Tag Archives: Castle Point Borough Council

Castle Point Councillors divided between Green Belt Turncoats and those Unprepared to be Tied to the Small Print! Resident Lock Outs and a Not so Narrow defeat? The Local Plan Devil, is in the Detail.

Castle Point Councillors, Jekyll and Hyde appear to have now taken over the reins of the emerging, or is it submerging, Local Plan 2018!

Appropriately for this end of year Green Belt blog post, the CPBC Special Meeting, held to force forward the 2108 Local Plan, the Minutes were “signed off” during the CPBC December full council ordinary meeting.

These minutes exposed the devious methods being employed by those lead councillors and officers now in control of the Plan-making process locally.

Anything passed by the Council is considered to have been resolved Democratically! Therefore a Local Plan Examining Inspector would make allowance for radical or unpopular decisions, if the majority of councillors had approved those decisions.

Therefore it was imperative, well at least for those of us living in South Benfleet and Canvey Island, that the 2018 Local Plan was Rejected, despite the Leader’s and chief executive’s threats of the Armageddon of Intervention due to be imposed on Castle Point the very next day following the Plan’s Rejection!

The Minutes taken of the Special council meeting paint a puzzling picture, some of which written include:

“The Leader explained that whilst some Members felt that they had not had sufficient involvement in the process, the timescale was intended to deliver a draft plan and Members would have input at the appropriate time.”

And yet it was revealed that councillors were only invited to “briefings” rather than actual involvement. We, and they, are apparently left to imagine when “the appropriate time” would arise!

“The Chief Executive presented the comprehensive report to the Council.”
“Within the section dealing with Delivering a Sufficient Supply of Homes the strategic sites forming a crucial part of the plan were identified together with commentary about each site. Council was reminded that this was a twenty year plan and it might be some while before any of sites came forward for development and because of the sequential test those on Canvey were more likely to be towards the end of the plan period

The Irony here may easily be lost by both an Outsider or somebody living on the mainland!

No Housing development proposal has, to our knowledge, been refused “because of the Sequential Test” since the cpbc grovelling appeal some time ago, to the then Sir Michael Pitt and the Environment Agency, to lift the restriction on development on Canvey island due to the threat from Flooding.

That is of course with one Exception, the proposal for Stables for Horses!

The officer Report stated in refusing the application “The proposal seeks to provide a stable facility within Flood Zone 3, an area identified at risk of flooding and is not accompanied by,…..evidence that it meets the requirements of the sequential test”!

In effect it is unreasonable to put horses at Risk of Flooding, but residents and their properties, well that is just fine, as it suits the housing development growth distribution in the Borough.

How perverse are our Councillors, and how complicit our officers???

On Intervention
“11.2 A report was presented to Cabinet on intervention and its consequences in September 2018. Council is reminded that Intervention by Government in any area of local government business is a last resort and follows poor decision making and failure to follow Government direction and advice. Intervention is a sanction and should not be considered as an alternative mechanism to deliver a local plan. The Secretary of State is still considering whether to intervene in the local plan process in Castle Point.”
“the Government”…..” will not allow the local plan, once agreed, to be frustrated by the development control process”

“The Secretary of State may direct that (development) applications that give effect to the proposals are “called in” for his own determination.” 

This may have appeared a confused threat to councillors and residents in the Jotmans Farm and Glebelands areas of the Borough, as on two occasions the Secretary of State himself had overturned the decisions of the Planning Inspectors in respect of Appeals against major Housing proposals in these areas!

Despite the Leader’s threat, to expect a telephone call from the Sec. Of State, in the morning following the decision, no Intervention update was available at the time of the December council meeting.

“Debate took place during which Members acknowledged the difficult decision (whether to approve the Local Plan) before the Council.

A number of Members recognised that they would have to set aside their views concerning the use of Green Belt land for building in order that an effective Local Plan could be delivered to retain control of local plan making in the Borough and future planning decisions for the benefit of the community and avoid the serious consequences of intervention.” 

Strange that this summary, above, of the debate should highlight this one aspect of the debate, as though some level of lesser thinking was employed by those councillors who refused to support the Local Plan 2018 motion.

“At the conclusion of the debate a vote was taken on the recommendations by show of hands which was lost narrowly by one vote.”

Quite a close run thing you may think until you note the councillors who were Absent:-” Councillors Mrs W. Goodwin, R.C. Howard, B.A. Palmer, J.A.Payne, Mrs. J. Payne, W.K.Sharp, A. Taylor and Mrs L. Wass”  “cllr Dick was taken ill during the meeting and left the chamber”.

Of these absent councillors 2, at least, were excluded from participation through their personal Interests.

That leaves 5 councillors who may have been reasonably expected to Vote Against the 2018 Local Plan’s adoption, that would have made a majority of 6, far, far less than a “narrow defeat!”

And besides why should councillors, if they consider a Plan to be bad for the local residents, be forced to support it?  Many of those councillors voting in favour of the Local Plan, were elected on saving the Castle Point Green Belt tickets. They may have been representing areas intended for far less development and far less loss of Green Belt compared with others, their argument weakened by the fact that one of the more undersubscribed schools in the Borough was supported against its proposed closure, by the CPBC ceo’s letter claiming that much new housing development was proposed via the Local Plan, within that school’s catchment area!

Councillors may have also voted against this Local Plan, due to being totally misled by the continuous promises of aspirational Highway and Junction improvements, contained within it!

No mention in the Council meeting Minutes of those many, many Residents locked out of the Council Building and prevented from attending the Local Plan meeting!

Was it just to appease the agitated residents, having made the effort and given up time on a cold, damp night to attend, that officers requested them to sign an attendance sheet so that “Councillors could be informed how many” were in the lock out predicament?

A poor and typical show from Castle Point council, that this appears to have not been considered worthy of reporting!

It would also appear contradictory for Government to appear to be refusing to support a so called, by some, national Bad Plan, that has been grabbing some headlines over the last couple of years, whilst denying CPBC the right to refuse to be strait-jacketed into accepting this Local Plan!

Jotmans Lane Tank.JPG.gallery

 

 

 

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2014 Canvey Flooding – 3 Years On, and still only a Glossy Brochure offered to prevent a repeat, but offering this as Evidence in support of Housing Development in CPBC Local Plan, REALLY?

3 Full Years on, and little improvement to the Drainage System on Canvey Island, means it worthwhile updating and re-posting this blog.

Ironically it is included as part of the Castle Point 2018 Local Plan Evidence base! A document full of promises and an insight that proves Canvey Island was always intended as THE Housing Growth Area in the Borough, no matter what other mainland sites were introduced.

How CPBC can consider that a Glossy desk top published “brochure,” full of empty promises, you will recognise them in the text below, to fund a complete overhaul of the Canvey Island drainage system, is fit to be considered as Evidence Base to support such a Bad Local Plan as the latest 2018 version, is anybody’s guess!

We will leave you to make of it what you will.

And we all thought that the bid to Government for the necessary drainage improvements was for the good of the existing residents and properties of Canvey Island that were affected so badly during the 2014 flooding!

“With over 6,100 jobs already based on the island, plans submitted to the government through the South East LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan (SEP), propose to create over 1,100 new jobs. Further development opportunities have also created the potential for the construction of over 1,500 new homes across Canvey.

The Essex Economic Growth Strategy highlights the numerous industrial opportunities located along the Thames riverside in Thurrock and on Canvey Island; recognising the strong growth potential in the area.

It is vital that all relevant agencies and central government work together, to ensure this growth potential is not inhibited by the significant risks associated with future flooding on the island.”

As we have always maintained; no improvement of infrastructure without even more development on the most densely urbanised part of our Borough.
It strikes us that the development is / was intended whether drainage, flood defence or road network improvements were to be forthcoming anyway!

Of course the distribution and allocation of any money allocated from Government may well find itself replacing / overlapping money already contributed by residents within the Council Tax allocation as Essex Highways state;
“Defects on the (Canvey) highway drainage system will continue to be addressed as resources permit.”

Screenshot (23)Canvey Island Integrated Drainage Model brochure!

The fancy multi agency Brochure, minus the graphics reads:

“Through this bid we ask central government for £24.5m, which will be used to address the deficiency in the current drainage network, and fund capital projects to dramatically improve the drainage infrastructure across Canvey Island. This investment will feed into an already comprehensive programme of works which will be delivered over the next ten years. Some projects which will be covered by this funding include:
• Property level protection from surface water flooding for 40,000 people and 15,000 homes.
• Improving the drainage infrastructure at recognised pinch points, identified by the Integrated Urban Drainage Study (IUD), to take excess rainwater from the centre of the island to the pumps located around the island.
• Increasing the storm water storage area on the island, providing areas where excess rainwater can be stored.
• Increasing the storage capacity of Canvey Lake, and re-profile the surrounding area to provide additional storm water storage capacity.
• Utilising new technology innovations to enable a much more reactive approach to deal with heavy rainfall, such as advanced weather warning systems (Rain Gain) and automatic weed-screens.
• Increasing community resilience through enhanced education, awareness and local volunteer programmes.

The approach we have taken to partnership working on the island is unique, and we believe this model allows more efficient and collaborative approaches to address the problems facing local residents. We commit to continuing this vital work and with additional government funding we can do so much more to help protect our community, protect our economy and protect our Canvey Island.

The first phase of the Thames Estuary Plan 2100, prepared by the Environment Agency, states that the maintenance and improvement of Canvey’s system of large sea wall defences, is well justified given the risks to the local community and economy.

The plan recommends that the defences are further improved to keep pace with the ever more present impacts of a changing climate. Over the period of the plan, the Environment Agency calculates that the potential economic benefits of implementing their preferred option of flood prevention across the Thames Estuary is in the region of £200 billion when compared to doing nothing.

The majority of benefits of flood risk management in the Thames Estuary are economic; namely the avoidance of damage to property, infrastructure, transport and business investment.

Within the Government’s Autumn statement last year, it was announced that the government ”has published its six-year programme of investment in flood defences, allocating the £2.3 billion capital funding provided at Spending Round 2013. It has also allocated an additional £60 million to the Thames Estuary Asset Management scheme beyond 2021, subject to business case and local partnership contributions.”

Our ask
Securing the future of the Thames Estuary
To find out more about our plans to better protect Canvey Island, or to contact us, please visit http://www.canveyflood.co.uk.

Canvey Island is the largest town in the Borough of Castle Point, comprising around 40% of the borough area, with a population of 40,000 people. Canvey is home to both the largest town centre and area of employment (Charfleets Industrial Estate) in Castle Point Borough, and is a key contributor to the local economy.

Canvey is separated from the mainland of south Essex by a network of creeks, and the reclaimed island sits around 1m below sea level at high tide, making it incredibly vulnerable to flooding from both sea and surface water.

The island has a rich history of agriculture and shipping, and was one of the country’s fastest growing seaside resorts for over forty years until the North Sea flood of 1953 devastated the island, killing 58 islanders and leading to the temporary evacuation of the 13,000 residents.

Modern sea defences now protect Canvey, with a 3.2km high concrete sea wall spanning the island’s coastline, and a series of high powered pumps built into the local drainage system.

However, on 20th July 2014, one of the most extreme rainfall events ever seen in Essex hit the island and overwhelmed the drainage network, causing widespread flooding to over 1,000 homes and businesses, and severe disruption to the local infrastructure.

These floods served as a harsh reminder of the island’s vulnerability to flooding and highlighted the ever-increasing need for further measures to protect the island’s environment, community and economy.

Since the July 2014 floods, Anglian Water, Castle Point Borough Council, Essex County Council and the Environment Agency, have formed a multi-agency partnership and have been working collaboratively on a strategy to better protect Canvey against future flood events; providing long term security for residents and businesses across the island.

To date, the group has seen great success and over £1.7m has been spent delivering a comprehensive maintenance, repair and cleaning scheme across the island’s drainage network. Along side this, a website and two community newsletters have been created to raise awareness of the ongoing work. We have now developed a long-term strategy which, with support from the government, Canvey Island is home to a tight knit community with a diverse demographic make-up.

A range of organisations have helped to deliver community infrastructure improvements over recent years; helping to increase the service offering of the island, and address some of the societal challenges faced by some pockets of the community. will deliver increased protection and security for the people of Canvey.

This new infrastructure includes; a new healthcare centre, two new secondary schools, a new vocational college, works to improve the quality of the public realm within the employment area, and the construction of the second phase of Roscommon Way, providing access to new employment land to the south of Charfleets Industrial Estate.
Protecting our community • Protecting our economy • Protecting our Canvey

CANVEY ISLAND
Introduction Strategy Protecting our Economy CANVEY ISLAND

Canvey Island is home to a tight knit community with a diverse demographic make-up.
A range of organisations have helped to deliver community infrastructure improvements over recent years; helping to increase the service offering of the island, and address some of the societal challenges faced by some pockets of the community.

PROTECTING OUR ECONOMY
With over 6,100 jobs already based on the island, plans submitted to the government through the South East LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan (SEP), propose to create over 1,100 new jobs. Further development opportunities have also created the potential for the construction of over 1,500 new homes across Canvey.

The Essex Economic Growth Strategy highlights the numerous industrial opportunities located along the Thames riverside in Thurrock and on Canvey Island; recognising the strong growth potential in the area.
It is vital that all relevant agencies and central government work together, to ensure this growth potential is not inhibited by the significant risks associated with future flooding on the island.

We want to see more community support schemes take root on Canvey, and we appreciate that we have a role in making sure the necessary support infrastructure is in place to allow this to happen. The loss and devastation caused by flooding is tremendous and multifaceted, ranging from the social distress and disruption caused, as well as the monetary losses experienced by private individuals, businesses and the government. This includes financial costs borne by the national economy in the form of school closures and work days lost; repairs to infrastructure, including utilities and roads; inability of businesses and consumers to operate during floods; and public sector emergency response costs.

The cost of a future flooding incident on the island would be in the region of £274m per year in lost economic output, and up to £2.1bn in damage to residential property. With over 6,100 jobs already based on the island, plans submitted to the government through the South East LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan (SEP), propose to create over 1,100 new jobs. Further development opportunities have also created the potential for the construction of over 1,500 new homes across Canvey.

The Essex Economic Growth Strategy highlights the numerous industrial opportunities located along the Thames riverside in Thurrock and on Canvey Island; recognising the strong growth potential in the area.
It is vital that all relevant agencies and central government work together, to ensure this growth potential is not inhibited by the significant risks associated with future flooding on the island.

Working together, we have developed an Integrated Urban Drainage (IUD) model, to establish a common understanding on the condition and ownership of the drainage infrastructure across the island. The output of this model will be used to develop a series of engineering projects, which will significantly improve the drainage infrastructure and provide property level protection across Canvey Island. The first phase of this project, jointly funded by Anglian Water and the Environment Agency, will be completed by early summer 2015.

What’s been done so far?
• We produce a regular multi-agency newsletter which is used to inform, update and educate residents and local businesses about the work currently being undertaken on the island.
• Anglian Water and Essex Highways are working closely through practical, enhanced maintenance work to repair, replace and improve the complex drainage infrastructure on the island, as well as mapping all of the drainage assets and the Surface Water Alleviation Scheme (SWAS) along the seafront.
• The Environment Agency has reviewed their maintenance, resulting in additional activities, including: extensive seawall repairs, de-silting, channel re-profiling and stand-by generator works. The first phase of the Thames Estuary Plan 2100, prepared by the Environment Agency, states that the maintenance and improvement of Canvey’s system of large sea wall defences, is well justified given the risks to the local community and economy.

The plan recommends that the defences are further improved to keep pace with the ever more present impacts of a changing climate. Over the period of the plan, the Environment Agency calculates that the potential economic benefits of implementing their preferred option of flood prevention across the Thames Estuary is in the region of £200 billion when compared to doing nothing.

The majority of benefits of flood risk management in the Thames Estuary are economic; namely the avoidance of damage to property, infrastructure, transport and business investment.

Within the Government’s Autumn statement last year, it was announced that the government ”has published its six-year programme of investment in flood defences, allocating the £2.3 billion capital funding provided at Spending Round 2013. It has also allocated an additional £60 million to the Thames Estuary Asset Management scheme beyond 2021, subject to business case and local partnership contributions.”

The first phase of the Thames Estuary Plan 2100, prepared by the Environment Agency, states that the maintenance and improvement of Canvey’s system of large sea wall defences, is well justified given the risks to the local community and economy.

No Place for Intimidation, Castle Point councillors were simply not convinced the Local Plan was acceptable or Fair. Time for an Inquiry into Behaviour!

It appears there have been reports, that following the Castle Point Council decision not to approve the draft 2018 Local Plan, certain councillor or councillors have been subjected to intimidation, basically for voting against a Local Plan they felt unacceptable.

Lead group councillors suggest they were allowed a free vote.

Firstly the chief executive made clear that in his view the Plan wasn’t for changing, and the vote must be in favour of adoption, solely to keep to a schedule set by Government.

The council leader repeated this warning as did his deputy, this was followed by many councillors stating they were between a “rock and a hard  place”, followed by the usual platitudes.

It may have been an easier passage for the Plan if rather than the sit and listen briefings, councillors from all sides had been invited to engage with the Government chief planner’s team and had some input into drawing up the Plan.

Some of the councillor’s input into the debate was nonsensical. Cllr Cole for instance explained his sympathy for the homeless people of Castle Point, families waiting to be housed. Then he went onto suggest that with Cllr smith’s inclusion of master planning developments identified for development ward councillors and residents would have influence on the density of the housing, less flats, more open spaces etc etc.

Master planning will come at a serious cost, most particularly at the likely expense of affordable and social housing!

Another councillor suggested in his 6 months of being in position he had studied and got to grips with the Local Plan process of Castle Point, all 12 years+ of it!

We have heard talk at National level of No Plan being better than a Bad Plan.

Luckily in a democracy we are allowed to say and vote accordingly, especially if we feel this is the case.

Perhaps some councillors felt that “Local Factors” still affect the cpbc Plan making process, it has before!

What the leadership and officers must remember is that they have solely been responsible for the debacle of a situation they have found  themselves in, they have voted in Favour of every single Plan put before the members and it was they that Failed the Duty to Cooperate test with the 2016 Plan, before that even reached examination stage.

For it to be claimed that the Lead group allowed a free vote on the Plan makes it all the worse that it appeared that one councillor was taken ill, possibly due to the pressure of the occasion, and another was left upset by remarks following the vote.

In a democracy it is peoples right to make up their own minds, and it is important they are allowed to do so without fear of recriminations.

Now it is important that those who have Failed us should not take the Lead should intervention occur.

The Gov. Chief Planner is fully capable of putting together an unbiased and neutral team of planners and examiners.

Perhaps this is what those so forcefully behind an approval vote fear the most.

Now following the recent posts leading up to Wednesdays meeting, we have encouraged participation through the comments column.

This time for many reasons there will be none allowed, as the saying goes, they will have to “suck it up!”

This Post is purely in appreciation of the councillors who took a brave decision in spite of the consequences and took the more difficult decision to vote, right or wrong, according to their consciences for what they felt was Right.

Those brave mainland and Island councillors are what makes this country what it is.

The rest of us must learn to live with it, or come up with a more convincing argument other than intimidation!

There is a very real case for an Inquiry into the Matter!

 

Castle Point Local Plan. The Pro’s and Con’s of the Great Intervention Debate, as seen by a local Councillor.

A recent post regarding the Castle Point Local Plan drew some frank insight, sometimes rare for our local councillors, into the dilemma faced by members as they consider how a vote, For or Against, the Local Plan this Wednesday might attract, or alter the Government threat of Intervention in the plan process.

We have decided to re-present mainland cllr Hart’s generous offer to us, to respond to Residents questions with his own thoughts, below:

Intro: As you are aware I am a Mainland Cllr for Castle Point Borough Council, and I hope your site members find my comments useful as I try to provide information on Council matters.

Please can I advise people to weigh up all the evidence, as I will do before I vote on the Local Plan next week.

I have been involved in the Local Plan discussion from both sides for a long time. I ask questions and consider all arguments as a Cllr and as a resident.
In regard to this current proposed Local Plan and the threat of Intervention, the threat is “very real” and it is all down to time, they want a plan in as soon as possible by us or by Inspectors, if we fall behind they will take over.
Intervention is not an opportunity to stop this plan and try to reduce housing numbers and delay the plan or start a new plan.

We are finding out more and more about this local plan week by week even at this late stage and Cllrs saw the plan the same time as it went public on Tuesday.
The proposed Local Plan is over a 20 year period and is 2000 homes below the projected housing need, (101 homes per year) so even the proposed Local Plan’s approval is not guaranteed if voted in next week.
So what does that mean and what does a No vote mean ?

A Yes vote would mean we would move forward and a public consultation and submission to an inspector.
Where it maybe approved or refused .
Inspector refusal is not likely in my opinion as Secretary of State officials are in our Council Offices overseeing our Local Plan progress and if they were not happy we would be in intervention now .

What would a NO vote mean ? It would mean intervention, probably with the continuation of this plan but possibly with the risk of an added 2000 homes to fill the short fall spread on the proposed sites with an increased density, possibly with out any say on any proposed development.
Which option is better is hard to say for definite
at this time as new information is coming out all the time.

These are my opinions and I have changed my mind back and forth on what way to vote, but if a Yes vote is acceptable to an inspector and Master Planning is allowed to be run correctly with resident involvement, not on house numbers but on most other issues it is looking a less unacceptable option than a no vote at this time.
There is not a happy solution to this situation just the lesser of two evils.
What ever the vote result it is hard times for Castle Point.
I can assure everyone that the Conservative Cllrs are free to vote how ever they wish.
I will try and answer any questions that arise on this matter.

Question;  Thanks Simon your comment is appreciated. I have heard from other Resident groups that the council leader has put much faith in master planning.

How do you envisage the requirement to utilise land by more denser development and developers so called viability in providing affordable homes issues weigh up against cpbc’s aspiration toward master planning?

The bottom line is profit whilst cpbc need to see housing built which may enable the developers to call the tune at the expense of the leaders masterplan.

Answer: Master planning and the housing number being 101 per year under the target are the only positives in this Local Plan.

There is no more time to do a Local Plan we have had extra time and are now in injury time, the eyes of the UK Councils are watching to see what happens.

The Local Plan will fix the numbers per site that is Fact , Master Planning will involve a Chairman, Local Cllrs , developers and Residents to comment and amend developers applications. Access , green spaces , type of houses and house locations etc are types of issues Madter Planning can affect.

So back to your point about density increase by developers to make more money can not occur if the plan is approved.

Question: Come on Simon
I am sure you can as Chairman of the Development Control Committee remember planning officers relating to the NPPF when considering applications on Canvey Island.
“123. Where there is an existing or anticipated shortage of land for meeting identified housing needs, it is especially important that planning policies and decisions avoid homes being built at low densities, and ensure that developments make optimal use of the potential of each site. In these circumstances:

a) plans should contain policies to optimise the use of land in their area and meet as much of the identified need for housing as possible. This will be tested robustly at examination, and should include the use of minimum density standards for city and town centres and other locations that are well served by public transport. These standards should seek a significant uplift in the average density of residential development within these areas, unless it can be shown that there are strong reasons why this would be inappropriate;

b) the use of minimum density standards should also be considered for other parts of the plan area. It may be appropriate to set out a range of densities that reflect the accessibility and potential of different areas, rather than one broad density range; and

c) local planning authorities should refuse applications which they consider fail to make efficient use of land, taking into account the policies in this Framework. In this context, when considering applications for housing, authorities should take a flexible approach in applying policies or guidance relating to daylight and sunlight, where they would otherwise inhibit making efficient use of a site (as long as the resulting scheme would provide acceptable living standards).”
If you cannot developers will….

Answer: Density In the NPPF is not just to maximise it it depends on location or we would have high rise flats everywhere. Planning rules and polices still apply .

Question: Cllr S Hart mentions that councillors have only just seen the draft plan – days before the vote. Yep that’s about right CEO and his planners and some senior Tory councillors seemingly keeping the draft under wraps until the last minute. .So the study time is kept at a minimum. It’s like a stuck 78 rpm vinyl record, Why can’t some conservative councillors just wake up and see what is happening.

This is the third attempt at a plan which has cost CPBC residents a lot of taxpayers money., Of course there is a party whip but let’s hope some conservative councillors wake up to all of this and get out of their dreamland. Oh yes, Cllr Hart has made no mention of the increased traffic, no infrastructure, pollution increase, schools and doctors bulging at the seams too many numbers, the list is endless. Canvey Island is planned for even more dwellings to be built where will it end? CI is bursting at the seams. The roads are choc a block or do some people drive round with their eyes shut. I really dread to think that if there was a serious incident and emergency services could not get early necessary access. The mind boggles.

Perhaps a simple suggestion why don’t councillors just knock on a few doors of their constituent’s houses and ask residents for their thoughts. Vote No to the proposal of having ALL the greenbelt taken out of the local plan – let the government take over the LP it can’t be any worse than the efforts made so far.

The government inspectors can then make an independent assessment of the overall assessment and act accordingly. There are members of CPBC who seemingly have always wanted to build on Jotmans Farm right up across Tarpots to Glebelands can you just imagine what affect this would have for Canvey Island – yes the mind boggles again. SURELY COMMON SENSE AND REASONING MUST PREVAIL SURELY.

Answer: As I pointed out before, yes it could be worse, the proposed Local plan is 2000 homes short of the recommended number so the Inspectors “ could” continue with the plan if rejected as is or with the full 6000 number by increasing the site density.

I did not mention traffic because we all know the problems and not just on Canvey but the Mainland to, and is why our numbers are lower than our neighbours.

One thing that was made very clear by the Inspectors was that no plan was not an option, so leaving it for the Inspectors to decide could be a risky choice. A choice that could mean more homes possibly 101 per year more and possibly remove the option of Master planning and the involvement of residents to make site changes.

Question: Master Planning is described in the Cllrs members brief for the meeting on the 28th as :-
“Providing an opportunity for Members to work with Officers”. ( Members being Cllrs )
Can you give me any example where this has happened in regards to the compilation of the 2018 plan.?
and
” It is anticipated that the agreed master plan or planning brief for the site in question will be the subject of public consultation before being agreed by the Council as supplementary planning guidance”

Are you honestly suggesting that public consultation will have any effect on the developers proposal.
Simon I can only say that you are well intended but misguided if you think that the community of CPBC, are remotely fooled by Cllr Smiths rationale as to why we should avoid intervention.

Answer: Do not mix Master Planning with the Local Plan, and bare in mind the only out comes possible to Castle Point will end up with a minimum of 4000 homes in Castle Point over the next 20 years worst case is 6000 homes. So it comes down to what input we can have .

How much input have we had in this Plan, I would say none, and when we try are told time constraints mean none is likely as any delay would lead to the SoS starting intervention as his officers are in Castle Point overseeing the preparation of the Local Plan.

How will Master Planning work? well it will be a a lot of work and the numbers can not be adjusted but other stuff can be like site access type of housing building location and orientation.

Master planning is stated in the Local Plan on larger sites ( some wording needs adjustment in my opinion). Intervention is the worst case scenario and not a means to reduce housing numbers or delay the process.

We thank Simon for lending his time to answer residents queries and we look forward to the debate in council chamber, should a debate actually take place. We agree a decision may not be easy, and a result of a No vote may not lead down the obvious path.

Clearly, this is an Officers Plan, Cllrs have had barely any involvement.

We are being told, that the same members of the council will not take part in the intervention process ( no change there then ).

However, we are informed that members of the public will be able to involve themselves in the consultation part of the Intervention process. Link HERE.

Here’s the point;
Those same Cllrs, are by virtue of being Residents of Castle Point, members of the public!

Therefore are able to participate in the process’ consultation.

The Principle Officers don’t live in the Borough, so therefore should not be involved in the consultation.

Secondly the Secretary of State is not only insistent that CPBC has a plan, he is also adamant that its housing is delivered in a timely manor.

As you suggest Master Planning involves a great deal of work and subsequently, further delays.

It’s probably a good idea that Cllr Smith keeps this delaying tactic to himself.

Hart

Cllr Hart

 

Letter from the Ministry. Intervention and the Castle Point Local Plan – have Councillors been duped? Perhaps this Letter warrants a read before they decide!

So, just how Scarey, would Government Intervention in the Castle Point Local Plan, actually be?
Cllr Smith and the cpbc chief executive paint the move by Government as being close to an Armageddon for the Borough!

The latest word from the Mainland is that 400 new Houses will be built in Castle Point, every year of the new Local Plan2018!

This contrasts to the 2014 Local Plan, on which cpbc officers felt confident that 200 dwellings per Annum, would be an acceptable number of new houses.

You will be aware that cpbc councillors, voted down that version of the Local Plan in protest that the 200 dwellings was too high a number!
Now, just 4 years later CPBC have fallen foul of the Duty to Cooperate requirement, had the 2016 Plan Withdrawn, received a warning Letter from the Government’s Secretary of State, and been offered the option of facing Government Intervention or adopt a strict schedule to produce a Local Plan2018 supposedly under the evil eye of the Government Chief Planner.

The cpbc chief executive informed councillors that under Intervention, there would be no Input from our elected councillors!

This is strange. I contacted the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, to clarify if local input was definitely excluded, as the cpbc chief executive had informed.

The response, perhaps councillors should bother to read and then question, is below!

Screenshot (21)_LIStrange what you can learn, by asking a question!

How NOT to Build Cross Community Consensus, the Castle Point Way! A Joint meeting with Canvey and Mainland Residents apparently “Not Effective”!

Embracing the spirit of localism, a small contingency of Canvey Island and Benfleet community representatives, collectively requested an opportunity to discuss their Development concerns, with Castle Point Council leader, Cllr Smith.

smiff

Residents having recognised that the loss of Castle Point Green Belt sites, that are in close proximity, will have a cumulative impact on the local environment.

Unfortunately, seemingly wishing to avoid a combined group meeting, made up of the Dutch Village and Jotmans Farm Green Belt sites campaigners, the leader of CPBC, succeeds in promoting the perception, that communities from Canvey Island and Benfleet are being kept separate for an ulterior motive!

Local communities in this part of the Borough are clearly best placed to recognise that local and main roads are struggling to cope with the demands of today’s traffic, let alone the additional traffic brought about by the proposed large scale indiscriminate development.

The same communities are also best placed to understand how their health and wellbeing issues are directly linked to road traffic pollution and how their day to day functional requirements are already overstretched.
It was not unreasonable of us, to seek an open forum with cllr Smith, so as not to allow local campaigners to meet the leader in more “private” circumstances.

It may appear advantageous for residents with localised green belt site interests, seemingly at risk of development through the new Local Plan, to engage with cllr Smith via individual one to one meetings, however this may encourage the return to the problematic Local Factoring, that has blighted and festered mistrust, through previous versions of the CPBC Local Plan!

Having rejected the opportunity of bringing the community of Castle Point together, Cllr Smith has disingenuously failed to meet his communities public consultation expectations.

CPBC recognises that one of the key risks to the successful production of its Local Plan and its Policies is the possibility it would attract significant public opposition. This particular threat level has been scaled as “HIGH”, and mitigation measures were needed, in the face of Residents opposition to the Local Plan, to prevent slippage in the programmed time scale, raising the perceived Fear of Government Intervention.

CPBCs documented that:-
“The Local Plan will tackle contentious issues that could give rise to significant public opposition. Whilst every effort will be made to build cross community consensus, there remains risk of significant public opposition to the Local Plan proposals”

Cllr Smiths determination to meet with individual Green Belt groups in isolation contradicts this commitment.

Remember, Remember, the 28th of November! Intervention and Plot, Canvey and the mainland set to lose tracts of Green Belt!

This month, Canvey Island and Castle Point Borough Council face the prospect of Government Intervention, over the local authority’s Local Plan!

This Plan, to be voted on by local councillors on the 28th November in the council chamber Runnymede is Crucial to where between 4,000 – 5800 new houses will be allocated.

Should the Councillors refuse to Approve a new Local Plan identifying sites to accommodate these numbers the Government will step in and select the sites.

Those councillors that oppose Government Intervention, but support Green Belt protection, will have a dilemma come the vote.

CPBC chief executive will stress how worse it would be via intervention.

Councillors must ask themselves, could it have been any worse than what the proposed Plan is, anyway?

Either way they have, apparently, no input!

Previously the cpbc chief executive issued the warning to councillors that Intervention will be a catastrophe of seismic proportion for Castle Point Council.

Councillors themselves, chiefly the Lead Group, voted to trust the council leader and senior officers to chose development sites, including apparently precious Green Belt, and produce a Local Plan.

Now we learn that development is coming to many parts of the Borough!

Will Councillors and Residents give up the Fight

All I can say is,

“what were they thinking”?

cpbc

Runnymede Towers