Tag Archives: consultation

Under the Coronavirus Radar, Secrecy, Lack of Transparency and Exploitation, Castle Point Borough Council’s idea of a Local Plan Process!

The Covid-19 Pandemic may have provided Castle Point Council with the perfect opportunity to distract residents from ongoing Housing Development desires across Canvey Island and the mainland. Whilst an apparent Blackout on Local Plan news and information leaves CPBC with a window of opportunity for avoiding accountability.

Residents who took part, in good faith, in the Local Plan Consultation have had their names made public, yet remain unable to view what major Developers have planned for the area, what OIKOS and Calor Gas positions are, what little Infrastructure monies are actually available via Essex County Council, and what the Environment Agency have funds for where improvements to Canvey Island’s sea defences are required, as their actual submissions remain secret!

Castle Point Council’s intention to not be Open and Transparent with local Residents is apparent, when they say;

“The Pre-submission plan, associated evidence documents, together with all the representations made and the statement of representations will be submitted to the Secretary of State for an examination in public. We will contact you when the submission has taken place.”

I have contacted cpbc councillors to get this intention confirmed, or whether CPBC will allow residents to view the Consultation submissions, but alas have received no reply!

However, we have seen Essex County Council’s response to the CPBC Local Plan and they highlight certain areas of concern, especially for Canvey Island Residents.

Major development which CPBC intend for Canvey, the Dutch Village fields and the Triangle site, both Green Belt areas, are included in the Local Plan, despite them being Sequentially unsuitable due to Flood Risk.

CPBC openly disregard Planning Guidance by their desire to develop on Canvey Island, by “suggesting” that development will not take place until such time that there is no longer a 5 Year Housing Supply across the whole of the Borough!

The CPBC Local Plan is scheduled to cover a 15 Year period. A major site supporting the early part of the Local Plan’s Housing Supply is the contentious Jotmans Farm site, Prime Green Belt edging a built up area. the site is currently intended for 850 dwellings, this total protected by CPBC’s Master-planning day dream.

“The 24 housing site allocations are a mix of 12 brownfield sites within the urban area and 12 sites outside the urban area, including on Green Belt land, providing 974 and 2,745 new homes respectively,” of a Nett Total Housing Supply of 5,284

Canvey Island sites, “The site(s) can only come forward when the housing supply remaining falls below 5 years supply, in order to meet the sequential test for flood risk”

However the Jotmans farm site, known as, “HO9 Land West of Benfleet , Benfleet”, being the largest site off of the Island and “potentially” within the Local Plan, is expected to supply 850 Dwellings.

However, there is very little chance that Essex County Council or other Highway agencies will find Funding for the aspiration for a Roundabout and dedicated carriageway onto and along Canvey Way, from the Jotmans farm site to Sadlers Farm Junction!

This could be interpreted as there being little chance of Jotmans Farm, the Land west of Benfleet, being developed until, at the earliest the very latter years of the Local Plan period, or that Persimmons will introduce Development in Phased Stages of perhaps 250 – 300 dwellings per Phase, getting around the obligation to install an access road and junction off of Canvey Way. Or, even worse still for Benfleet residents with eventually the whole new Estate having access via the existing road network!

On one hand Castle Point Council actively promote Jotmans Farm and Canvey Island Green Belt sites, despite all of these sites requiring extensive Infrastructure improvements, and yet land at North West Thundersley is withheld / protected for exactly the same requirement; Infrastructure improvements!

“The Draft Plan notes that some landowners have promoted the above site but, as there are multiple landowners in this area , there are currently no comprehensive development plans that are deliverable. Additionally, there would be a commitment and significant investment in infrastructure given the site is significantly constrained by a lack of appropriate access and risks to the strategic network, as well as other infrastructure requirements to support growth in this location addressing matters such as water supply, drainage and energy infrastructure and community services, affecting the viability and likelihood of development in the plan period . The majority Of the land at North West Thundersley, the “Blinking Owl” site, highway improvements which would be required to support development at North West Thundersley are not currently funded, although initial discussions have taken place between ECC as the Highway Authority, landowners and developers. Fur- thermore, the government’s commitment to the Lower Thames Crossing, will have a significant impact on the strategic highway network (A13, A127, A130). ECC has advised that further development which affects the highway network will not be supported until fu nding for the A127/A130 Fairglen Interchange is committed and in place. ECC ’s previous position on this site remains unchanged, namely that ECC would not support any new development and employment allocations until the proposed long term transport scheme for the junction is implemented; hence the safeguarding of the site is only supported subject to the prior implementation of the long term highway improvement scheme for the A127/A130 Fairglen Interchange”

Canvey Residents should note where Essex County Council point out; “highway improvements which would be required to support development at North West Thundersley are not currently funded,

This is also the case where Canvey Island Sea Defence improvements against Tidal Flooding is concerned, these also being “not currently funded,” as the Local Plan supporters amongst Castle Point Council members know so well!

And yet land on Canvey Island continues to be EXPLOITED!

Despite Councillor denials, how true this Headline turned out to be!

Local Plan Deadline Day approaches. 12 Days only, left to give Your opinion on 5,280 Homes development on Canvey Island and in Castle Point.

We have until Just Friday Week, the 14th February to comment on Castle Point Council’s Plans to develop 5,280 dwellings term of the Local Plan.

If are concerned at the impact that this level of development will have on Canvey Island, then there are just 12 more Days to make your concerns known.

The 231 Page Local Plan document, the Evidence Base and the Consultation Response Booklet for residents to make their concerns or comments known to our Local Council, can be found HERE.

Canvey Island Town Council meet Tonight at 7.30pm to discuss the new Local Plan, in the Town Council offices.

There are a couple of Meetings arranged to assist Residents.

Daws Heath and Hadleigh residents at 7pm Wed 5th Feb at Deanes School canteen, arranged by Cllr Hart.

And at Moorings behind Anchor Pub WED 5TH FEB 7:30 PM

REMEMBER the LOCAL PLAN CONSULTATION CLOSES at 5PM, FRIDAY 14th FEBRUARY!

Canvey Paddocks Consultation Report reveals new Community Hall Costs Spiral! Incompetence or Manipulation?

The cost of rebuilding Canvey Paddocks Community Centre looks likely to soar, whilst CPBC’s Housing scheme budgeting also appears wide of the mark, according to figures within the agenda paperwork for next week’s Castle Point Cabinet meeting!

This meeting, the first following the Paddocks Consultation reveals:

At the Cabinet meeting on 16th October 2018 it was resolved to demolish the existing facility and replace it with a new, modern facility

The Consultation revealed, “In total 613 questionnaires were submitted. Of the 613 responses 589 were from Castle Point residents and 540 of them lived on Canvey Island.”

“In terms of what people would like to see in the new facility, there was strong support for a licensed bar and café. The majority of people favoured the provision of a large hall capable of accommodating circa 500 people seated but there was also strong support for a range of smaller hall sizes”

“maintenance of the new facility was a key concern as was retention of the splash park and free car parking. Many respondents stated that they did not want any houses/flats to be built on the site and many commented that they would prefer the existing facility to be refurbished

“Specialist advice is sought in order to better understand potential future demand for larger scale entertainment events;

” The Strategic Director (Resources) in consultation with the Cabinet member for Finance, Policy and Resources is given delegated authority to drawn down from reserves the funding required to cover the cost of the specialist advisors;”

” A design brief is produced for a modern, multi-functional, flexible community facility capable of accommodating both small groups, i.e. less than 20 people through to functions catering for up to 500 seated guests;”

” An architect is appointed to develop conceptual building designs having regard to the design brief;”

Later in the Cabinet agenda paper it was revealed how the estimated costs for a NEW PADDOCKS had either Spiralled or been surpressed ahead of the original Cabinet decision to demolish the current Community Centre;

The estimated cost of building a new facility was originally estimated at £4.3m but this will need to be revised once the final building size and design has been agreed. An estimated additional £1.4m will be required for the works to the car park.”

Was this misleading information, so as to justify bringing  forward the whole development project?

 By that I mean the inclusion of Housing / Flatted development on the Paddocks site and the suggestion that the NHS facility  based in the old Town Council building, of local historic and architectural significance, be sold or used for development! Cllr Smith was reported as saying “that any future sale of the building is not directly linked to work at the Paddocks site. But he did admit the building may sold to make the most of council assets and money could subsequently be used at the Paddocks site.” Echo 12th Feb 2018.

If you remember the original estimates for the Project, (as councillors appear sensitive to have called the scheme a Plan), were £4,300,000 to rebuild, or £4,100,000 to regenerate. Now it appears that not only will a Rebuild cost £5,700,000, but will also require the added costs of hiring a team of specialist consultants to inform us of the ”potential future demand for larger scale entertainment events”, whilst “An architect is appointed to develop conceptual building designs having regard to the design brief”!

Surely a visit to view similar new and successful Community Hall projects, by an officer, a cabinet member and representatives of Canvey Town Council would be a more economical approach. From there, designs and experiences of how the new community halls had fared could be made available and utilised for our purposes, rather than starting from scratch!

Before CPBC part with our Cash they may wish to view what can be achieved in the right hands and for far less, elsewhere. See Here

Not only has the Paddocks rebuild costs been projected wide of the mark but the Cabinet Agenda reveals other apparent miscalculations. This time over the supply of temporary accommodation and ongoing affordable housing in Castle Point

At Hatley Gardens the chosen Tender “has a total expected cost of £806k, including a prudent contingency allowance of £70k. This is £102k higher than the original budgeted cost of £704k approved by Council in February 2019”

Whilst at Church Close “The budgeted cost for the scheme agreed at Cabinet in February 2019 was £594k over two years’, the revised anticipated price is in the region of £1.3m including an increased contingency.  This would equate to a build cost of £325k per property.”

“An evaluation of the local housing market showed significant variations between the mainland and Canvey Island, with property prices on Canvey Island for semidetached properties being 20% lower than on the main land at £260k compared to £322k.   In the price range £200k to £275k there were three 2 bedroom and one 3 bedroom properties for sale on the mainland and 113 on Canvey Island ranging up to 4 bedrooms.  This raises concerns over the value for money of this development on Canvey Island.”

Hopefully some realistic and transparent financial decisions will be made, however, it appears for these Housing considerations, debate will be held with the Press and Public excluded!

Apologies if this does not read as quite such a “Good News” Echo story!

What a recent £1.1M Community Hall looks like!

Pantomime at Canvey Island! CPBC “under no obligation to provide a new Paddocks Community Hall” Consultation Castration!

The Simple Folk of Canvey Island could be forgiven for thinking that the Pantomime Season has arrived late. The Paddocks Consultation Road show‘s first session was conducted at Canvey Library, despite the CPBC cabinet suggesting that Canvey Councillors would be on hand to “inform” the residents of the future plans for the building, just 1 Canvey ward representative was present alongside 2 mainland ward reps. Nevertheless the information available to the Public merely prompted even more questions and concerns.

Paddocks Consultation Event. Photograph credit: “Tell the Councillors” Facebook page.

The CPBC website states

“Castle Point Council has recently decided to provide a brand new Community venue to replace the existing old and out-dated one on Canvey Island.” However the councillors present at the Library event were keen to point out that “we”( the Local Authority) were under no obligation to provide a new Community Hall nor even maintain the existing Hall.

This fact was confirmed by CPBC Cabinet within; Cabinet Agenda Oct 2018

“Community and leisure facilities, whilst important to residents are discretionary functions for a local authority.  Except in cases where a discretionary function makes a positive financial contribution most authorities are endeavouring to scale down or discontinue these services entirely.  

In order to safeguard any new facility at the Paddocks from threat of discontinuation at a later date, it is desirable that the facility is self-sufficient.  It would be illogical for the Council to take a decision now to provide a new facility which would result in an increased financial burden in years to come.”

Apparently the Simple Folk of Canvey should be grateful that CPBC, are even considering the possibility of re-building the Paddocks.

On face value this implies that the Paddocks site is for CPBC to do with whatever they wish! Once again they continued to insist that there were no plans for a new Hall, nor any Housing Development. We assume they mean Plans, as in Development Plans, rather than plans, in the strictest sense.

The attending councillors were even suggesting that a new build Hall may even have funding sourced from CPBC’s own funds. We heard cllr C.Maclean state that “we can deliver a Hall” during the October 2018 cabinet meeting

This is in direct contradiction to the CPBC Finance officer who considered that; “the financial forecast currently indicates an unbalanced budget from 2019/20 meaning that the Council would need to rely on the use of reserves in order to maintain services until the budget is balanced.  Any new / additional revenue commitments would further impact on the Council’s ability to set a balanced budget in future years.”

Given this financial context, it is essential that the Council ensure that every opportunity to reduce ongoing costs is explored.  The options explored within this report would have a positive impact on the Council’s financial plans.

“Community and leisure facilities, whilst important to residents are discretionary functions for a local authority.  Except in cases where a discretionary function makes a positive financial contribution most authorities are endeavouring to scale down or discontinue these services entirely.”

So, it would be reasonable to expect that funding for a new “Paddocks” Community Hall, would need to be sourced by releasing assets. The most likely is to release part of the Paddocks Site for Housing / Flatted development. Why CPBC are so reluctant to admit this we can only guess, maybe due to May fast approaching perhaps!

The contents of the Consultation Questionairre, appears to follow the form of a Residents wish list. This can be countered by CPBC by the apparent lack of the current Halls levels of usage, which are low! Given the financial constraints, the “wish list” will be weighted down, by there being no guarantees that a New Hall’s facilities would suddenly become supported by the public!

Despite the fact that “hire charges for the Paddocks are relatively inexpensive.” “the Main Hall (largest hall) has an occupancy level of 18% and generates 31% of overall income.”*

Whilst “4.4 The key driver for the business case was to identify a financially sustainable option which meets the needs of the community.”**

The 18% occupancy levels could be used to indicate that a New Community Hall of, say, 30% of the size of the current Paddocks Community Hall would be sufficient!

A Consultation attendee commented; “What was evident is that most people taking part in the consultation were unaware that the new build was CPBC approved option following the outcome of the business case study. When asked about the funding for the New Hall It was strongly emphasised that there were no plans to develop the site in order to finance the new build, however the statement that other option were that funding could come from Government Grants and Council reserves brought the consultation process down to a discreditable level”

And as a point of clarity to one particular Canvey ward councillor and member of the Development Committee , present at the Library – Paddocks Consultation event, we would point out that; “There is always potential, whilst unlikely, for the sea wall to be damaged in extreme storm weather and tidal conditions which could lead to coastal flooding.”

However relevant to a new Paddocks Community Hall, and as typically stated by the CPBC professional Planning Case Officers, the current requirements for development on Canvey Island require Safe Refuge in the case of Tidal Flooding; “The ground floor level of the property is therefore liable to flooding under such circumstances, however the first floor would remain dry and offer a place of refuge from flooding. “

The mainland ward representative / Development Comm member, must surely have been mistaken when he feigned surprise at being unaware that a New Canvey Paddocks Community Hall would NOT be granted Planning Permission without a First Floor Safe Refuge!  Adding to the build cost of course.

Caught between a rock and a Hard Place, Canvey Residents must consider what participation in the Paddocks Consultation could mean. A low response would be taken to indicate, little need for a new Community Hall. Equally, little enthusiasm would indicate a potentially little used facility meaning a much smaller Hall being required.

Either way, and depending on what Developers consider to be Viable, the % of Residents Responding and the enthusiasm of the responses, will have bearing on whether a new Community Hall is delivered at all, and of what size.

*,  ** October 2018 Cabinet Agenda

“SAVE THE PADDOCKS” Consultation Drop-in Session. Thursday 31st January 10am – 2.30pm. Opportunity for Canvey Islanders to make their views known.

Whilst it appears that the existing Paddocks is to be condemned to history by a decision of the Castle Point Borough Council cabinet, residents of Canvey Island should still take the opportunity to make known what they feel is the requirement for the new Community Centre, should it eventually be built.

A Paul VArker, we assume cllr Varker, has posted on local facebook pages, that an apparently official cpbc “drop in session” has been arranged for Thursday 31st January, between 10am and 2.30pm at the Paddocks Hall.

The Consultation is being conducted by cpbc as to what the public feel should be included within a new community hall.

The Consultation is available to access on the cpbc website, see Link below, however it is being encouraged by the group of Canvey Ladies, who have collected petitions recently, that residents who would rather discuss the issue, making their views known face to face, and fill in a Paper Version of the Consultation Form, should make use of this Drop – In session.

A new hall, is totally reliant on a large part of the Paddocks Community Grounds being developed for more Housing / Flats. There is no local funding for this venture and cpbc are unwilling to release any money for maintenance, repairs, nor improvements from the cpbc coffers!

No notice was taken of the views of Canvey Islanders over whether the existing Hall should be retained, so it is Essential that the next moves are not determined by people from off of the Island.

Whilst this is a cpbc building, since the old Canvey Urban Council was disbanded, the loss of the children’s area, the current Paddocks, new Housing / Flats and the Car Parking issues will directly impact upon Canvey Islanders, and not mainlanders!

It may not have gone un-noticed that cpbc councillors, many so strongly in favour of Brexit and unwilling to accept decisions imposed on the UK by the EU, are quite content to impose their own views and decisions specifically upon Canvey Island residents.

Therefore your views should be made known!

A direct link to the online cpbc Paddocks Consultation can be found HERE.

Paddocks

The Paddocks community centre, Canvey Island. Soon to be destined to the History Books, alongside many Canvey Island Landmarks.

Local Housing Need, Calculations due to change, in light of significant reduction in Numbers!

The approach to assessing Local Housing Need, in the light of the present method of Calculation resulting in Lower Housing Need numbers, is due to change.

The Government has entered a period of Consultation.

The Consultation is due to end on the 7th December, just 9 days after Castle Point Council are due to approve a draft copy of their 2018 Local Plan.

The publication of new household projections by the Office for National Statistics has led to a significant reduction in the overall numbers generated by the standard method for assessing local housing need.

This consultation sets out proposals to update planning practice guidance on housing need assessment to be consistent with increasing housing supply.

This consultation also proposes clarifications of national planning policy on:
housing land supply
the definition of deliverable
appropriate assessment

A Link to the Government Consultation can be found HERE.

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.

CPBC Local Plan capitulation on Green Belt Housing Growth – Canvey Island, Jotmans Farm and Glebelands Back in the Frame?

And so the time has finally arrived when the good people of Canvey Island and the Castle Point mainland get to see an inkling of what cpbc have-planned for us, in the way of development in the Borough!

Contained in the special council meeting agenda and looking like a speed writing composition time trial, is the Local Plan timetable required to satisfy the Government’s secretary of state, the Rt Hon James Brokenshire.

On first viewing the cpbc 2018 Local Plan could be renamed the Marchant Plan, after the cpbc chief executive (ceo), given the upset this is going to cause local Residents throughout the Borough!

local plan.jpg-pwrt3

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

Council members have been issued with an Agenda, which appears based entirely on the cpbc ceo’s interpretation of Government requirement, followed by a list of consequential threats if actions are not followed. Once again council ward members are getting this information 3rd hand.

Over the course of the next 12 months we will learn what the new leadership of the Castle Point borough council are made of. Whether Infrastructure is delivered in good time as per recent promises, or whether Housing land is released on the recommendation of the “professional officers” and requirement of Government.

The cpbc leadership itself will be judged by actions alone!

The new leader, representing 88,000 residents, was elected by just 1,241 voters.

His deputy we blogged of in April 2013 thus; During the debate during Council’s announcement of the 5 year Housing Supply, Cabinet Member cllr Stanley referred to the Borough’s silent majority of residents that may well be in favour of large scale housing development in the Borough.
If cllr Stanley is correct, the Council will need to communicate with, and motivate those residents, for it appears by the reaction against these proposals the new draft Local Plan 2014 will be unpopular.
The issue, especially for Mainland residents is whether they believe the Council have come up with a sound 5 year housing supply and whether they can come to terms and accept the sites selected.

During the recent 2018 call for sites, it is possible to see on social media that there were some mainland residents willing to travel onto Canvey Island seeking, what they considered to be developable sites to add to the cpbc register.

One commented “I drove virtually the whole of Castle Point (yes including Canvey) and listed plots that could be used for development where they had fallen in to rack and ruin” – “There was a lot!!!! More on mainland than Canvey by the way. The issue though is ownership and getting it sorted for development. Some would need compulsory purchase. They are ‘green’ spots but not Greenbelt.”

Very noble of him, but I would add he did so with absolutely no concern towards the other Constraints that should be applied when considering increasing the Housing Development, and Population of Canvey Island.

These people have some influence within the “Ruling” political party at cpbc!

Green Belt Campaign groups and Residents objecting to development, is recorded within the 2018 Local Plan paperwork as being a Threat!

Creating a High Risk to the Local Plan.

A Threat described as: “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.

Logistically this could cause a higher volume of work in the processing and analysis of representations than accounted for in the LDS timetable, which could set it back. To help reduce this risk, responses from the 2014 and 2016 draft Local Plan consultations will be used to assess public opinion. The 2014 and 2016 draft Local Plans will form the majority of the new Local Plan so previous consultation responses as well as updated evidence will help inform the Plan.

The first admission that the intention is to allow NO NEW Consultation Submissions! If you did not make a submission you will have No Say!

And that the intention is to revert back to the old daft 2014 Local Plan, the one that caused so much political disruption and saw 5 UKIP members elected onto the council to represent mainland wards, and also the downfall of cpbc leader P.Challis!

The Agenda paperwork includes these concerning passages:

“Assessment of all sites will be carried out in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) as revised, and the National Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) – “assessing the suitability, availability and achievability of sites including whether the site is economically viable.”

The new Local Plan will have a timeframe of at least 15 years: however the housing delivery policies and site allocations will have a shorter timeframe of between 5 to 10 years. This shorter timeframe for the housing policy elements will ensure an upturn in housing delivery in the short term.

In 2017, the Government consulted on a standardised methodology for calculating housing needs, and this identified a need for 342 dwellings per annum in Castle Point.

Therefore the objectively assessed housing need (OAN) for Castle Point will be 342 dwellings per annum and previous evidence suggests that only approximately 100 dwellings per annum can be identified on brownfield sites. Whilst the plan must recognise nationally important physical and policy constraints, it is clear both from the evidence and from advice from the Chief Planner and consultants acting for the Secretary of State that some land in the Green Belt will need to be considered for housing.

Since all South Essex authorities are constrained by Green Belt, concerns are likely to be expressed again by those authorities if the Council has not taken difficult decisions on some Green Belt release.

The most important issue to bear in mind is that the Secretary of State needs confidence that the Council will prepare a local plan. If he detects that there is an unwillingness to commit to an accelerated timetable to have a plan prepared quickly, or to commit to difficult decisions regarding the allocation of sites for housing (including those in the Green Belt), then he will direct that others (either a County Council, or consultants) prepare a plan for him, at cost to the Council. If that were to occur the Council will then play no further part in planmaking.

Notwithstanding this work, and acknowledging that the plan must recognise nationally important physical and policy constraints, it is nonetheless clear that some land in the Green Belt will need to be considered for housing. Informal indications from emerging evidence and technical assessments, as well as discussions with Ministry officials and consultants, suggest that the figure in the new Local Plan will need to be significantly closer to the OAN as a reasonable and appropriate target.

For this reason, sites indicated for development in the draft New Local Plan 2014 will need to be considered again. For the avoidance of doubt these will include all those sites identified in the draft New Local Plan 2014 for development.

It is highly likely that almost all suitable, available and achievable sites will be required for the plan, including those in the Green Belt, to achieve a target which is likely lower than the OAN but which would be acceptable at Examination.

The first contentious point will be to learn which councillors will be allowed to participate in the Local Plan meetings, for amongst the council members maybe land owners, property agents and those with registered interests that may be considered to influence decision making.

Next week’s meeting will be the first in which we will see whether constraints such as Infrastructure, Green Belt, Hazardous Industries, and Flood Risk are priorities or just sound bites to be shelved in succumbing to the ceo’s interpreted Government’s cpbc Local Plan!

Let’s have no councillor Crocodile tears, this Plan has been 11+ years in the making!

The Paddocks, public meeting Rejected now out to Consultation. Every scrap of Canvey Brownfield available for Development!

A step back to assess the bigger picture may be wise.

Paddocks

The Paddocks community centre, Canvey Island

The Adopted 1998 Local Plan has a blanket no development of Green Belt in the Borough, whilst any later emerging Local Plan has been attacked for proposing various levels of Green Belt development.

Government apparently supports Green Belt reviews through Local Plan processes and if not enough Brownfield sites are available to meet projected Housing Needs for an area, evidence and arguments will be considered over the release of Green Belt for release and development.

Castle Point is likely to not have enough Brownfield sites to meet its Housing Need.

It therefore follows that those in Control of forming Policy and drawing a Local Plan for Castle Point would fall back on existing policies, fending off at the 11th Hour government Intervention in the cpbc Local Plan, developing out all Brownfield Land in an attempt to meet Housing Need, whilst being seen to be proactive in following Government guidance in the case of the Paddocks would include considering releasing its own Local Authority land for development.

Government Press release April 2017
Councils will have new tools to speed up development of derelict and underused land for new homes.

Councils will have new tools to speed up development of derelict and underused land for new homes, Housing and Planning Minister Gavin Barwell confirmed today (3 April 2017).

Local authorities across the country will now have to produce and maintain up-to-date, publicly available registers of brownfield sites available for housing locally.

The new registers will help housebuilders identify suitable brownfield sites quickly, promising to unlock land for thousands of new homes.

Communities will be able to highlight local derelict or underused building sites that are primed for redevelopment. This can bring investment to the area and increase the number of new homes in the area.

As set out in the recently published Housing White Paper, the registers are part of the government’s ambitious programme to speed up house building, promote brownfield sites for development and release land to deliver many more new homes.

Housing and Planning Minister Gavin Barwell said:

We need to build more homes in this country so making sure that we re-use brownfield land is crucial. We want to bring life back to abandoned sites, create thousands more homes and help protect our valued countryside.

These new registers will give local authorities and developers the tools to do this.

In addition, the £3 billion Home Builders Fund will be used to support the development of brownfield sites, with an additional £1.2 billion provided to unlock at least 30,000 Starter Homes on brownfield land.”

The promise of replacing the old Paddocks building with a brand New smaller Facility, was expected to act as  a sweetener, to the 30+ Houses on site that are purported to finance the project.

Whether the viability of the scheme has been tested fully, we shall eventually see.

A public meeting for Canvey residents has been, whilst it must be remembered that Borough finances will be affected, and in place a Consultation is expected.

Now with May elections approaching “outsiders” are having their say through social media on what is basically a Canvey matter.

Canvey and mainland residents should though be ready to consider whether different standards are applied to different areas across the Borough.

For reflection we include the Echo coverage on a Hadleigh site from January 2014, whilst acknowledging that no two cases are alike.

Will the cpbc promised Paddocks Consultation, rather than a public meeting, be worth the Council Meeting minutes paper it is written on.

Read the following Echo report from 2014, including councillors Smith and Isaacs reassuring words, then You Decide!

Hadleigh Hall and the WRVS Hall in John H Burrows Recreational Ground could be torn down

DRAWINGS of multi-million pound plans to completely remodel a Hadleigh park have been revealed to the public.

Hadleigh Hall and the WRVS Hall in John H Burrows Recreational Ground, in Rectory Road, could be torn down as part of Castle Point Council’s plans to revitalise the rundown site.

The council has revealed the plans will cost £3 million and will go out to consultation.

Proposals include a new family-friendly restaurant and pub by Greene King, a community venue, sports pavilion, multi-use games area, outdoor exercise equipment as well as provisions for basketball, tennis and skateboarding.

There will also be campus-wide CCTV and 24-7 security on 1.14-acre site.

Norman Smith, Conservative councillor responsible for economic growth and business liaison, said: “We asked the regeneration partnership to go out and obtain interest in that particular site as we have a derelict hall full of asbestos and another which has come to the end of its useful life.

“It is also widely used by various groups for cricket, football and the children’s play area.

“But at the moment it only caters to the very young and older residents where members would like facilities for all age groups.

“We have had interest but some parties couldn’t deliver what we wanted.

“I do not want this to be seen as a done deal. We want the public to look at it and come back with recommendations for us to evaluate.”

Under the plans the existing Hadleigh Bowls Club, Hadleigh and Thundersley Cricket Club, children’s playground and Solby House will remain although the tennis courts will be moved elsewhere on the site.

Greene King has offered to give £750,000 to the project.

The council hopes to gain the additional cash from Veolia Pitsea Marshes Trust and Sport England.

However, Godfrey Isaacs, Conservative councillor for St James’ ward, said he had been inundated with emails from residents concerned about a new pub coming to the park.

Mr Isaacs said: “The information given out to the public was for commercial use and at that stage I envisaged a restaurant similar to the one in Chalkwell Park rather than a public house.

“Four public houses in Hadleigh have closed in the last 10 years and none of these were in a sports field.

“We have two halls there that are beyond their sell by date that need to be repaired or replaced but not to the detriment of facilities already there.

“This consultation needs to be thorough and borough wide, wide enough so that people can make their feelings known.

We do not want just a two week consultation that will just see it rubber stamped.”

Anything to add, feel free to Comment!