Tag Archives: Castle Point Borough Council

Thorney Bay, change of Use Over-Heard on the Canvey Grapevine! CPBC Local Plan issues?

It started as a Whisper, became a Rumour and has now reached Conjecture level on the Canvey Grapevine!

Thorney Bay, the apparent answer to the Castle Point Council’s Local Plan dreams, has become the subject of unconfirmed speculation. With the humiliating Withdrawal of the cpbc Core Strategy in 2011, it was considered “timely” by cpbc officers that Thorney Bay, despite it being sited within the Hazard range of Calor Gas and within a 3A Flood Zone, should come forward to provide a Housing Development of some 600 dwellings plus sheltered accommodation.

Thorney Bay then became the Backbone, the largest single development site, of Castle Point council’s daft Local Plan and surviving the GB sites cull to remain as the spine of the Local Plan2016, 5 year Housing Supply!

The Thorney Bay proposal passed in Principle by the cpbc development committee, whilst in the following months / years a 1st Phase proposal has gained Health and Safety Executive’s permission and is apparently overcoming the Flooding Objections to the fundamental requirements of the Environment Agency and the ecc Lead Local Flood Authority.

Now then; Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once!

A little Bird has told me, and I must say there is little foundation, so to speak, for this to be considered information, but it could be that the development may not be going much further!

To me this would not be a surprise, I would have thought a more likely idea would be for the developer to follow the Kings Park, and remove the static caravans and replace with Park Homes.

The build cost would be far less, the speed of development would be probably twice as quick and success of the venture equally, if not more so, financially successful as Kings Park!

What’s to lose?

Park Homes and Luxury Lodges can easily reach an asking price of £300,000, the site is opposite Thorney Bay Road, and residents would likely be of an age not too concerned with, the daily commute.

Now that the Canvey Bay Watch team have created such an attractive area of the promenade and beach front, this forms another selling point for potential Park Home buyers. I would have thought that the Canvey Bay Watch team should soon be knocking on the site owner’s door for financial support, should this development rumour come to fruition!

Thorney Bay 1

Photograph courtesy: Dave Harvey

The question for cpbc is whether these Park Homes should count towards the official Housing Supply.

On one hand these Park Homes “are suitable for residential use throughout the year and are built to last at least 50 years”! (Omar park and leisure homes). Although whether 50 years lifespan is considered permanent is challengeable, however, their success is, and there are people desiring to own them.

The Planning Inspector examining the Glebelands, Thundersley, Appeal did not consider the numbers at Kings Park should qualify for inclusion in building numbers, but that may have been due to cpbc being unable to clarify how many caravans were replaced by Park Homes.

We do know that of the caravans at Thorney Bay the Inspector concluded;

“But that does not necessarily mean that the Households now occupying caravans would have chosen that type of accommodation, in preference to bricks and mortar.”

Well, “bricks and mortar” these Park Homes ain’t! But the appeal of Park Home life is generally popular across the UK, so if people are choosing to buy into this type of accommodation, then there is an argument for these dwellings to be included into the Canvey Island Housing Supply count.

With our “Broken Housing Market” leading to the apparent need to revisit Pre-Fabricated Housing, these Park Homes may well have some scope.

Whether or not any Affordable Home supply can be squeezed into the equation will be upto the negotiating abilities of cpbc, so we won’t hold our breath on that one!

What could be expected is for some Canvey Island “bricks and mortar” dwellings to become available, for local young families hoping to get on the property ladder, as older Canvey residents move into the Park Homes.

It may be doubtful , should the development come into fruition, whether the Housing Need in the mainland part of the Borough be part satisfied, as it will be difficult to argue that this type of dwelling satisfies the cross market “bricks and mortar” Housing Need. In fact it probably increases the pressure on mainland site supply.

I remind you this is only speculation.

As a reference, below, I include part of the text of the cpbc Report on Residential use of Caravan and Park Home Sites 2013.

“It is clear from both Census data and from Council Tax data that an increase in the availability of caravans for residential use resulted in an increased housing supply of the order of 800 homes in Castle Point in the period from 2001 to 2011. This increase was largely as a result of the change of use of Kings Park and Thorney Bay Caravan Parks from holiday use to residential use.”

“To date, the Council has only included those caravans registering for Council Tax at Kings Park within the housing figures for the period 2001 to 2011. However, given that caravans at Thorney Bay were included as homes within the Census 2011 outcomes, and this will be reflected in population and household data moving forward, it is appropriate that the housing supply figures for the period 2001 to 2011 are appropriately adjusted to include these homes also.”

“The change of use of static caravans from holiday accommodation to residential accommodation has made a significant contribution to housing provision over the last decade (2001 to 2011). Approximately, 800 additional caravans moved into permanent residential use over this time period, primarily on the Kings Park and Thorney Bay sites. This is supported by evidence from the Census and from Council Tax records.”

“However, whilst some of this provision has contributed positively towards the community, in particular at Kings Park, the nature of the provision at Thorney Bay has had negative socioeconomic consequences both for the surrounding community and for the vulnerable families who have found themselves living at the site.”

“Due to these issues there is support for proposals to redevelop a significant proportion of the site for traditional homes. However, it is the intention of the owner to retain a smaller caravan park of 300 caravans for residential use towards the west of the existing site.”

“Assuming that the proposals to redevelop this site as proposed for traditional housing are delivered in full over the next 10 years, then it is unlikely that the number of households living in caravans in Castle Point will increase further between 2011 and 2021. Indeed, as a result of the development of traditional housing over this period, it is expected that the proportion of households living in caravans will reduce.”

“However, should the Thorney Bay site not be redeveloped as proposed, then there is the potential for a further 800 caravans moving from transient use into permanent residential use. This will increase further the number of households living in caravans, and the associated socio-economic issues arising from this. It is therefore imperative that the Council work alongside the site owners to encourage and facilitate the redevelopment of this site in an appropriate timeframe.”

Video copyright BBC

CPBC reverts to 1998 Local Plan “Opportunity Knocks”Again for Canvey to start our own Plan?

For those Castle Point Residents that are unaware of, or who have not received this communiqué, here is the official notice of withdrawal of the Local Plan2016, due to the failure of cpbc in their legal obligation of the Duty to Cooperate with Neighbouring local authorities.

castlepoint

Regeneration & Neighbourhoods
Council Offices,
Kiln Road,
Thundersley,
Benfleet,
Essex SS7 1TF
Tel: 01268 882200
Fax: 01268 882382
Date: 4th April 2017
Our Reference: SAR/PP/IE/020
NOTICE OF WITHDRAWN PLAN
PLANNING AND COMPULSORY PURCHASE ACT 2004
TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING (LOCAL PLANNING) (ENGLAND) REGULATIONS 2012
CASTLE POINT BOROUGH COUNCIL – NEW LOCAL PLAN 2016
In accordance with Section 22 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, and Regulation 27 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012, Castle Point Borough Council decided to withdraw the Castle Point New Local Plan 2016 on 29th March 2017.
Yours faithfully,
Local Plan & Regeneration Adviser
01268 882220 (Direct line)
This letter of Local Plan withdrawal effectively means that Castle Point Council’s current Local Plan is again the saved 1998 Local Plan! The outstanding work by cpbc and the other Neighbouring local authorities is expected to require approximately 2 years to complete.
This appears to create an opportunity for Canvey Island Town Council to revisit the issue of creating a Neighbourhood Plan for the Island Residents.
There are many good points in the cpbc1998 Local Plan such as the improvement of the road infrastructure including a new access road, and protection of Green Belt, whilst recognising the constraints on development of Flood Risk, Infrastructure, COMAH sites and Green Belt.
It may be possible to encompass policies in a Canvey Island Neighbourhood Plan that comply with the castle point adopted 1998 Local Plan and the NPPF, that would in turn lead to a Positive and Acceptable document for Canvey Island’s future.
A document that prioritise residents safety and well being, equality and quality of life, and most importantly include an appraisal of what constitutes appropriate development.
The Canvey Green Belt Campaign group have never hinted nor expressed a view that a Neighbourhood Plan could stop all development on Canvey Island.
What we have consistently stressed is that any development on Canvey should be appropriate, and limited in its delivery, in line with the need to maintain the population at current levels or lower given the Risk of flooding and the Hazardous Industries.
The current situation, without any Canvey Island Plan, means in effect, that practically all development on Canvey Island is given approval so as to alleviate Castle Point Borough’s chronic lack of Housing delivery.
A Canvey Island Neighbourhood Plan would stand as a Positive Document, regardless of its completion, for an Inspector to view as a reasonable and effective Plan for Canvey’s future, when weighed alongside the Next Local Plan devised by Castle Point council.
A Neighbourhood Plan that could be actively supported by Canvey Islanders.
In its previous considerations of a Neighbourhood Plan many points relevant then (August 2016) are irrelevant now, such as;
 all development sites already in the Draft 2016 Local Plan for Canvey Island would have to be carried forward into the Neighbourhood Plan;
failure of the cpbc Local Plan will give the Borough Council six months to submit a new Plan;
new planning laws state that any development proposed to be built on a flood plain would be sent to Government Ministers for consideration;
As it stands the previous motion put to Canvey Island Town Council to consider a Neighbourhood Plan was defeated, Unanimously by both political groups 8 votes – 0 votes.
Time for a Rethink and Getting Stuck In?
The Minutes of the Canvey Island Town Council’s debate on a Neighbourhood Plan can be viewed HERE

Local Plan, Neighbourhood Plan, No Plan, Leaves all of Castle Point at Risk?

It is common knowledge that Canvey Island town council (citc) was requested by the Canvey Green Belt Campaign group to undertake a Neighbourhood Plan for the Island.

Following some investigative work by the Town Clerk the initiative was democratically rejected by the full council.

train crash

We remain convinced that a Neighbourhood Plan would, in the distinct possibility that the Borough’s Local Plan2016 were to hit the barriers, act as a valuable document indicating the areas and buildings worthy of protection, indicating clearly the Constraining factors limiting further development and creating a safer community, for the Planning Inspector to use as a positive democratic indicator of Canvey Island residents vision for our Island.

The Government website states

“Neighbourhood planning enables communities to play a much stronger role in shaping the areas in which they live and work and in supporting new development proposals. This is because unlike the parish, village or town plans that communities may have prepared, a neighbourhood plan forms part of the development plan and sits alongside the Local Plan prepared by the local planning authority. Decisions on planning applications will be made using both the Local Plan and the neighbourhood plan, and any other material considerations.”

“Neighbourhood planning can inspire local people and businesses to consider other ways to improve their neighbourhood than through the development and use of land. They may identify specific action or policies to deliver these improvements. Wider community aspirations than those relating to development and use of land can be included in a neighbourhood plan” 

The “other material considerations” are crucial to our area!

They are not best supported through any Local Plan alone!

With this in mind and given the criticism from mainland sources, towards citc for not progressing with a Neighbourhood Plan, we must wonder why no mention nor proposal for a Neighbourhood Plan has emerged in any single area of the Castle Point mainland!

Given that mainland areas have been most vociferous in their objections to proposals for development and given the supposedly undemocratic (allegedly officer led) development of a Local Plan from the Core Strategy days, it is a wonder that one or another group has not been formed to process a mainland Neighbourhood Plan.

This may be the result of One version of the Local Plan indicating one area of mainland Green Belt being suitable for Housing Development, whilst an emerging Plan indicating otherwise.

One can only assume that mainland residents are either content with the current Local Plan2016 having faith in their councillors, or believe the LP2016 will fail meaning it possible, or likely, that the previous draft Local Plan (2014 version?) will prevail.

This may indicate residents total faith in their councillors or may raise the question of what the value is in Localism and the Neighbourhood Plan process, if any at all!

What Canvey Islanders can be sure of is the need to defend Canvey against unreasonable development, because at the moment both Housing and Business Development is being approved, regardless of Constraints. We believe a Neighbourhood Plan, whether in agreement or conflict of the Local Plan2016, and at whatever stage of production, is a means of documenting Canvey’s issues.

To have a document in the form of an emerging Neighbourhood Plan would be invaluable to an Inspector to consider against a possibly UnSound Local Plan!

To rely on verbal evidence during Examination is a Risk. Indeed an Inspector may limit participation in the Examination in Public only to residents and groups who have previously submitted written evidence through the consultation process.

Looking at the lack of submissions on behalf of Canvey Island this could be a problem.

As indeed it could be for all of Castle Point as the Local Plan, whichever version is Examined, will be Supported by the Evidence of CPBC Officers, and in many areas this may be unforthcoming!

The extent of the considerations of Canvey Island town council into the undertaking of a Neighbourhood plan are recorded in the citc minutes for 15th August 2016;

CO/065/16 – TO CONSIDER AND AGREE PREPARING A NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN OR NEIGHBOURHOOD DEVELOPMENT ORDER Cllr M. Tucker advised members that he would read through the report, inviting members to ask questions at each stage.

Cllr T. Belford enquired whether any members of the Neighbourhood Plan Working Group set up to investigate the merits of having a plan were present to give a report of their findings.

Cllr M. Tucker advised that the findings were detailed in the report provided.  Cllr M Tucker proceeded to read the report to members.

Cllr M. Tucker asked the Town Clerk to provide information on the investigations carried out on the appointment of Neighbourhood Plan Co-ordinators.  The Town Clerk advised members that she had carried out investigations into other Parish and Town Council’s who had resolved to progress a Neighbourhood Plan and found that many had appointed Planning Co-ordinators to write the policies.  She explained that an average hourly rate of £12.00 per hour was advertised for appointments and that she had been advised by one Parish Council that during the busier periods of policy writing, the appointment had been on a full time basis.

Cllr M Tucker proceeded to continue to read the report to members.

Cllr M. Tucker invited questions.

Cllr T Belford commented that he had failed to understand that anything that was detailed in the existing Local Plan or proposed Plan must remain and cannot be conflicted.  Cllr T Belford added that he had thought that by completing a Neighbourhood Plan it would enable the Town Council to make representation to the Borough Council to say that it thought that it had not designated development properly and could suggest where development should be.  He added that having reviewed the paperwork he did not believe that completing a Neighbourhood Plan would achieve what he thought it could have.  Cllr T. Belford apologised to Mr Bracci as he had bought it to the Council to consider, explaining that he had misunderstood what a Neighbourhood Plan could achieve.

Cllr D Blackwell commented that everyone he had spoken with believed that by progressing a Neighbourhood Plan it would stop development.  He explained that Government statistics show that Parish and Town Councils that have progressed Neighbourhood Plans have, on average, increased development by 10% in their area which is not what the residents of Canvey Island want.  Cllr Blackwell commented that he had spoken with Steve Rogers the Head of Regeneration and Neighbourhoods at Castle Point Borough Council and he had said that all development sites already in the Draft 2016 Local Plan for Canvey Island would have to be carried forward into the Neighbourhood Plan.

Cllr D. Blackwell commented that in his opinion the Government inspector will review the Draft 2016 Local Plan and it will be rejected.  He explained that they will then give the Borough Council six months to submit a new Plan.  He commented that in his opinion, there will be a public enquiry and when the Inspector launches this it will be a great opportunity for the residents of Canvey Island to give evidence of the constraints faced on Canvey Island including COMAH sites, flooding and the fact that it has traffic problems.  He added that he thinks there is a very strong case to challenge the delivery of development on Canvey Island even though it has been designated in the Draft 2016 Local Plan.

Cllr D. Blackwell advised that he had looked at Government Guidelines which state that you should not build on flood risk 3 areas until all other options had been exhausted.

Cllr D. Blackwell added that most other Parish Councils that have introduced Neighbourhood Plans are rural and have plenty of land surrounding them where they can take more housing, however, Canvey Island is an urban council with lots of constraints.  Cllr D Blackwell commented that he agreed with Cllr T. Belford recommended that the Town Council should not proceed to progress a Neighbourhood Plan.

Cllr M. Tucker commented that he understood the concerns regarding the Dutch Village site, however, advised that new planning laws state that any development proposed to be built on a flood plain would be sent Government Ministers for consideration and also stated that any development already designated in the Local Plan must be considered as having outline planning permission.

Cllr J Blissett commented that she understood that the Dutch Village site had been removed from the Draft 2016 Local Plan.  Cllr M. Tucker commented that the site had been taken out to balance development across the Borough.

Cllr D. Blackwell commented that when the Draft 2016 Local Plan is rejected and unless the Borough Council can come up with a feasible plan, the Government will step in and deliver a Plan and there will be no control over the designation.

Cllr J. Blissett enquired about whether development on a flood plain is preferred over development on greenbelt sites in Benfleet.

Cllr D. Blackwell advised that all government guidance says that building on a flood risk areas should be the last possible option.

Cllr B. Campagna recommended that the Town Council should formulate a representation to present to the Inspector at the time of the public enquiry.

Cllr D. Blackwell explained that the Government Inspector will work with officers initially to discuss the Local Plan and will then look at all the evidence of the constraints that are in place on Canvey Island.

Cllr D. Blackwell advised that any person that wishes to have a say at the public enquiry must lodge their objection to that Draft 2016 Local Plan to enable them to speak at that enquiry.

Cllr M. Tucker advised members of the Clerks RECOMMENDATION.

Cllr T. Belford commented that this recommendation should only be considered if the Council agree to take this forward.

Cllr J. Anderson commented that the information detailed in the report provided is sufficient to make an informed decision and that there should be no need for further investigation in this matter with the RCCE and DCLG.

Cllr M. Tucker asked members for their RECOMMENDATION.

Cllr D Blackwell RECOMMENDED that following investigation into the merits of progressing Neighbourhood Plan that the Town Council go no further with the Neighbourhood Plan.

Cllr B Campagna seconded this RECOMMENDATION.  Cllr M. Tucker asked members to vote on this RECOMMENDATION with a show of hands.

Members voted and unanimously RESOLVED not to proceed to progress with a Neighbourhood Plan.

This month’s Castle Point Council meeting, on the 29th March, is expected to give consideration of a suitable response to the Planning Inspector’s criticisms of the Local Plan2016 and the failure of cpbc in its Duty to Cooperate.

 

 

The Gloves are Off, the Duty to Cooperate works both Ways! Castle Point – Thames Gateway!

“Seconds Out – Round 1” – Would have been an appropriate opening introduction to the Castle Point examination into their Local Plan Duty to Cooperate process.

The meeting was attended by 5 of the local authority neighbours, half a dozen councillors, a handful of residents and a group of developer’s representatives.

It was noticeable that the Thurrock council representative adopted a particularly aggressive position in pointing out apparent flaws in the cooperation work undertaken by cpbc.

Claims were made that meetings to discuss areas such as a joint local plan for the Thames Gateway area had been undertaken, and claims were disputed as being un-evidenced.

CPBC officer Rogers, it must be recognised, acquitted himself professionally and was able to support his statements and generally produce the necessary evidence to support his points-made as and when required.

Whether or not enough cooperation has been undertaken will be the inspector’s decision alone, the agreement and success of cooperation is not necessarily the deciding factor. Given the levels of inter-borough ill will individual cooperation between the 5 local authorities on non strategic issues is apparently unlikely!

The concensus between the Basildon, Thurrock, Southend, Rochford and Essex county authorities was that Castle Point should have re-consulted them once the decision was taken to lower the local plan Housing Delivery from 200 dwellings per Annum down to 100 dwellings.  They felt a delay on publication of the cpbc Local Plan2016 should have followed.

Perhaps in hindsight, delaying publication of the LP2016 for 1 month, until the negative responses were received in writing, may have proved evidentially worthwhile!

However, our neighbours have indicated that they are also unlikely to be able to fulfil their own Assessed Housing Needs, therefore it can be argued that delay would have been fruitless as no assistance with adoption of some castle point Housing Need would be forthcoming!

It is a fact the Castle Point is in a position of being required to push ahead with the local plan process, not simply to comply with the Government’s requirement to complete by 2017, but are expected to by the Secretary of State following promises made during the Glebelands development Appeal inquiry. During which it was considered premature to find in favour of the developer as good progress was being made in the local plan making process.

Whilst Castle Point have published a plan for examination, Thurrock, the most judgemental of neighbouring authorities, expect to submit theirs around 2020.

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Depiction by Sir John Tenniel.

Essex County Council representatives appeared most concerned about Highways issues. On the 2nd access to Canvey Island they revealed that they have not, as yet, been supplied with evidence of the Need for a new or improved access route! ECC claimed they have applied for funding to research the matter.

The barrister representing cpbc at this stage even went to the lengths to point out that the 2nd access route to Canvey, in particular the Northwick Road to Manor Way Thurrock, had been demoted to an aspiration, or “low-level” option, within the Local Plan2016 rather than a crucial piece of infrastructure!

This point should be explored as Canvey Islanders have long been fed the line that this is a priority  piece of infrastructure by castle point council!

No mention was made of the Roscommon Way final phase.

The reduction in the intended castle point Housing Supply was then used to suggest that not only the 2nd access route for Canvey Island but also the Woodmans Arms and A127 Fairglen interchange, meant that Government funding would not be released!

Interesting then that the news of this funding block was released in the press just days before this Local Plan meeting.

One can only assume that such major improvement as in the case of the Fairglen inter-change is being used as a lever by ECC as a means of over-riding the adopted Green Belt policy being sought for adoption by castle point council.

It was clear that Castle Point are no better or worse than other neighbouring authorities where cooperation is concerned, perhaps others should have adopted a less aggressive approach.

The inspector’s findings are intended for release by the 6th January 2017 at the latest. “Watch this space” – as Pammie would say!

Castle Point Green Belt in the Firing Line? And Local Plan Bombshell?

“The mantra is often: There can be no change to the Green Belt – look somewhere else. However the need to meet housing need means that Green Belts should not be preserved without a rational review of their purpose set against the need for change.”

With the Government announcing renewed intent to solve the housing crisis by launching a Home Building Fund. In a press release Sajid Javid states

That’s why we’re taking further action ahead of a Housing White Paper later this year. The launch of a £3 billion Home Building Fund will:

  • provide £1 billion of short term loan funding – this will be used for small builders, custom builders, and innovators, delivering 25,000 homes in the short term
  • it will also provide £2 billion of long term funding for infrastructure – this will be used to unlock a pipe line of up to 200,000 homes over the longer term – with the emphasis on developments on brownfield land.

However, as is often stated, the Urban parts of Castle Point are tightly Constrained by the Green Belt. Hence the difficulties for cpbc in producing a Local Plan. It is clear that the cpbc Local Plan2016 has highlighted that one persons precious Green belt is another persons developable land.

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The Green Belt review within the Local Plan2016 process will be scrutinised by the Planning Inspector. He will be looking to see the supporting evidence should land that better fulfils some of the 5 Purposes of the Green Belt if it were to be selected for development ahead of sites that fulfils less of the Green Belt Purposes.

“The big issue

The most immediate issue for the Green Belt is the maintenance of the purposes of the Green Belt set against the under-provision of housing across many parts of the country, where the capacity to accommodate sustainable development in urban areas is often insufficient to meet the housing requirement.”

Alongside this it is difficult to argue against the Government’s desire to “want to ensure everyone has a safe and secure place to live and that means we’ve got to build more homes.”

Green Belt as a Constraint on Housing principle, has been set out beyond any doubt by the Hunston High Court judgment in St Albans.  This section of the judgement is worth quoting;

‘Having identified the full objectively assessed needs figure the decision maker must then consider the impact of the other policies set out in the NPPF.  The Green Belt policy is not an outright prohibition on development in the Green Belt.  Rather it is a prohibition on inappropriate development in the absence of very special circumstances. 

It is entirely circular to argue that there are no very special circumstances based on objectively assessed but unfulfilled need that can justify development in the Green Belt by reference to a figure that has been arrived at under a revoked policy which was arrived at taking account of the need to avoid development in the Green Belt.’

This raises the inevitable question for the Castle Point Plan-making process, having conceded that Green Belt will be developed through the Local Plan2016, should more weight be awarded to the parts of the Green Belt that have been selected to be released over, the most likely parts of the Green Belt that developers are ready and willing to commence early development on?

On the one hand it appears we have a Localism lead site selection process, over an urgent National need to “want to ensure everyone has a safe and secure place to live” meaning “we’ve got to build more homes.”

It may be a case that by hurrying through the publication for Examination of the Local Plan 2016 cpbc officers may have invited criticism from an Inspector that a level of unfairness  towards those residents living near the Blinking Owl site H11, as they were unaware of the plans to bring this site forward during the Consultation process.

Many Castle Point residents feel that the area is too overcrowded and congested already. The Local Government Association however,suggest that “It might seem odd, for instance, as the designation of Green Belt implies, that at some entirely arbitrary point in the evolution of a town, it should not grow any more.” 

The Fact is though that the cpbc Housing Need development Numbers unpopular with residents, are already under scrutiny.

The Local Plan2016 Examination Inspector already has declared an interest in some of the content and processes of our Plan!

He has requested explanation of the local authority’s efforts to comply with the Duty to Co-operate.

He has also asked, “What is the rationale for reducing the housing requirement from 4,000 in the Draft Local Plan to 2,000?”

Presumably this was not self evident in the Local plan2016 supporting documentation!

The fear is that the Duty to Co-operate can lead to Local Plans to stumble at the very first hurdle.

We as Residents are left with a more obvious question, why was the Planning Inspector’s written enquiry not explained as to the consequences and an update announcement made public at last weeks cpbc Full council meeting? 

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Increase in Hazardous Activity and reduction in Emergency Fire Cover for Canvey Island!

Just like an Insurance Policy, you want Fire and Rescue cover, but hope that you Never, Ever have to Call upon it!

That appears the reasoning behind the next lot of cuts to the, already depleted, Castle Point cover of the Essex Fire and Rescue Service.

With three major road arteries in the Borough and two Top Tier COMAH sites on Canvey Island, it appears residents only have our local councillors word that we can sleep safely of a night.

 Just over 6 years ago a major gas leak occurred from Calor at Canvey Island, which only by good fortune, did not find a source of ignition!

The 163-tonne leak happened while a ship was unloading gas to the site.

Now we learn of an increase in the current levels of Hazardous Activity to be carried out at the nearby OIKOS site.

Currently there are plans lodged by OIKOS, at their liquid bulk import and storage facility on Canvey Island, with Castle Point Council for a new deep water jetty.

The jetty will allow fully laden tankers of up to 16.2m draught to berth at the jetty (subject to tidal restrictions) to remain alongside for a period of 24 hours while discharging cargo.

Vessels up to and including a 120,000 DWT tanker, approximately 277metres in length overall with a beam of 44.7m may then be able to use the facility.

Our local councillors report their being satisfied with the level of cover left after this latest Fire Service cut. However Canvey Town Councillors have objected to the OIKOS planning proposal giving one reason for objection as Fear of Terrorism! Surely a contradiction.

A different view to that which was being given out not so long ago in 2011, when we were being invited to join the failed fight to retain the Full Time Canvey staff, before they were replaced by part time cover.

PARTY allegiances have been thrown aside as politicians of all colours rally to protect Canvey’s under-threat firefighters.

Castle Point’s Tory MP Rebecca Harris has criticised cost-saving proposals to replace full-time cover at the island’s Long Road fire station with a retained crew.

Meanwhile, Canvey Island Independent Party has launched a petition opposing the proposals.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service plans to replace the station’s 25 firefighters with a part-time crew as part of a £10million cost-cutting programme across the county.

At that time MP Rebecca Harris said: “I am very unhappy about any proposal to downgrade the service on Canvey.

“We are going to fight hard to make sure we keep a full-time service on the island.

“When you think of the sensitivity on Canvey about it being an island with difficult access, then it’s clear what the concerns of the residents are.”

Whilst the Canvey Island Independent Party is hoping residents will get behind the petition, which will be distributed to Canvey shops and garages for people to sign.

Dave Blackwell, the party’s leader, worries retained firefighters would be unable to cope on Canvey.

As a reminder, we will make no apology for once again including the video of how a resident was left affected by the Buncefield incident, and pray that we never witness the like on Canvey Island, because for certain the Rescue response may well be less efficient.

We must hope and trust, should the worst happen, the incident will be within the response capabilities of the rescue service that is retained.

Grateful thanks go to Ian Silverstein for use of his video.

 

The Echo report on the 2011 Cuts and 20+ comments can be read HERE.

The report on the Calor Gas escape by solicitors Irwin Mitchell can be viewed HERE.

Local Plan2016 a little background Reading before you respond to Consultation!

Canvey Island residents will now be receiving their invitations to take part in the Castle Point Local Plan2016 consultation.

Some concerns have been expressed via social media as to how the Plan will impact upon residents daily life.

The Local Plan2016 is at the stage where residents and developers and consultee agencies will expect their input to have an impact upon the final document following Examination by a Planning Inspector.

“Following the consultation, the New Local Plan will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate.  Representations will be considered by a Planning Inspector alongside the published Plan.”

In other words, your final opportunity to have some input.

There is no rush to respond.

It may therefore be of interest at this early stage for some who have not followed the Local Plan2016’s progress so far to learn of the background influences that have been exerted in reaching this stage.

Most relevant maybe the consideration of the Castle Point Borough Council Chief Executive, expressed in Council meeting agenda paperwork, in which he expressed these concerns to councillors;

To re-consider the Draft New Local Plan at this stage exposes the Council to the risk of unwelcome development, “planning by appeal”, and potential Government intervention.

6. Risks and Corporate Implications

6.1 Members are referred to the report before Council on 9.12.2015, which were restated on 27.01.2016, which sets out the serious legal, reputational and financial risks at Sections 7 to 9 of the report of 09.12.2015 in failing to take forward a sound Draft New Local Plan. These sections are attached as an Appendix.

6.2 The Council is advised that there is a substantial risk that a Draft New Local Plan amended in the form of either Motion is unlikely to meet the four tests of soundness as set out in paragraph 182 of the NPPF, which are:

Positively prepared – the plan should be prepared based on a strategy which seeks to meet objectively assessed development and infrastructure requirements, including unmet requirements from neighbouring authorities where it is reasonable to do so and consistent with achieving sustainable development;

Justified – the plan should be the most appropriate strategy, when considered against reasonable alternatives, based on proportionate evidence;

Effective – the plan should be deliverable over its period and based on effective joint working on cross-boundary strategic priorities; and

Consistent with national policy – the plan should enable the delivery of sustainable development in accordance with the policies in the Framework.

6.3 In addition the Council has a statutory duty to comply with the Duty to Cooperate to ascertain whether the Council’s neighbouring authorities are able to take some of the Council’s unmet housing need. A draft New Local Plan which seeks only a limited ability to meet its housing need will not sit well with neighbouring authorities who are seeking to release green belt sites to meet their own housing needs: to expect those authorities to release even more of their green belt to meet the Council’s unmet need is unrealistic.

Conclusion & Next Steps

7.1. It is clear that Members recognise that the draft New Local Plan needs to be progressed and as a general principle Members oppose the use of Green Belt sites for housing development giving  priority to the protection of the Green Belt above meeting the objectively assessed housing needs of the Borough.

7.2 As stated previously Motion 1(the removal of some Green Belt sites for housing development) is unclear, inconsistent and contradictory suggesting that it is acceptable to leave certain Green Belt Sites within the Draft Local plan but excluding others. Council is reminded 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.

7.3 Motion 2 the removal of all Green Belt sites for housing development presents the least worst option in that it is a clear unambiguous policy statement that the Council’s priority is the protection of the Green Belt and the Council will not allow the use of any green belt sites to meet its objectively assessed housing needs.

7.4 If Council is minded to direct that the draft New Local Plan is amended to reflect either of the two Motions then it is recommended that the Council directs that the Draft New Local Plan be altered to remove all Green Belt housing sites to prioritise protecting Green Belt over meeting the Borough’s objectively assessed housing needs.

Of course the Chief Executives idea of unwelcome Green Belt development may well differ from councillors and residents.

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That the councillors decided to press ahead with Motion 1 (see above) was their prerogative, as councillors make the decisions.

What we can be sure of is an interesting time ahead.

Only following the Inspector’s consideration will we learn whether councillors have been astute or foolhardy!

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