Castle Point Conservatives, in the face of world media coverage of the call for Canvey Island’s Independence from Castle Point Borough Council’s control, have released a social media response on the issue. In the interests of balance we have included the release amongst the Comments below
Two weeks on from the Canvey Community Meeting during which the matter of either Equal Representation, or Independence and a complete breakaway from Castle Point Council were raised, we await details of further progress.
The issue made the National Press and has received some barbed and ridiculing remarks from local councillors and from social media commentators.
Whether there is the legal possibility of Canvey Island becoming its own local authority, we would not claim to know, however in these days of so called “Localism”, the option or possibility is well worth exploring!
What we do know is that since the formation of castle point borough council in 1974, Canvey Island has provided the vast majority of the borough’s Housing Growth.
The census period since the formation of castle point indicates between 1971 and 2011 Canvey Island saw an increase in population of over 42%. The Mainland saw just a 2.4% increase during the same period!
And yet, castle point borough council continue to claim “the continued development of Canvey Island is necessary to sustain the local community and prevent the social and economic blight of the settlement”
With a mainland population growth of just 2.4% since 1971, Canvey residents are entitled to ask: “why are there two totally different Housing Development Policy approaches to the two parts of the Borough?”
There is a clear and obvious explanation as to why, Historically, the vast percentage of Housing Growth in Castle Point is distributed towards Canvey Island, this was most subtly and politely identified by an Inspector as; “because local factors are given too much weight!”
Soon there is to be a change in the funding stream of local authorities. This will leave them far more reliant on income from Business Rates.
The potential loss of income from Canvey Island businesses would leave the mainland part of Castle Point looking seriously at its funding stream,
“Castle Point’s employment space is predominantly industrial, with a relatively small level (7%) of office provision.
The main supply of industrial sites is in Canvey Island, away from strategic roads and the areas of stronger demand.”
Retail space appears more equally distributed across the Borough, although the exploitation of Canvey West appears to be the only desired expansion of new Retail development sites, whilst the area around south of Rayleigh Weir now appears constrained within Castle Point
“The Main Employment Areas in Castle Point emphasise yet again the uneven distribution;
1 the Charfleets industrial estate on Canvey Island (30 ha);
2 the Manor Trading estate in Thundersley (8.1 ha);
3 the mixed use Stadium Way employment area in Benfleet (5.5 ha);
4 the large OIKOS Refinery and Calor Gas sites on Canvey Island;
5 the town centres of Benfleet, Hadleigh, Canvey Town and Tarpots, which contain mainly retail and leisure uses and some small offices.”
Quite clearly it can be seen where castle point borough council’s funding stream will be coming from, and going to!
The area controlling the largest influence in the Borough accord with neither the area supplying the Population Growth, nor the Business Growth for the borough!
The question is who needs whom most?
And yet the ridiculing of the suggestion of Canvey Island becoming Independent has most loudly come from lead cpbc councillors themselves!
During these times of promised, so called Localism, we eagerly await to see whether some substance behind the possibility of Independence will emerge, sooner rather than later!
And more importantly whether the Residents of Canvey Island will be given the opportunity to voice their Opinion!
Despite the barbed criticism of the actual idea that Canvey Island might investigate its Independence, including “Ridiculous”, “Political Nonsense” and of there being “No Hope of Independence”, we should point out that there are Boroughs with a smaller population than Canvey’s.
Namely, Rutland, West Somerset, City of London and the Isles of Scilly.