It might be Funny, if it wasn’t Canvey Island!
More Canvey Development will be the Agenda, for the Castle Point planning committee this week. This time demolish garages and replace with 4 houses at Church Close, Canvey.
This time around the Development Applicant is Castle Point Borough Council themselves!
Fair enough, the Borough needs Housing and we have the Chief Planner to please, if Intervention is to be avoided. However the context may be worthy of some consideration in this instance.
Church Close, Canvey Island, falls within the “Canvey Big Local” area, the area allotted £1,000,000 as an area in west Canvey with social and deprivation issues.
“The area does suffer from some levels of deprivation with approximately 38% of children under 16 being classed as ‘in poverty’ compared to 18% on average for both Castle Point and Essex and 5.9% of households within the area deemed to be in fuel poverty.
Residents have reported that a key issue for them is crime and antisocial behaviour.”
The thought did occur that the land the garages are sited on might have been better used as an area the “Canvey Big Local” scheme might have been able to utilise for the betterment of the youth of the area rather than Housing, especially as the garages are little used and must bring in little income to the local authority.
But Housing Numbers for the Borough is the tunnel vision focus and Canvey must take more is the order of the day!
Taking this focus forward cpbc case officer comments;
“The application site is located within Flood Zone 3a, which has a high probability of flooding.
Looking at the whole of Castle Point District it would seem that there are areas within Flood Zone 1 that could accommodate this form of development. However, given that the only areas of Flood Zone 1 in the district are on the “mainland” part, such an approach would direct all new development towards Benfleet and Hadleigh.
Canvey is a self-contained community with its own housing needs and directing all new development towards Benfleet and Hadleigh could have an adverse impact on Canvey socially and economically.
Furthermore, a need for housing on Canvey cannot be met by building around Benfleet and Hadleigh due to other constraints such as the Green Belt.
Taking these factors into account it is considered that the ‘catchment’ for the sequential test ought to be drawn around the boundaries of Canvey Island, the whole of which is within Flood Zone 3, so there are no reasonably available sites appropriate for the proposed development in areas with a lower probability of flooding, and the application is considered to pass the sequential test.”
Some might suggest a little bit of a “giveaway” that council members have at some stage exerted their own preferred policy over officers’ ethical planning guidance.
Bordering on the comical is the case officer’s attempts to justify his/her decision Advice for committee members!
“The Flood Risk Assessment contains structural calculations at Appendix B, however, notwithstanding the illegible handwriting, it does not appear that these contain a non-technical summary explaining what the calculations demonstrate.
If members decide to grant planning permission, a condition is necessary to require the developer to submit demonstration that that the buildings will be able to withstand the hydrostatic and hydrodynamic pressures likely to act upon them in modelled flood events.”
“The proposed surface water drainage strategy states that attenuated discharge will take place to the existing surface water drainage infrastructure. The planning authority are aware that ground conditions in the area (clay soils) are fairly impermeable which means that infiltration techniques are unlikely to work effectively. There are no surface water bodies on or in the vicinity of the site which could receive surface water from the proposed development and the drainage of surface water to the surface water sewer would therefore seem to be an appropriate option.
The site is not considered to be at risk of flooding from other sources except from surface water. This form of flooding can be a problem on Canvey Island, although the site is not highlighted as a particular hot spot.
The proposed discharge rate is, however, not known, and there is no demonstration of permission in principle from the relevant water authority to connect to the surface water drainage infrastructure”
In normal circumstances one would expect finalised plans for flooding to be included in the proposal, especially as cpbc are the applicant and supposedly being fully experienced and informed of such local matters, rather than allowing plans to follow as a Condition!
All looking very Professional so far then?
So, being in a socially deprived area, what form of Housing would improve matters?
Certainly not Housing that offers;
“There are no first floor windows in the rear or other side elevations.
The proposed dwellings would be located 1m from the rear boundaries of the existing properties”
Will this standard of Housing do anything to alleviate the socio economical blight of the area?
And if this wasn’t all embarrassing enough, remember in this case Castle Point Council themselves are the Applicant, the proposal’s paperwork uses the withdrawn and ridiculed 2010 Core Strategy as evidence to support this application;
“The Castle Point Borough Council Core Strategy outlines a housing requirement of 5,000 new homes between April 2001 and March 2026. Most of the requirements can be meet by housing provision in the urban area, particularly town centres, main route corridors and other undeveloped land. However, it is not considered possible to meet the entire boroughs housing needs from the above sources, particularly on Canvey Island.
The proposed site although not in an allocated development area is surrounding by housing and lies equidistant to the proposed development areas of ‘East of Canvey Road’, Castle View School’ and ‘Canvey Town Centre’. The site can be considered a windfall site.”
The Core Strategy document is something even cpbc refer to as: “It should be noted that the Submission Core Strategy does not represent Council policy.”
Stand by for more committee member Hand Ringing tomorrow as they reluctantly give their Approval!
No, You Really Could Not Make It Up!