Tag Archives: congestion

Oh the Irony! Councillors Propose a Referendum!

Canvey Islanders feel they are Not Listened to!

Hence they held a Referendum to Protect what is left of the Island’s Green Belt, then a Petition was completed objecting to large scale development.

All to No Avail.

Both Referendum and Petition were Ignored by castle point borough council!

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Now we learn that it is the intention of Rochford councillors to carry out a Referendum over the district’s Local Plan.

Councillor John Mason, leader of the Green and Rochford District Residents Group said that during the early stages of the new housing plan, residents have complained “they feel that they will not be listened to” about their council and councillors.

No doubt Rochford council will spot the opportunity of the “Tick Box” exercise, as have castle point council, in suggesting this fills the community involvement requisite!

You may well remember that the Canvey Green Belt Campaign supporters went out in 16 groups of 2, over a two week period seeking the views of residents about cpbc plans to develop Canvey Island Green Belt.

Over 6,500 votes were cast and under MP Rebecca Harris, cllrs Ray Howard and Dave Blackwell’s observation an objection via 99.13% of voters was recorded!

Typically the daft Local Plan 2014 ignored these views!

Following this a Petition was raised by a group of 6 Canvey Ladies and a total of 12,000 names were added to their Petition list. The Petition was against large scale development on Canvey, whilst the opportunity to protect the local builders could remain.

The Petition has also had No Impact with those controlling cpbc!

This despite the constraints that would normally be applied to development in areas such as Canvey!

Whilst Rochford does not have constraining issues, such as 2 Hazardous Industrial sites, being in a Flood Risk Zone 3 area, having the access issues that Canvey is restricted by nor the whole of the town being a Critical Drainage Area, we do wish the Rochford councillors success in their Referendum.

Far greater success and acknowledgement than Canvey Island residents received by the controlling group of our local authority!

The Echo article on the Rochford Referendum news is available via this LINK HERE.

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Canvey Green Belt in or out of the Local Plan? Nothing to be learned at Local Liaison Meetings for sure!

The “eagerly awaited” update on the new Local Plan was finally announced to the attendees at the Canvey Island Liaison meeting on 13th February. Senior Officers filled us in with the same details that we were aware of as long ago as last October!

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A Demographic survey was being worked on, the 5 Year Housing supply had been identified, as voted on and adopted by Council last October.
Nothing new there, other than the initial 5 year housing supply totalled 1,200 dwellings as opposed to the just under 1,000 list announced at Council.
We heard that the 6 – 15 year supply of housing part of the Local Plan is being discussed at present. All areas included in the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment, Green Belt and all, are included.
If the Officers are not in a position to identify the 6 – 15 year supply after 4 months of discussions I would expect once they are made known they will be controversial.
Who for, is the question.
A new issue was introduced to help / hinder site selection the identification of traffic hotspots.
Why this should be of importance at this late stage of the process probably suggests the protection of politically sensitive sites that may be more sustainable than alternative, less sustainable sites, if you get what I mean!
This was in some ways confirmed when the Officer mentioned stopping development “where we don’t want it!”
Who did he mean by “we”?
A schedule for the Local Plan was confirmed that indicated the outstanding evidence documents being available so as to announce the 6 – 15 housing allocation (2,000 dwellings at the rate currently indicated) ready for presentation to Full Council in May.
I guess it may be complete coincidence that May is also the expected date of the result of the Glebelands Appeal.
The Officers were questioned as to the disappearance of housing numbers in the Thorney Bay development in the recent approval of the Outline Application. Thorney Bay being the single largest development site in the Local Plan housing allocation.
The Officer indicated this was of no consequence as the numbers had always been “up to 600” dwellings.
Whether his “past tense wording” now indicates that the potential is for there now being more than 600 dwellings developed, time alone will tell. The next Cabinet Agenda reveals a new attempt to count the numbers residing at Thorney Bay.
This is needed to prove betterment of people at risk of flood to pass Environment Agency concerns, ie less residents on site, and alternatively to show a nett gain in housing numbers, ie more houses (flats) than existing caravans! Complicated but I think you know where this is leading.
Results of the new Local Plan Issues consultation were available.
Surprisingly in Question 1 “what is good (strengths),” Green belt featured as only the 9th highest ranked. Green / Open Space was ranked 1st. Seafront / Coastal managed a highly respectable 7th position especially in the light that this had the potential to draw “votes” being of interest to less than half of the Borough, on Canvey Island.
Question 3 was dominated by Development causing congestion, Rank 1st and Development causing over development / over population, Rank 2nd, whilst Question 4 revealed Third Road, presumably off Canvey, as the 2nd Ranked concern.
For the Council decision makers to select areas for housing based on congestion above sustainability factors would make no sense. This would be akin to shuffling development sites around the Borough in preference to holding out for infrastructure improvements and selecting the correct sites.
This consultation revealed that Castle Point residents were sensitive to changes that are likely to lead to an urbanisation of the Borough.
The question that Local Plans must answer is “can change be forced on us?”
By rights the answer from the Councillors should be No, as they are elected to represent the residents.
From Government if the answer is Yes, then the promises that the Localism Bill hinted at should be made clear as to it’s limitations.
Residents are not, indeed cannot be, against any development at all. What they are against is development that has major impact.
Clearly there are Government incentives for the Borough Council to accept development, but should finance be a driving force or just a consideration?
There may well be a price to pay for the preservation, or loss, of our Green Belt.
This loss will be felt by the loss of open space and, depending which areas are affected, in changes to Councillor personel.
Mind you, when was the last time consultation was taken into account?
Otherwise it would have been called negotiation.

A chance to comment on Castle Point, roads, traffic congestion, loss of Green Belt, a third road and the quality of life. Part2

During the Development Committee meeting to consider the service road linking the Roscommon Way with the Calor Gas site on Canvey Island it was made clear by Calor that they were unwilling to supply funding to support the last extension to Roscommon Way as far as Thorney Bay Camp. Funding will now be more reliant on County Council Highways, this becoming even more apparent as the 106 Agreements for Thorney Bay were included in the Outline Planning permission for the site agreed during the same meeting, without mention to road extension funding.

So the expectation for local residents will be for 5 – 10 years of development and the accompanying lorry movements along Thorney Bay Road and Long Road whilst the site is developed.

Another application agreed at the meeting was for a prime industrial unit 48 x 63 Metres in size with a frontage onto Charfleets Road, being given approval for use as a Dance Studio!

The regeneration that the Roscommon Way was promoted as bringing to the Charfleets Industrial Estate appears to be no more than an aspiration.
Those of us queueing in the daily commute on and off the Island will be aware that as is the case on the homeward journey if a road is widened or improved traffic is only delivered to the “pinch points” more speedily.
The Five Bells towards Sadlers Farm junction can be quick, but for Canvey and Benfleet bound traffic, the pinch point that is the traffic lights at Sadlers Farm cannot disperse traffic any faster than the Tarpots and Waterside Farm roundabout allows.

The same will happen should the last extension to Roscommon Way be built. Traffic leaving the Island will be presented to the RSPB roundabout quickly and then will end up in a longer queue than at present along Canvey road for Waterside Roundabout.

Canvey is densely urbanised, the road network is based on what existed before the heavy development over the previous 50 years. The two large developments already proposed have not been strategically positioned.
No doubt the residents on the Mainland can point to their own commute issues.

There was a call from Canvey Councillors for a new traffic survey ahead of the Local Plan, this does not appear to be happening, as housing development sites have been allocated.

In the absence of official figures, Canvey Green Belt Campaign Group have held their own un-scientific survey.
This was conducted slightly ahead of the middle of the rush hour, morning and evening, along the distance between Waterside Farm and Sadlers Farm roundabouts.

A distance of 2.6 miles, taking in 28 journies.

The results showed the outward journey on average is faster than the inward journey, as can be expected. It did not take into account the time / speed taken queuing / to reach the roundabouts, just journey time between the two points. On no occasion were timings taken whilst an accident or breakdown had occurred.

Outward Bound: The average journey time took 7.74 minutes at an average speed of just 20.15 mph.

Inward Bound: The average journey time took 11.25 minutes at an average speed of just 13.86 mph.

Whilst the average times do not appear too long, it must be remembered Canvey way is a 50mph clearway.

What is very apparent is, in the unlikely event of an evacuation of the Island being necessary through a flood warning or an industrial incident, the potential for chaos bringing Canvey Way to a standstill is almost inevitable!

The potential for an accident or breakdown to cause gridlock is apparent and this would not go un-noticed by potential business investors in the area. There are many locations nearer to the M25 far more attractive for business location.

As has been recorded previously on this blog there is little likelihood in the medium term of Canvey Way being dualled. A similar timespan may be considered likely for the Roscommon Way extension. For the Thorney Bay development to be considered sustainable access needs improvement. 106 Agreements negotiated so far for Thorney Bay and The Point will go nowhere near providing any such road improvements.

It could be considered unreasonable for residents to be expected to absorb the proposed influx of population that the developments are likely to yield whilst infrastructure stagnates.