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!