at risk of intervention by the Secretary of State. Where the Secretary of State thinks that a local planning authority are failing or omitting to do anything it is necessary for them to do in connection with the preparation, revision or adoption of a development plan document, he or she could intervene and produce a statutory development plan for the authority.”

The literature sent to residents contains clear indication of the rift between councillors and officers.

Officers have a duty to assist and guide councillors towards a Local Plan that reflects the achievable aspirations of residents. Of course they must have regard of National policy, housing need and constraints.

Councillors believed the constraints did not receive true weight, officers have a duty to use evidence to apply policy AND physical constraining factors into the Plan and evidence base.

The ambiguities in the Residents Consultation brochure, if nothing else, indicate a lack of commitment to the cause.

For instance;

Retention and protection of 2,734ha of Green Belt. The maps indicate just 2,687ha.

Housing, 2,000 new homes. The maps identify just 1,720 new homes!

Transport, proposals that improve the east-west connections on Canvey Island. Is this reference to the cycle path alongside Somnes Avenue?

If not then added to the aspired-to provision of a new road between Northwick Road and Corringham, the completion of the Roscommon Way, and the widening of Somnes Avenue, we are entering the realms of Fantasy Island!

Canvey Islanders and those residents bordering Jotmans Farm need also beware entrapment as they respond to the Local Plan 2016 consultation!

The “proposal” to dual the northern section of Canvey Way!

The scheming, because that is what it appears, to include this “carrot” was to be supported by the potential delivery of 800 new dwellings at Jotmans Farm.

A glance at the mainland map reveals no such Housing Development proposal! The proposal for a 265 dwelling development at Jotmans is currently awaiting the decision of the Secretary of State. There is no such, part-dualling of Canvey Way included as a condition in this current proposal, AND the housing proposal does not form part of the Local Plan 2016.

The delivery of infrastructure comes at a price. Jotmans residents may be tempted, indeed this brochure actually encourages them, to respond through the consultation, to agree the idea of the part-dualling of Canvey Way. Why else would the dualling be included as part of the Local Plan brochure’s aspirations for the mainland, rather than for Canvey?

We would suggest you would be signing Jotmans Farm’s “death warrant” as Green Field land!

Likewise Canvey residents responding demanding the illusive 3rd Road, a £ multi million investment.

Are we honestly expected to believe that a 3rd Road, plus Roscommon Way, plus Somnes Avenue AND Canvey Way widening will all be delivered within the 15 year lifetime of this Local Plan?

Perhaps Canvey Island’s (Para 4.7) “wider issues associated with the education and skills of residents” will prevent consultation responders from seeing the direction that aspirational responses may potentially allow officers to view the opinions of residents!

Respond to the consultation by stating no development unless better access to the Island, and you can be sure that large scale housing development is what you are supporting. Highway improvements are outside of Castle Point Council’s control!

14874722-Mousetrap-with-free-cheese-sign-entrapment-concept-Stock-Photo

The Canvey Green Belt Campaign encourages all Castle Point residents to respond to the Local Plan 2016 consultation, just be aware as to how a Planning Inspector may interpret your responses!

Following week 1 of the consultation, 7 persons have responded.

To view the full consultation evidence, responses and Local Plan2016 click on this link HERE.

Pic copyright: http://www.123rf.com

Canvey Way extra Lane – Music to Jotmans Farm Developer’s Ears?

How often have we heard “put infrastructure in place, ahead of planned housing and industrial development”?

This is how the “promise” of the extra lane / dualling of Canvey Way will appear and appeal to developers.

pic courtesy of Echo News

pic courtesy of Echo News

The “draft” New Local Plan purported to be an “officers plan” proposes a large industrial development alongside the existing Charfleets Estate,  the Dutch Village Green Belt development, development on Green Belt at the old Castle View School site, regeneration including Flats at the Canvey town centre, new dwellings at Thorney Bay plus the re-development at The Point!

Further to the Canvey Way widening is a short stretch of dualling from Waterside farm to just past the Sports Centre along Somnes Avenue.

Money is not set aside, but that may be another matter. A new road off of the Island is desirable, but according to Castle Point appointed consultants is unlikely to be supported by “value for money” evidence in support of it proceeding.

Roscommon Way remains incomplete and in all probability any improvement of Canvey Way will only speed traffic up to the next congestion point, going south, onto Canvey’s poorly laid out and narrow road network, or northwards to the Sadlers Farm junction.

That appears a lot of overdue infrastructure for little or no return.

However added to the mix is the Jotmans Farm proposal. “Officers” have proposed that in the region of 800 dwellings could be realised in the Local Plan.

Access to this site is of course limited, however should the initial phase of 265 dwellings be approved either at Appeal or through the New Local Plan, a new access road filtering onto Canvey way makes the remaining phase up to the 800 dwelling capacity far more achievable.
A new access point onto the publically funded widened Canvey Way would become economically viable to Persimmons as all that would be required for access onto Jotmans is a slip road entering the south bound lane of Canvey Way! Jotmans traffic would then join the flow onto Canvey, and using Waterside roundabout for either the journey to Sadlers farm or Benfleet station and beyond. The extra lane would help cope with the current Canvey traffic as well.

In future years we are likely to see far more lorry movements from the two hazardous sites, Calor and OIKOS as the pipelines age and deteriorate. The existing pipework already beneath Roscommon Way will likely prove impossible to gain access to.
Together this makes a compelling argument to achieve the widening of Canvey Way. In return the aspiration of the National Planning Policy framework for sustainable development could be achieved. At what cost to the residents of the south of the Borough is open to conjecture.

A balance on the potential returns will be made by decision makers, whether the potential that a new access road would bring in releasing Canvey land to the west, for industrial purpose, over the less costly Canvey Way widening which is claimed would ease congestion with the “bonus” of making the whole of the Jotmans proposal feasible.

My money, for what little it is worth, says that mid Local Plan there may be a widening of Canvey Way and then possibly 25 -50 years onwards, once the potential of the inner Thames Gateway area especially Thurrock and Basildon have reached their full potential, then west Canvey will become an economically viable proposition to business to warrant a new access road.

Something for us all to think carefully about.

The link to the Echo article announcing the Canvey way proposal can be located HERE.

 

Canvey – Thurrock link moves closer, Blinking Owl option looks a bargain at the price!

Well, Canvey Island residents are set for a Local Plan treat!

The new Local Plan proposes four, yes four, road infrastructure upgrades within the next seventeen years!
The most important may be the Somnes Avenue widening, although the full benefit of this may be somewhat limited due to the road design, positioning of the roundabout at Link Road and generally mean and cramped layout of the residential estates, resulting in the usual funnel effect of road design in the Borough and Canvey in particular.

Another very major proposal, we assume it replaces the dualling of Canvey Way proposed in the 1998 Local Plan, is the partial dualling of Canvey Way so as to allow access to the proposed Jotmans Farm development.
Unfortunately with this suggestion, we may be in for a delay as the developer considers that until 400 dwellings are finished, the road upgrade is un-necessary!
That should give the Sadlers Farm junction “improvement” a good testing!

The final phase of the Roscommon Way extension, thus giving the completed section some relevance, is also on the agenda.
Hopefully this will precede the Thorney Bay development giving the construction vehicles, along with those vehicles from Calor carrying the hazardous materials, a route away from the built up areas along Long Road etc.

Yesterday’s Echo reported on the Government releasing funding, £750,000 for the feasibility study on the proposed Canvey Island to Thurrock, North Thames Link Road.
Castle Point leader Pam Challis and Canvey County Councillor Ray Howard lobbied the Minister for Transport Patrick McLoughlin on the subject, at the unveiling of the new terminal building at Southend Airport.
There must have been an extremely amenable atmosphere at the ceremony to secure this amount of funding, as the Echo had reported on the previous meeting with the Minister and the Castle Point delegation, including our MP, cllr Blackwell, Howard and officers, at which it was agreed that funding would have to be found locally.
Quite a turnaround!

There remains some obstacles to be overcome as previously the Echo (25th Nov 2013) reported MP Rebecca Harris as saying “I am very pleased that Essex County Council and Thurrock Unitary Authority have dropped their opposition to the principle of a third road from the west of the island, which is a major step forward.”
However there appears to be a change in opinion by Thurrock Council as part of their submission to the Castle Point Local Plan reads “Thurrock Council strongly objects to the inclusion of a proposal for a Canvey Island to Thurrock link road also referred to as the North Thames Link Road.”

They go on to submit: “The North Thames Link Road proposal or reference to any Canvey Island–Manorway link road is not included in any key transport or infrastructure plan or strategy at regional or sub-regional level. There is no specific reference to the proposed link road included in the Essex Integrated County Strategy and it is not included in the Essex
Transport Strategy or in the current Essex Local Transport Plan. The link road is not included in the current TGSE Planning and Transport Strategy document and reference to the link road has been removed from the latest TGSE section of the SELEP Submission document.”

The Canvey Green Belt Campaign group have addressed this topic when we covered Castle Point Council’s consultant’s viability evidence document on the Canvey – Thurrock link road.
We noted then: “The reasoning in favour of the new road will have to rely on local evidence though, as the consultants contracted to produce the Employment and Retail Needs Assessment for the new Local Plan have already concluded 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.””

What is of interest is the costings.
Sadlers Farm attributed for £63,000,000 of public money.

In 2008 an approximate estimate for the North Thames link road, Canvey – Thurrock was given as, between £45,000,000 and £70,000,000. Given the ecologically significant route the link road may take, this may with inflation, increase.

As we mentioned the Local Plan proposes a partial dualling of Canvey Way to make access into the new Jotmans Farm development.
This has been estimated to cost in the region of £90,000,000.

The first improvement, so as to justify the original inflated costing of the Roscommon Way workings, is to complete the final phase. Cost estimate not to hand.

These three figures are interesting in the light of the continuing “Blinking Owl” saga.
Obstacles have been placed in the way of this initiative since it was first raised, whether it be Green Belt reasoning, ownership issues, access or alleged personality clashes.
However Essex County Council in their reasoning behind not supporting the scheme, estimate the cost to create access to the area, that local councillors suggest could support a “garden village,” would come to £60,000,000.

These are huge sums, but it is clear that the Blinking Owl access represents reasonable value compared with the other schemes the local authority are promoting which could in themselves cause more issues than present, especially around Waterside Farm.
The mainland Green Belt supporting Councillors certainly have some work and thinking to do.
But one cannot help thinking that if the Blinking Owl site was given fair consideration from day one of the plan making process a more strategic decision could have been made, rather than the hurried adjustments that are required if this Local Plan is to be found sound.
We Canvey residents can only wish them well, given the pressure being applied by developers, through the Local Plan process, on the Borough.
What can be relied upon is that these proposed infrastructure improvements are not for the benefit of the current Canvey residents alone.
There is a vast swathe of Canvey Green Belt land earmarked for housing and “business” development within the Local Plan.

Fight for Canvey’s 3rd Access Road, not popular with Thurrock neighbours. New infrastructure promised!

The potential 3rd access road for Canvey Island appears to have not been best received by Thurrock Councillors according to the Echo report here.
The long awaited 3rd road to be known as the North Thames Link Road, is linked to regeneration at the west Canvey industrial and business area and seen as a potential commuter relief road to relieve Sadlers Farm and Waterside Farm junctions.

However if as cllr Howard suggests in appeasing the Thurrock Council Leader “not everyone will use the road if it is built so I don’t know if it would be as busy as suggested” the road may be in some doubt as the cost / usage ratio will be critical for it’s implementation.

The new road is just one part of the infrastructure included within the new Local Plan (draft).
Other proposals include, a roundabout with segregated northbound carriageway (dualling northern part of Canvey Way) for the Jotmans Farm housing development, route improvements along the A129 between the Weir and Victoria House Corner, improved access arrangements at Woodmans Arms to ease congestion so as to facilitate the potential 430 new homes at Land East of Rayleigh Road Hadleigh, the widening of Somnes Avenue CI east bound only, prior to development at the former Castle View School CI, the Roscommon Way extension Phase 2 “will be extended across south Canvey” and finally the dualling of Canvey Way “there is therefore the opportunity to provide a dualled carriageway, potentially delivered in phases” as an alternative to the 3rd access road, the North Thames Link Road!
The Canvey Way dualling and the North Thames Link Road are qualified in the Local Plan by the explanation that “Both options (dualling of Canvey Way and the North Thames Link Road) would pass over open water and environmentally sensitive marshland, and significant investment is therefore required to secure their delivery.”

In contrast no road improvements are planned / necessary for the Dutch Village (Land East of Canvey Road) new housing development proposal other than a “promise” that “public transport waiting facilities and services must be improved on Canvey Road.”

The expectation is that new residents will be expected to cross Canvey Road’s dual carriageway, at its most busiest and fastest point to wait for buses travelling off the Island!

The extensive road network improvements are not matched by residents expectation of fulfillment. Promises appear to come easier than funding.