Tag Archives: CPBC

Canvey Island’s Last Chance, Benfleet residents dictating the Development and Future Plan of Castle Point!

The Canvey Island pages on Facebook and Social Media will likely soon be red hot with the impact of what the CPBC Local Plan proposes. Increased Traffic Congestion, loss of Green Spaces and over subscribed medical facilities will give us all something to rage about!

Why then does it appear that Canvey Residents are shy of making their views known to the Council ahead of these decisions being made?

With a potential 342 new dwellings being planned for across Castle Point, you can bet a large majority will be built on Canvey and the southern part of the mainland!

Do we believe our voice will not be heard, or our views won’t be considered, or simply that Canvey folk are disengaged from Castle Point Council?

Why is there little press coverage and information, why are CPBC, with their own social media outlets silent instead of encouraging engagement?

With just a week to go, looking at the opening pages of the Local Plan Consultation website Portal, it is clear that Benfleet Folk, understandably concerned for their own environment, are up for the Battle!

There appear far more responses from the mainland than Canvey.

Many, not all, are objecting to all of the mainland proposed development, leaving Canvey Island development sites exposed, due to low objections from the Canvey Community! The Consultation is simply a tick box exercise with a space to add comments, the only tricky part may be registering to comment!

The Link to the CPBC Local Plan Consultation can be found HERE.

Where your first step is to look for the self explanatory line that reads; “In order to complete this form you must first log in or register if you have not yet done so already.”

Your view is important. So far entries do not bode well, the balance needs addressing!

Here are just a few entries on the Consultation:

WM Morrisons (Supermarkets) the “triangle” site (Canvey Road) should be identified as a housing allocation….
PLUS the football pitches to the east of the Morrisons Store on Canvey Island, and owned by Morrisons……. The inclusion of the site as employment land would also provide a valuable addition to the Charfleets Industrial Estate.

………………………..

Inner London Group seeks the enlargement of the land area allocated under Policy E4 (Extension to Charfleets Industrial Estate) to include contiguous land to the east of the existing allocation,bounded by the extension to Roscommon Way to the north and Haven Road to the east

…………………………

OIKOS (OSL) “As has been explained by OSL in its representation on policy T2, delivering this extension of Roscommon Way would require land which the current landowners and lessees (OSL) do not wish to give. For this and other reasons explained, the Roscommon Way extension is not considered to be realistic or deliverable.”

……………………………

Basildon Borough Council “raises questions regarding Castle Point’s land capacity for housing. The 2013 Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) identifies that Castle Point has capacity for around 7,300 homes.”

……………………….

Southend Borough Council conclude: “Further the approach taken in preparing the Plan does not fully meet the requirements of the duty to co-operate as outlined in the Localism Act 2011 and the NPPF.”

……………………….

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Photo Courtesy: canveycomesalive

 

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Canvey Island 3rd Access Road – Traffic Chaos set to Continue! Local Plan Carrot to Residents Mashed, Report exposes Credibility doubts!

Any Canvey Island Resident ground down by the daily commute off of the Island, be prepared for Disappointment!

The latest attempt by a now desperate Castle Point Council, to produce a Local Plan under the close scrutiny of the Government Chief Planner, dangles the usual carrot of Highway improvements for Canvey Island within the Consultation questionnaire.

We are asked:

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

33a. Do you support a new junction on the A130 Canvey Way to provide access to the west of Benfleet?

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Beware the Sting in the Tail!

You will note at best, only Limited Carriageway Dualling of Canvey Way is aspired to, with a junction for traffic from a New and vast Housing Estate at Jotmans Farm converging with the already congested traffic leaving and heading to Canvey Island!

This short length of dualling of Canvey Way, is not a measure remotely likely to improve congestion on Canvey Way, one only has to look at the amendments at Sadlers Farm to see that. Sadlers Farm, sold as an improvement for Castle Point motorists, was intended as a “cheap” fix for the A13 / A130 transport to avoid the notorious Sadlers Farm roundabout!

The aspiration to relieve traffic congestion of Canvey Island formed part of the Transport Policies of the long out of date 1998 Castle Point Adopted Local Plan!

A130 Canvey Way dualling – Upgrading of Canvey Way to dual carriageway standard between Sadler’s Farm and Waterside Farm roundabouts and the creation of a grade separated junction at Sadlers Farm Roundabout. 

Despite the proposed improvements, the Council remains concerned in respect of highway infrastructure in Castle Point, and will continue to press the Highway Authority for improvements to the strategic highway network in the Borough, and in particular for the early dualling of Canvey Way.

POLICY T1 – STRATEGIC HIGHWAY NETWORK THE COUNCIL WILL URGE THE HIGHWAY AUTHORITY TO UNDERTAKE IMPROVEMENTS TO THE STRATEGIC HIGHWAY NETWORK IN AND AROUND THE BOROUGH, INCLUDING THE DUALLING OF CANVEY WAY.

No word then of the need for a “3rd Access” to Canvey Island!

Now in the latest Local plan Consultation we are tempted with:

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

Note, not the long touted 3rd Access route to Manor Way Thurrock, just “improved access to Canvey Island”!

So should we assume this will infer to us all supporting the “dualling of the northern section of the A130 Canvey Way”, as in Q29A above, whether we do, or do not?

Because I would suggest that the dream of a true 3rd Access Route for Canvey Island remains an aspirational wish!

We have come across paperwork of a meeting in December 2013 that makes clear, not only is a 3rd Access Unlikely and definitely Un Funded, but also unsupported by any Evidence to suggest the benefits would warrant the vast Expenditure required.

The Castle Point Regeneration Team met with the then Secretary of State Patrick Mc Loughlan.

North Thames Link Road Proposal
On the 16th December 2013 a delegation from Castle Point Borough Council took part in a meeting with Mr Patrick McLoughlan. The Secretary of State for Transport to discuss the credibility of the above proposal.

A holistic overview of the above proposal and of the submitted supporting back ground documents was sought. This has resulted in the following preliminary observations designed to promote further work into the soundness and deliverability of the Councils aspiration.

The delegation consisted of Mrs Rebecca Harris MP, high profile CPBC Officers, Local and Essex County Councillors. The agenda was to seek support for a North Thames Link Road Proposal targeted towards the regeneration at the Canvey West Marsh area of the Borough of Castle Point Council, this being an aspiration of CPBC New Local Plan.

General observations for further discussion.

1. The most fundamental omission from the Background papers is the Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners Castle Point Borough Council commissioned “Employment and Retail Needs Assessment” final Report, completed as evidence for The New Local Plan in August 2012. Nathaniel Lichfield specialise in Planning, Design and Economics and their comprehensive report concluded, amongst other things:

“That the impact of improved access to Canvey Island by linking Canvey Island and Thurrock, that it was unclear on the basis of evidence currently available whether the positive economic effect associated with this would justify the significant infrastructure cost associated with providing a new highway, particularly within the context of strained public sector funding and ongoing road improvements elsewhere in the Borough (e.g. Sadlers Farm) which should improve accessibility generally.”

This report also states:

“That it is unclear whether supply chain linkages between Canvey Island firms and London Gateway would improve significantly as a result of a more direct route.”

The report points out a significant point at 7.53. “It is also important to note that four of the demographic/housing led demands estimates result in a negative requirement for employment space in future compared with the current position. This largely reflects an ageing population, which for the modest increase in housing proposed, produced a lower number of working age residents and hence a lower demand for future jobs and employment space.

It is understood that Castle Point Council may be inclined towards a scenario based on 200 dwellings being built per annum. If this were to be the case, it would imply less employment space being needed in future and fewer local workers to support economic growth in the Borough.”

2. The significance of the failure to identify within the North Thames Link Road supporting documentation, the work undertaken for the authority by Nathaniel Lichfield has had the effect of compounding further towards a poorly informed badly evidenced appraisal.

The following points need to be considered:-

3. Did those attending the NTLR regeneration meeting, who may have had an interest, declare that interest?

4. There are long outstanding uncompleted infrastructure issues within the 1998 Local Plan, such as the duelling of Canvey Way and the completion of the Roscommon Way. Was funding for these existing issues discussed if so? What was the Ministers response?

5. Calor Gas and Oikos are incorrectly identified as refineries!

6. For the CPBC NTLR proposal to mention that redundant contaminated Brownfield sites would benefit from becoming available, is somewhat short sighted. Contaminated Sites are not very desirable due to the expense of reclamation, having the effect of limiting the economic viability opportunities

7. The reference to Canvey Way is surprising given that there is no proposal for betterment, the CPBC NTLR proposal details the limitations of this route. The mention of the DMRB Design Manual for Road and Bridge specifications opens up a huge can of worms not only for this proposal but for the New Local Plan

8. With reference to the above guidance process the application would have been expected by the Minister to have the support of a VDM viable demand model as part of the preliminary assessment procedure. This is not evident in the submission.

9. The submission relates to a previous feasibility report which noted that the construction of a road in that area was not without
significant environmental and ecological SSSI constraints. It is difficult to identify within this background report how this will be averted.

10. With reference to note 9 the estimated cost at that time of the previously proposed road was between £45 and £70m which seems conservative given todays examples. However it would seem that to finance this project through private enterprise seems to call in the issue of viability.

11. Reference to the London Gate Way Port and Business Park as if the project would benefit from the access to the North Thames Link Road presumably being able to access Canvey Way should be the most significant reason as to why this proposal should not take place. The submission identifies capacity problems at the A1014 and the Canvey Way, Sadlers Farm junctions, this factor alone negates the benefits to any future employment areas needing to use the North Thames Link Road.

12. There is no evidence that the HCA Homes and Community Agency has disposed of the West Canvey Site into the private sector nor is there any evidence that 4,000 jobs will be created for local people. The trend has been the provision for low paid local employment this tends to multiply deprivation. This factor will not support the argument for large scale market price housing development in this area.

13. The reference to the fact that 100,000 tonnes of LNG Liquid Natural Gas being stored at the Calor Gas site is dangerously misinforming the Minister. This calls into question the integrity of the whole CPBC NTLR document with regards to the reliability of its content when much of it contains unreliable poorly researched evidence.

14. To suggest that the economics of the development of Canvey Town Centre is weak and in need of the potential impetus from the implementation of the Thames growth hubs to enable the town centre redevelopment to become a reality, is a damming indictment for the deliverability of the Canvey Town Centre regeneration aspiration.

15. The non-attendance of an Emergency Planning Officer or any mention of the benefit that this project could bring to the community of Canvey Island by way of assisting in its evacuation, has not been thought worthy as an argument to support the reasoning for a third
road. It can only be concluded from this, that the possibility of a Major Industrial Accident, Surface Water Flooding, Breach and Over Topping of our sea defences (ref: Scott Wilson CPBC SFRA 2010 document ) are sound reasons why not to support further urbanisation of this part of the Borough.

16. Unfortunately the aspiration for further large scale development on the Zone 3 flood plain of Canvey Island was not previously supported within the Planning Inspectors final report following the examination of the withdrawn Core Strategy. This fact has not been recorded in the submitted Back Ground documents despite being known to many of the delegation members presenting evidence to the Minister.

17. There has been very little if any consultation undertaken either with local elected representatives or the local community with regards to this proposal. It is strongly felt locally that once again development of Canvey Island will come forward without the appropriate supporting infrastructure and proper scrutiny.
It is undisputable that Canvey Island has not benefited from the previously identified necessity of the duelling of the Canvey Way or the completion of the Roscommon Way internal linkage route.

There has been no evidence brought forward, other than in support of further unwarranted development, that the duelling of Canvey Way is not by far the best option. This factor alone will support any future major repairs to the existing Canvey Way infrastructure once completed. Should this proposal in any way resemble CPBC previously outdated Local Plan policies, it is likely that material considerations in particular the emergence of the NPPF and also new evidence, will be afforded considerable weight in the decision of soundness following the examination of the New Local Plan.

QAJZU1 E12 PW SPEEDCAMERAS

pic courtesy of Echo News

Photo courtesy: scarymommy.com

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.

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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’s Dutch Village GB site back under Threat? Castle Point bc, not only can we produce a sound Local Plan, but we can do so at High Speed! “Watch this Space” indeed!

Short-termism appears to be the “Get Out” approach for Castle Point Borough Council to appease the Government’s intervention team.

Despite no Local Plan emerging over the past 20 years, the latest approach appears to be to crash out an interim 10 Year Plan including Green Belt development sites allocation, and hope for the best that normal service will be resumed with the assistance of our neighbouring Boroughs!
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The questions are, which Green Belt sites will be sacrificed in the rush to develop, and which Green Belt sites will developers actually agree with cpbc to build on?

Certainly potentially in the region of 900 dwellings are being installed at Canvey Island’s Sandy Bay, but the distinct threat remains that Canvey Island’s Dutch Village is also cpbc’s preferred Green Belt site in danger of development!

The opinion of outsiders is always useful to keep our feet on the ground, and to help us with that Planning Resource publication have produced their view of the position Castle Point council currently find themselves in, ahead of the secretary of State’s decision on whether cpbc are now trusted to be allowed to produce their own Local Plan under the watchful eye of Government.

As we know a greatly truncated approach has been adopted as the preferred approach of our Borough council, as a means of warding off Intervention in the Plan making process.

CPBC’s interpretation of the situation is directly below, whilst further below is how the “trade” press’ view.

“the Government has confirmed that it will intervene in plan-making in areas where councils without a post 2004 local plan have not submitted a plan for consideration by the Planning Inspectorate. This will reduce the control the local planning authority has over such matters. In March 2018, the Council received a letter from the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government confirming the intention to commence Intervention in the Castle Point Local Plan. As of June 2018, the form of this Intervention had not been confirmed, but dialogue with the Ministry has confirmed the need for a Local Plan to be prepared to an accelerated timetable, and this Plan must focus on bringing forward new homes in the early part of the Plan period.”

“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.”

“In February 2017, the Government introduced the proposition that all Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) be required to prepare a ‘Statement of Common Ground’ (SCG) to help manage strategic planning matters across local authority areas and strengthen the Duty to Cooperate”

“3.5 Castle Point
Castle Point is a relatively small local authority area just 4,500 hectares in size, with a population of 88,000 people. It sits at the heart of the South Essex sub-region on the northern bank of the Thames Estuary between the larger settlements of Basildon and Southend. It is these larger settlements, along with London, on which Castle Point relies for its employment, services and leisure opportunities.
The key planning issues comprise:
• the challenge of meeting housing need in a borough of significant Green Belt and other environmental constraints and where land availability is confined to small scale infill sites in the built-up area;
• the need to improve infrastructure to address congestion, historic underinvestment and provide capacity for growth;”

“9.1
Castle Point currently has no up to date local plan in place and has therefore been subject to potential government intervention. The Council will therefore prepare an interim local plan covering the next ten years and focusing on planning for housing, with the ambition of meeting local housing needs in this period. In the longer term, local housing needs will be considered through the strategic assessment and allocations prepared for the JSP.”

“The current estimated need for housing across South Essex is 90,000 dwellings over the next 20 years, but with the right conditions to support growth, more could be achieved. As part of the consideration of long term spatial options, the authorities are therefore exploring whether the development of new ‘Garden’ communities could offer a strategic solution to growth.”

“The South Essex Authorities estimate that up to 4,500 new homes will be needed each year to meet housing needs.” *

Planning Resource publisher’s opinion of the situation Castle Point find our / themselves in are reproduced here;

A group of seven Essex councils this month published a draft statement of common ground (SCG) designed to make sure they meet the challenging duty to cooperate. The statement commits them to preparation of a formal joint strategic plan for a green belt-constrained area where local plan processes have been hobbled by an inability to resolve local opposition to much-needed new homes.

The statutory joint plan is being pursued by six districts and boroughs – Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point, Rochford, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock – and Essex County Council. At the start of the year, they formed the Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA) to formalise joint working arrangements. According to the SCG, the joint plan will provide an “overarching framework within which more focused local development plans will be prepared”.

Requiring unanimous approval from all seven councils to go forward, the joint plan will set out housing targets and distribution as well as key employment sites and infrastructure priorities. Its prime purpose, commentators say, will be to decide where to find space for the required 90,000 new homes in south Essex over the next 20 years, given significant green belt constraints.

Consultant Catriona Riddell, who is advising ASELA, said: “With the area’s large proportion of green belt, all the authorities have challenges in terms of meeting housing needs, so they have decided that looking at strategic growth areas across south Essex would be the most deliverable and sustainable option.”

Nick Davey, partner at Brentwood-based planning consultant JTS, said determining housing allocations has been a big problem. “I feel sorry for the planners,” he said. “They have to try to meet objectively assessed need and that means releasing green belt, but they just can’t get members’ buy-in. All that’s happened since the 2012 National Planning Policy Framework is procrastination.”

The draft SCG doesn’t grasp this nettle.

Instead, it identifies five “strategic areas of opportunity” where housing may be located, all of which straddle local authority boundaries and thus leave exact allocations undetermined.

Riddell said the body has now commissioned a strategic growth study to further develop these proposals. “Some authorities will ultimately have to take a disproportionate share of the homes – those are the issues we haven’t got to yet. They need to stick together like glue,” she said.

The joint plan comes in the context of delays in local plan preparation led to three of the districts – Basildon, Brentwood and Castle Point – being threatened with intervention by former housing secretary Sajid Javid last year for their slow progress. In March, Javid pressed ahead with sending a government team in to scrutinise Castle Point’s local plan preparation arrangements. He told Brentwood and Basildon they’d face no further action, but warned he’d keep a close eye on them.

Castle Point’s last attempt at a local plan, which left 300 of its 400 homes-a-year housing need unmet, was withdrawn last year after failing the duty to cooperate. It is now seeking approval from the government to develop an interim local plan covering just five to ten years, allowing it to avoid large green belt allocations and leaving responsibility for further allocations to the joint planning process.

Riddell said: “The vital thing is that any intervention doesn’t compromise the joint planning effort by forcing Castle Point to release green belt that, from a wider south Essex point of view, might not be in the right place.”

Some fear, however, that the joint plan process will be used to justify continued delay. Tony Collins, owner of consultancy Collins & Coward, said: “Joint plans take a long time to draw up and even longer to deliver. The government wants delivery but joint planning is only going to slow things down.”

Riddell recognised government fears that the joint plan promises “jam tomorrow”, but pointed out that the SCG, once approved, will commit the ASELA authorities to an “accelerated timetable” that will see a draft plan consulted upon early next year, with submission for examination a year later. “It’s really fast,” she said. “These concerns are totally unfounded.”

* 6 Jun 2018 – Special Meeting of Castle Point Borough Council agenda appendices.

Castle Point Local Plan Intervention – No Exclusion Zone! Are we being Misled ahead of May elections, or are we in Safe Hands?

The fear of Government Intervention over Castle Point Council, hangs over the Borough like some big Bogey Man in a Nightmare!

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I have seen it quoted on social media that “No Housing” is not an option for our Area.

The Secretary of State, having read cpbc’s explanation as to why they were amongst the 15 local authorities causing him most concern over their Local Plan replied, “In terms of the intervention criteria, Castle Point appears to have failed to make progress on plan-making, the policies do not appear to be up to date and there is high housing pressure. Given that your Council has said it will not produce a Local Plan until after the Joint Plan has been produced and that the Joint Plan is not due to be submitted until 2020 it appears possible that Plan production could be accelerated through intervention.”

And yet the cpbc leader Cllr riley suggests under the Echo introduction – NOT a single house in Castle Point should be built until plans for infrastructure has been in put in place, a council leader has claimed – despite the threat of government intervention looming over his head.

“We have never had the infrastructure contributions we should have had in Castle Point, and we are now in this position.” “They go hand in hand and we have been prioritising the infrastructure, and I think most of our residents would appreciate that.”

The previous attempts at a Local Plan, first saw Canvey Island basically stitched up to provide the Dutch Village Green Belt release for the Borough’s Housing Supply, then the Challis, Stanley, Smith 2014 Plan to again promote the Dutch Village release but this time to also include contentious mainland green belt sites.

There followed a massive reaction from Green Belt campaign groups on the mainland that came to a head at the local elections which saw a rise in ukip voting with the unseating of the then cpbc leader Cllr Challis.

Since then a 2016 Plan has been found to fail the Duty to Cooperate. Criticism has also been aimed at the lack of proposed Housing Numbers contained in the Plan. With some members of the Lead Group apparently suggesting that the officers failed to note the wish amongst some council members that the Blinking Owl should be released from the green belt so as to contribute to the Housing Supply.

This is an isolated site that is in need of infrastructure which may be what Cllr Riley had in mind.

The timing of the press response alongside the lack of information from cpbc as to the procedures of the Local Plan and the Intervention, may be an invite to speculate that Intervention is more likely than not.

What you make of the competency of the Local Plan makers is for you to decide.

Local Plan making is expected to:

“Local Plans should be aspirational but realistic. They should address the spatial implications of economic, social and environmental change.”

“Local Plans should set out the opportunities for development and clear policies on what will or will not be permitted and where. Only policies that provide a clear indication of how a decision maker should react to a development proposal should be included in the plan.”

“Local planning authorities should set out the strategic priorities for the area in the Local Plan. This should include strategic policies to deliver: ● the homes and jobs needed in the area;”

“the provision of retail, leisure and other commercial development; ● the provision of infrastructure for transport, telecommunications, waste management, water supply, wastewater, flood risk and coastal change management, ”

“Local planning authorities with Green Belts in their area should establish Green Belt boundaries in their Local Plans which set the framework for Green Belt and settlement policy. ”

” When drawing up or reviewing Green Belt boundaries local planning authorities should take account of the need to promote sustainable patterns of development.”

Given the concerns of some Castle Point Residents and Green Belt campaigners fearing that Intervention would remove local interests, concerns and input from the Planning process, it is good to hear this official message regarding the current situation:

From the Horses Mouth:

“Castle Point has failed to convince the Secretary of State that they are doing enough to get a Local Plan in place.

A final decision is still to be made and will be made once the Chief Planner, Steve Quartermain has provided the Secretary of State with further advice on the current status of Local Plan production and what can be done to speed it up.

If intervention were to occur then a Local Plan that meets all of the necessary legal and procedural requirements would be produced which would include consulting with members of the local community.” 

Link to the Echo article is HERE.

At Castle Point the “narrative around the potential that development can offer” doesn’t really Cut It, with Residents!

Having had the opportunity to read the review document you would have noticed that the primary task of the peer team was initially to consider the following five components believe to be critical to councils’ performance and improvement:

1. Understanding of the local place and priority setting
2. Leadership of Place
3. Organisational leadership and governance
4. Financial planning and viability
5. Capacity to deliver.

cpbc

Runnymede Towers

In addition to these issues CPBC, it would seem, specifically asked the Peer Team to /review/provide feedback on strategic housing and environment, including open spaces.
The response outcome is:-

“New residential development inevitably creates concerns around loss of green space, and whilst such space undoubtedly offers amenity and possibly wildlife value it very often offers very little by way of recreational opportunity for local people. It’s important to remember that new neighbourhoods can introduce valuable, accessible open space and recreational and green infrastructure opportunities if designed well, entirely new assets.

It’s therefore vital that the council engages all of its skills and experience in maximising the potential gains from this process, and this means involving those who will be responsible for the future management of new sites. The council should therefore aim to create an alternative narrative around the potential that development can offer beyond meeting housing need alone.”

It would seem questionable as to why this additional task was specifically included, knowing how emotive the subject of developing Castle Point’s green belt has become.

The Peer Team’s response reads very much like part of a developers planning application argument as to why a parcel of green belt should be developed.

It is not unreasonable that those of us dedicated to the preservation of the Borough’s green belt and open spaces, will conclude that there could have been a sinister motive for this additional question to have been brought forward, knowing that its subsequent response will now be considered for favourable planning evidence