Tag Archives: Castle Point

The Paddocks, time to wave the White Flag? With the CPBC Number Crunchers setting Budgets and Procurement Costs, Residents may be Glad to see a New Hall at all!

Time for Canvey Island Residents to hoist the White Flag and Surrender on the Paddocks and the cpbc Local Plan?

Castle Point Borough council’s official newsletter delivered by their official bugle, the Echo newspaper, has softened the blow and hopefully for them, removed the fear of Residents demonstrating at the forthcoming cpbc cabinet meeting when their “plans” for the Paddocks Community Centre are made known to the public.

“The council’s new report estimated that a refurbishment of the hall would cost £4.1million, just £200,000 less than demolishing and replacing the building entirely.”

Another case of a local authority inviting estimators to skew potential costs to suit a pre-devised scheme so as to allocate Housing on local authority land?

For a less than 50 year old building to be allowed to fall into £4,000,000’s worth of disrepair, borders on criminal negligence!

A similar process is being allowed to occur at the Council building in Long Road!

Compare this to the costs of, admittedly a smaller community centre at Wisbech. Where a 2 Hall development has been completed for the cost of £1,100,000! More HERE.

Marshland Hall

But then again, Canvey Island is in a Flood Risk zone and will require the expense of a Refuge Area on a second floor.

However, in an early report to Cabinet CPBC proposal for a new Paddocks replacement Hall, the floor space indicated was only an overall function size of 15 x 30 metres, divided into one large, or 3 separate Halls of 10 x 15 metres. Full Capacity of: Standing = 900 persons  or Seated = 450 persons. Significantly less than current capacities.

The potential for extra Housing Numbers on Canvey Island cannot be resisted and obviously was the driving factor in the gathering of costings, where refurbishment is concerned, having withdrawn routine building maintenance from the budget many years ago!

The Plans for the Island that the CPBC Lead Group covet, were sown decades ago. The neglect of community buildings, the Paddocks and the accumulation of plots of land, the temptation to locate development on Canvey is indoctrinated in the thinking of the decision makers at CPBC.

Perhaps we should be thankful that it has not been suggested that just one community hall, Runnymede, should be enough for a Borough the size of Castle Point.

We assume the New Hall will be allocated an ongoing maintenance budget, otherwise the Paddocks site may just as well be turned over to Housing Development in its entirety now!

Now that the news of the planned demise of the Paddocks has already been fed to the CPBC Newsletter, sorry the Echo, the cabinet meeting’s Paddocks Item can be presented as another “Good News” story by cllr smith!

Meanwhile we can be left to quibble about what they mean by the word “Plan”, as in “there are No Plans for the Paddocks”!

 

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Canvey Island Flood Event “Cover Up”? CPBC willing to withhold information, so as to develop Canvey Island!

A recent addition to the Castle Point Borough council’s Local Plan Evidence Base is the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment 2018 Update covering South Essex.

The document, apparently is too large to be downloaded from the cpbc Local Plan website, so we downloaded from the Rochford council website instead!

Of note, and the Canvey Green Belt Campaign did make it known to councillors, Canvey Island had no Historic Flood Events, up until 2011, recorded by Castle Point council except the 1953 Tidal Flood. This despite local knowledge confirmed that there is a Surface Water Drainage issue across Canvey Island!

This information we made available whilst the cpbc cabinet discussed and adopted the Surface Water Management Plan during 2012. Little wonder then that cpbc and their partners, were totally unprepared for the Canvey Island Floods of 2013 and, worse still, 2014!

Those living on Canvey Island at the time would have been well aware of a serious Surface Water Flooding Event during 1968. Previous localised Flooding causing more regular problems had also taken place on the Island on more frequent occasions.

None of this was recorded, nor recollections sought, when cpbc gave information to URS Scott Wilson as they compiled the 2011 Surface Water Management Plan for South Essex.

Now it is evident that cpbc have allowed, one can only think for convenience sake, the South Essex Strategic Flood Risk Assessment to be published and adopted for inclusion in the cpbc 2018 Local Plan evidence base, with the same Flooding Event omitted!

The South Essex SWMP (2012) states that there are 26 recorded flood events from Castle Point Borough Council, the Essex Fire and Rescue Service, Parish Councils and the Highways Agency. The source of flooding is unknown and these records are shown in Appendix A Figure 5.3. Where available, updated flood incident records held by the project stakeholders, including Castle Point Borough Council, ECC, the Environment Agency and AWS, have been provided to support this Level 1 SFRA update.

Records of Flooding included within the document indicate:

1968 “Fluvial flooding from the Benfleet Sewer” Following this event, structural flood mitigation measures were undertaken along the watercourse to improve the standard of protection against flooding including the construction of the bunded washlands area.

Again in 1987 Flood recorded in Hadleigh

For Canvey Island, during these decades, Nothing Recorded!

So despite the Canvey Green Belt Campaign making it known to cpbc that Canvey Island had suffered Flooding incidents and that the 2011 Surface Water Management Plan incorrectly omitted a record of these events, Castle Point Borough council have allowed a new Assessment to be undertaken without correcting these errors!

Not only that, but the Canvey Island Integrated Urban Drainage Study, undertaken following Government departmental advice, was not used as an informative for the South Essex Strategic Flood Risk Assessment, despite being signed off in April 2018!

5.4.2 Canvey Island Integrated Urban Drainage Study
The Canvey Island Integrated Urban Drainage Study (IUD) has been undertaken setting out how surface water drainage should be managed and maintained on the island. The study was not available for inclusion in the Level 1 SFRA; however, the study should be used to inform the Level 2 SFRA and site specific FRAs.

We can only conclude that these omissions and flaws can only be explained by them being deliberate to support the desires of  Castle Point Borough Council to distribute a large level of Housing Development onto the Flood Risk Zone and Critical Drainage Area of Canvey Island within their latest 2018 Local Plan process!

The 1968 Canvey Island flooding was not an insignificant event as much as cpbc may wish it was. These photographs act as proof:

Sandra Davis Photo

copyright: Sandra Davis

Jacksons Photos

Copyright: Jacksons Photos

More information on the 1968 Flooding has been collected, along with many interesting photographs that can be found on the Canvey Island Community Archive. Their website can be found via this LINK.

 

 

Canvey Residents – Ignore the Castle Point Local Plan Consultation at your Peril! Changes – Development – Pipe Dreams and Promises are Afoot!

Whether you Bother to Answer, and How you Answer, the CPBC consultation questions, will have a direct bearing on how much Canvey Island changes in the immediate Future! Council Leaders and officers will have appeasement from the Government threat of Intervention in the cpbc Local Plan, uppermost in Mind!

Paddocks

The Paddocks community centre, Canvey Island

Make no Mistake, Development, both Housing and Business, on the most easily accessible large Green Field sites is the likely outcome of Castle Point’s Local Plan consultation!

Once the Local Plan consultation period is over the “Tricks of the Trade” of those charged with “interpreting” the responses come into play.

Previous consultations have seen many objections against cpbc proposed Local Plans, this has led to cpbc council Leaders suggesting that the “non responders” views mirrored those of the council Leaders, despite them having no evidence to suggest they did!

It is for this reason that Canvey Island residents should not only take part in the Local Plan consultation, but also be very careful how the questions are responded to!

Your responses may well be construed to mean something very much different in the hands of cpbc!

An eagerness for infrastructure, may be construed to indicate that residents are in favour of more large developments on Canvey Island. Whilst the Infrastructure improvements amount to pipe dreams, be sure that, the developments will be forthcoming!

Consultation Question 9, for example asks;

Which approach described below in providing new development is most suitable for the borough?

A Intensify existing built up areas with new development and increased density
B Create new settlements in the borough
C Disperse developments to the edge of the built up areas

Before you Answer A, we should remember that Canvey Island is already the most densely Urbanised part of the Borough!
Answer C flies in the face of the Purposes of the Green Belt, that is, “to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas”
Answer B would appear to have implications for residents elsewhere in the Borough.

Answer Question 11 without an explanation and you will be considered to support large site development on Canvey Island!

11. What type of housing do you feel is best suited to your area? (tick all that apply)
Affordable rents, Buy-to-let, Elderly care homes etc, etc.

None of which can be provided without Private Investment, likely off the back of large scale, market price, private development!

Housing allocations
“The new Local Plan 2018 will revisit all potential sites considered within the 2014 and 2016 Plans and assess their future suitability through technical studies,”

No they will not! All Canvey sites, with the exception of the “Triangle Site”, behind the Dutch Cottage Canvey Road, for some reason, were considered to be developable whether Green Belt or Brownfield, or in a Flood Risk zone or Critical Drainage Area, which incidentally the whole of Canvey is!

The Constraints on development revealed in the Technical Studies are all dismissed by cpbc where Canvey Island is concerned!

13a. Do you support the potential residential development at land at Thorney Bay Caravan Park, Canvey Island?

Absolutely irrelevant Consultation question. The owners have permissions in place for a Park Home site and are successfully developing one. CPBC have no jurisdiction over the likely loss of the Roscommon Way final phase land.

14a. Do you support the potential residential development at land at Point Road, Canvey Island?

The Business site was first proposed as a housing development, then returned with a vastly inflated figure of Housing, drawing many, many objections from local residents not least because of the reliance on the tiny roundabout access area and the Flats proposed. And, where would all of the current businesses be re-housed, well no doubt onto more Canvey Green field land around the Roscommon Way area!

20a. Do you support the potential residential development at land west of Benfleet?

Ask ourselves, can we really take more traffic on Canvey Way? And by the way, this is Jotmans Farm if you didn’t recognise the site name.

22a. Do you support the potential residential development at land east of Canvey Road?

Do they really need to ask? This is the Dutch Village Green Belt site, the one that out of the 6,534 Referendum Votes cast, just 56 Canvey Islanders said they were comfortable with persimmons developing!

23a. Do you support the potential residential development at land fronting Canvey Road?

This is beside the Dutch Cottage, Green Belt site, I am sure the extra traffic filing down from Sadlers Farm to Thorney Bay Road every evening, is something we could do without.

26a. Do you support the extension to Roscommon Way?

Given that there is no funding, and that Essex Highways do not wish to burden themselves with future maintenance costs, and that the Thorney Bay part of the land required may not be available for development anyway, this appears simply an unlikely aspiration.

27a. Do you support widening of Sommes Avenue?

Of course we do, but wouldn’t the installation of the cycle way along the North side of Somnes Avenue by ECC, mean that there is no space for the widening of Somnes Avenue by ECC?

29a. Do you support dualling of the northern section of the A130 Canvey Way in the vicinity of Sadlers Farm?

Or put another way, do you support development of Jotmans Farm with access an access onto Canvey Way.
Really?

32a. Do you support improved access to Canvey Island?

Well of course we do, but it will be at the likely expense of much more land released for development. Thurrock Council opposition will not remove their objection and cpbc will have to overturn their own Local Plan Evidence findings 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.”

And Finally, as they say:

34. Do you have any additional comments on the new Local Plan 2018?

Not unless you feel the fact that Canvey Island, the whole of which, is a Critical Drainage Area, is also a tidal Flood Zone 3a area, and has 2 Top Tier Comah sites, meaning should there ever be a need to evacuate the Island, the Emergency Services would be unable to cope with the current levels of Canvey’s population, has some bearing on the Consultation that castle point officers appear to be overlooking or ignoring!

Canvey Island due to be the Scapegoat yet again, following the Local Plan consultation? Mainlanders getting their Act Together!

The Castle Point Local Plan consultation, will mean different things to different people.

A pain in the rrr’s to most, a waste of public funds or a tick box exercise to others.

But to Benfleet mainlanders it is definitely a means of registering disapproval with their council representatives. Previously these consultations have resulted in changes of the Local Plan content in favour of, in particular development of their Green Belt, concerns.

local plan.jpg-pwrt3

Like a bad Smell, this just will not Go Away!

It is evident that there is hope that a concerted effort may achieve more of the same for them, as unlikely as it may seem, in the efforts employed by cpbc to avoid Intervention.

A mainland campaigner has circulated some encouragement to respond to the consultation and advice on how to answer certain questions.

How will your (Canvey Islanders) responses be interpreted by cpbc, I wonder! 

Dear Mainlanders,

A reminder please (hope u don’t mind) regarding the importance of resident’s responding to the CPBC LP consultation.

Apart from the traffic congestion and infrastructure issues and pressures that will be put on our schools, doctors etc………..

It maybe worth noting in your consultation returns such items as:

The SOS has defended the principle of saving green belt sites.

High Court judges have turned down developer’s green belt application appeals on more than one instance.

CPBC should look seriously at increasing density of development on brownfield sites.

Other councils should be approached to consider taking CPBC’s unmet housing need.

Please also read the questions carefully for possible double meanings i.e. ticking Yes to supporting road dualling and new junctions on the A130 may mean you are agreeing to building on green belt land adjacent to the A130.

Yours, T.S.

Direct Link to the Local Plan Consultation portal, where you will need to go through the simple registration process before gaining access to the questionnaire, can be found via this LINK.

Canvey Island, Castle Point heading for Unrecognisable Changes. Unconstrained vision of Industrial and Population Growth?

Canvey Island, Castle Point and South Essex are the subject of plans that will likely leave the area unrecognisable by the mid century!

10112014203 GB

It appears that our part of the Country should be incorporated into Outer London, likely leaving the area as urbanised as the Barking, Dagenham and Redbridge areas, regardless of Constraining issues and policies!

Central Government, Local Government officers and individual Leaders of Boroughs, rather than elected councillors, will be deciding the level of Growth in all of its forms is the area’s Driver of Change!

That is, if “The Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission” have their fingers on the pulse of future changes in the UK. Dependent very much on how the Country’s population growth will continue to increase and how the London economy will provide incomes to relieve the existing “significant pockets of deprivation” following the success / failure of the Brexit decision.

With the usual sprinkling of “Blue Sky” dreaming The Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission* consider “the Thames Estuary; a tapestry of productive places along a global river”.

The commission believes: “that up to 1.3 million new jobs could be created in the Thames Estuary by 2050”

And that:

“A minimum of 1 million homes will be required to support economic growth in the Thames Estuary by 2050. This equates to 31,250 homes per annum”

Despite the lack of Infrastructure the focus of Growth falls on the ever expanding service industries around east London rather than the Midlands and the North of England where the “significant pockets of deprivation” are far more “significant”!

The announcement of growth was made in Purfleet, and Your Thurrock.com reported:-

Proposals for one million new homes and potential creation of 1.3 million jobs by 2050 in the Thames Estuary are to be considered by the government.
The Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission has published its vision for Kent, Essex and London at a meeting in Purfleet.
It also wants to see the extension of the Crossrail project to link up with High Speed One at Ebbsfleet.
It is calling on the government to provide £20m for the development of the rail link to be built by 2029.
The government said it will make an announcement “within the next six months” if it will fund any of the commission’s proposals.
Driverless crossing
Under the plans there would be redevelopment work taking place in Basildon, Castle Point and Southend, with a “new medical research corridor” in north Kent, extending to Canterbury.
Cultural and creative industries will be encouraged to expand in the East London boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Newham, Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Lewisham, and Bexley and Greenwich.
There are also calls to make the Lower Thames Crossing between Kent and Essex suitable for rail transport and the potential for use by driverless vehicles.
The commission said: “The Thames Estuary area faces some real challenges, including significant pockets of deprivation. We believe it has the potential to support growth across the country.”
James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Communities, said: “The Thames Estuary has enormous untapped potential and we are determined to unlock this to drive both local and national economic growth.
“The Commission has provided us with bold and ambitious set of recommendations, which we will consider in detail and respond to in due course.”

* Report Published 25 June 2018

To Intervene or to Not Intervene, that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer, as Simple Minded and Disobedient Canvey Folk suffer, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles.

Much will be read and disclosed over the next year or so, when it will be wondered whether the June 2018 decision by Castle Point council, to rush into a Local Plan schedule, with the prospect of a New Local Plan approved by Council for publication by November followed by submission to the Inspectorate in April 2019, or alternatively to face the prospect of Government Intervention, is the best path to tread, especially where Canvey Island is concerned.

“sometimes orders given to the simple-minded have to be reinforced with a threat, a suggestion that something terrible will happen to the disobedient,”

And so it was, when the cpbc chief executive, the council leader and his deputy, stated the case for cpbc seeking to retain control of its Local Plan making, rather than allow Intervention from the Government Planner.

The councillors and residents were not permitted an address from the Government chief planner, choices and their consequences were expressed only third hand delivered by the cpbc triumvirate.

But whilst keeping control of the Local Plan process is in the very best interests of parts of the mainland, is it also in the best interests of Canvey Island, a reasonable question to ask?

Harking back to the Core Strategy we exposed a Plot by the “Ruling” mainland party to sacrifice Canvey’s Dutch Village Green Belt site, as the sole Green Belt site released for development, so as to appease their mainland concerns and allow publication of a cpbc Core Strategy, local plan!

We remember well, the mainland residents Green Belt campaign group, during the council Task and Finish group meeting, standing to address council members confirming that they agreed and supported the Plan “in its entirety!”

Where was the “united” Borough then?

When the Core Strategy was rejected by the Examining Inspector due to the unreasonable Housing Growth Distribution and the Dutch Village site being, a Green Belt site within a Flood Risk Zone, the cpbc ceo made sure that the Dutch Village remained within the list of Green Belt sites for development, whilst adding some mainland sites to meet the Housing Need of the Borough, within the 2014 daft Local Plan!

Of course the retention of the Canvey Dutch Village site, despite the Inspector’s opinion, meant that one large mainland site would be saved from development.

Now by returning to the 2014 draft local Plan as a starting place for the 2018 Local Plan, concerns return as to whether it is intelligent and responsible for Canvey residents to put their faith, as we are being told and advised so to do, within the “Ruling” party’s successful motion to Control the 2018 local Plan.

“sometimes orders given to the simple-minded have to be reinforced with a threat, a suggestion that something terrible will happen to the disobedient,”

The threat has been delivered and something terrible may still apparently happen!

We are reminded that the Dutch Village site is owned by Persimmon, implying that this would speed the process through Planning resulting in an early supply of Housing, For The Borough!

Meanwhile, the more lucrative development sites elsewhere in the Borough would, following this logic, remain undeveloped for longer, especially when the ongoing development of approximately 900 Sandy Bay Park Homes, also on Canvey Island, are put into the equation!

This may encourage some conspiracy theory, has the call for sites from cpbc entailed dealings between officers members and developers as to which site or sites would be released in which order, specifically if the developer were to agree to initially focus on Dutch Village first?

As it stands in practise cpbc focus on applying constraints on development in the so called “virgin” Green Belt areas of the Borough. Canvey Island Flood Risk is also applied to the constraints so as to limit numbers, but that constraint is applied to housing Need numbers across the whole Borough, rather than Canvey Island in particular!

Making cpbc’s approach to the application of the Sequential Test simply contrived and, a Farce!

But can Canvey residents be certain that the Government Planner would apply to Canvey Island, the supposed Constraints on Housing Development such as Flood Risk, the threat to what remains of its Green Belt and the Hazardous Industrial sites any less fairly than the cpbc “Ruling” party and officers?

Especially going by their proven Local Planning track record!

Under Cllr Riley’s regime Canvey fared better than during any of the previous attempts at Plan making.

Now Cllr Riley has been side lined by the Triumvirate now in control, and previously chiefly responsible for the 2014 daft Local Plan, despite two of them apparently also claiming to support the 2016 Plan’s attempt to constrain the borough’s Housing Numbers!

To mainlanders these thoughts may sound pessimistic and overly cautious, however being fed rumours and not having the access to decision makers that some residents appear to have, however furtive, leads to a lack of an Open and Transparent Local Plan process.

Faith in Leaders must be Earned, Blind Faith is a dangerous option.

PLANING-APPEAL-SIGN

 

Watch this Space! Castle Point agree to cut corners on a Local Plan, Green Belt in the Mix + 90,000 houses for South Essex coming to an area near you soon!

Castle Point council, last evening agreed a strict timetable to put in place a Local Plan that would be both legally compliant and Sound.

The new Local Plan will be based around the withdrawn 2014 version and will include taking consideration of previous consultation responses, thereby eliminating the need to alter and delay the Plan following a further consultation period.

local plan.jpg-pwrt3

Like a bad Smell, this just will not Go Away!

The previously objectionable Regional Spatial Strategy appears to have been replaced by the Joint Strategic Plan (see below) which appears to impose a similar intense high level of Housing Delivery onto south Essex, and which Castle Point will be pressured to provide its share, whether constraints exist or ot.

The Canvey Island independent party abstained on the grounds that the intended use of Green Belt for Housing Development went against their principles and policies.

As far as Canvey Island is concerned we have now entered a situation of doubt, surrounding the distribution of Housing Growth.

What is clear is that this Plan serves the delivery of Housing Growth over the immediate, and upto the 15 year term.

The “promised” infrastructure will remain as it has previously, reliant on Government and County releasing funds.

The Big Question will remain unanswered, following last evening’s decision.

That is, would the Government’s Chief Planner have applied the existing and unique Constraints on Canvey Island Housing growth in a fairer method than those emerging from the Castle Point council controlled Local Plan?

For better or worse, we may never know, or do we?

That is if cpbc keep to schedule and can satisfy the Secretary of State on the Local Development Plan’s timetable and delivery!

“The Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA) consists of Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point, Essex County, Rochford, Southend-on-Sea, and Thurrock Councils.” – “along with preparing a Joint Strategic Plan for South Essex would assist future plans for development to ensure new transport links, health and social infrastructure, business and skill opportunities are all included and will ensure that the 90,000 homes that have been identified as being need across south Essex over the next twenty years are built.”