Tag Archives: CPBC

Castle Point Councillors divided between Green Belt Turncoats and those Unprepared to be Tied to the Small Print! Resident Lock Outs and a Not so Narrow defeat? The Local Plan Devil, is in the Detail.

Castle Point Councillors, Jekyll and Hyde appear to have now taken over the reins of the emerging, or is it submerging, Local Plan 2018!

Appropriately for this end of year Green Belt blog post, the CPBC Special Meeting, held to force forward the 2108 Local Plan, the Minutes were “signed off” during the CPBC December full council ordinary meeting.

These minutes exposed the devious methods being employed by those lead councillors and officers now in control of the Plan-making process locally.

Anything passed by the Council is considered to have been resolved Democratically! Therefore a Local Plan Examining Inspector would make allowance for radical or unpopular decisions, if the majority of councillors had approved those decisions.

Therefore it was imperative, well at least for those of us living in South Benfleet and Canvey Island, that the 2018 Local Plan was Rejected, despite the Leader’s and chief executive’s threats of the Armageddon of Intervention due to be imposed on Castle Point the very next day following the Plan’s Rejection!

The Minutes taken of the Special council meeting paint a puzzling picture, some of which written include:

“The Leader explained that whilst some Members felt that they had not had sufficient involvement in the process, the timescale was intended to deliver a draft plan and Members would have input at the appropriate time.”

And yet it was revealed that councillors were only invited to “briefings” rather than actual involvement. We, and they, are apparently left to imagine when “the appropriate time” would arise!

“The Chief Executive presented the comprehensive report to the Council.”
“Within the section dealing with Delivering a Sufficient Supply of Homes the strategic sites forming a crucial part of the plan were identified together with commentary about each site. Council was reminded that this was a twenty year plan and it might be some while before any of sites came forward for development and because of the sequential test those on Canvey were more likely to be towards the end of the plan period

The Irony here may easily be lost by both an Outsider or somebody living on the mainland!

No Housing development proposal has, to our knowledge, been refused “because of the Sequential Test” since the cpbc grovelling appeal some time ago, to the then Sir Michael Pitt and the Environment Agency, to lift the restriction on development on Canvey island due to the threat from Flooding.

That is of course with one Exception, the proposal for Stables for Horses!

The officer Report stated in refusing the application “The proposal seeks to provide a stable facility within Flood Zone 3, an area identified at risk of flooding and is not accompanied by,…..evidence that it meets the requirements of the sequential test”!

In effect it is unreasonable to put horses at Risk of Flooding, but residents and their properties, well that is just fine, as it suits the housing development growth distribution in the Borough.

How perverse are our Councillors, and how complicit our officers???

On Intervention
“11.2 A report was presented to Cabinet on intervention and its consequences in September 2018. Council is reminded that Intervention by Government in any area of local government business is a last resort and follows poor decision making and failure to follow Government direction and advice. Intervention is a sanction and should not be considered as an alternative mechanism to deliver a local plan. The Secretary of State is still considering whether to intervene in the local plan process in Castle Point.”
“the Government”…..” will not allow the local plan, once agreed, to be frustrated by the development control process”

“The Secretary of State may direct that (development) applications that give effect to the proposals are “called in” for his own determination.” 

This may have appeared a confused threat to councillors and residents in the Jotmans Farm and Glebelands areas of the Borough, as on two occasions the Secretary of State himself had overturned the decisions of the Planning Inspectors in respect of Appeals against major Housing proposals in these areas!

Despite the Leader’s threat, to expect a telephone call from the Sec. Of State, in the morning following the decision, no Intervention update was available at the time of the December council meeting.

“Debate took place during which Members acknowledged the difficult decision (whether to approve the Local Plan) before the Council.

A number of Members recognised that they would have to set aside their views concerning the use of Green Belt land for building in order that an effective Local Plan could be delivered to retain control of local plan making in the Borough and future planning decisions for the benefit of the community and avoid the serious consequences of intervention.” 

Strange that this summary, above, of the debate should highlight this one aspect of the debate, as though some level of lesser thinking was employed by those councillors who refused to support the Local Plan 2018 motion.

“At the conclusion of the debate a vote was taken on the recommendations by show of hands which was lost narrowly by one vote.”

Quite a close run thing you may think until you note the councillors who were Absent:-” Councillors Mrs W. Goodwin, R.C. Howard, B.A. Palmer, J.A.Payne, Mrs. J. Payne, W.K.Sharp, A. Taylor and Mrs L. Wass”  “cllr Dick was taken ill during the meeting and left the chamber”.

Of these absent councillors 2, at least, were excluded from participation through their personal Interests.

That leaves 5 councillors who may have been reasonably expected to Vote Against the 2018 Local Plan’s adoption, that would have made a majority of 6, far, far less than a “narrow defeat!”

And besides why should councillors, if they consider a Plan to be bad for the local residents, be forced to support it?  Many of those councillors voting in favour of the Local Plan, were elected on saving the Castle Point Green Belt tickets. They may have been representing areas intended for far less development and far less loss of Green Belt compared with others, their argument weakened by the fact that one of the more undersubscribed schools in the Borough was supported against its proposed closure, by the CPBC ceo’s letter claiming that much new housing development was proposed via the Local Plan, within that school’s catchment area!

Councillors may have also voted against this Local Plan, due to being totally misled by the continuous promises of aspirational Highway and Junction improvements, contained within it!

No mention in the Council meeting Minutes of those many, many Residents locked out of the Council Building and prevented from attending the Local Plan meeting!

Was it just to appease the agitated residents, having made the effort and given up time on a cold, damp night to attend, that officers requested them to sign an attendance sheet so that “Councillors could be informed how many” were in the lock out predicament?

A poor and typical show from Castle Point council, that this appears to have not been considered worthy of reporting!

It would also appear contradictory for Government to appear to be refusing to support a so called, by some, national Bad Plan, that has been grabbing some headlines over the last couple of years, whilst denying CPBC the right to refuse to be strait-jacketed into accepting this Local Plan!

Jotmans Lane Tank.JPG.gallery

 

 

 

Advertisements

2014 Canvey Flooding – 3 Years On, and still only a Glossy Brochure offered to prevent a repeat, but offering this as Evidence in support of Housing Development in CPBC Local Plan, REALLY?

3 Full Years on, and little improvement to the Drainage System on Canvey Island, means it worthwhile updating and re-posting this blog.

Ironically it is included as part of the Castle Point 2018 Local Plan Evidence base! A document full of promises and an insight that proves Canvey Island was always intended as THE Housing Growth Area in the Borough, no matter what other mainland sites were introduced.

How CPBC can consider that a Glossy desk top published “brochure,” full of empty promises, you will recognise them in the text below, to fund a complete overhaul of the Canvey Island drainage system, is fit to be considered as Evidence Base to support such a Bad Local Plan as the latest 2018 version, is anybody’s guess!

We will leave you to make of it what you will.

And we all thought that the bid to Government for the necessary drainage improvements was for the good of the existing residents and properties of Canvey Island that were affected so badly during the 2014 flooding!

“With over 6,100 jobs already based on the island, plans submitted to the government through the South East LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan (SEP), propose to create over 1,100 new jobs. Further development opportunities have also created the potential for the construction of over 1,500 new homes across Canvey.

The Essex Economic Growth Strategy highlights the numerous industrial opportunities located along the Thames riverside in Thurrock and on Canvey Island; recognising the strong growth potential in the area.

It is vital that all relevant agencies and central government work together, to ensure this growth potential is not inhibited by the significant risks associated with future flooding on the island.”

As we have always maintained; no improvement of infrastructure without even more development on the most densely urbanised part of our Borough.
It strikes us that the development is / was intended whether drainage, flood defence or road network improvements were to be forthcoming anyway!

Of course the distribution and allocation of any money allocated from Government may well find itself replacing / overlapping money already contributed by residents within the Council Tax allocation as Essex Highways state;
“Defects on the (Canvey) highway drainage system will continue to be addressed as resources permit.”

Screenshot (23)Canvey Island Integrated Drainage Model brochure!

The fancy multi agency Brochure, minus the graphics reads:

“Through this bid we ask central government for £24.5m, which will be used to address the deficiency in the current drainage network, and fund capital projects to dramatically improve the drainage infrastructure across Canvey Island. This investment will feed into an already comprehensive programme of works which will be delivered over the next ten years. Some projects which will be covered by this funding include:
• Property level protection from surface water flooding for 40,000 people and 15,000 homes.
• Improving the drainage infrastructure at recognised pinch points, identified by the Integrated Urban Drainage Study (IUD), to take excess rainwater from the centre of the island to the pumps located around the island.
• Increasing the storm water storage area on the island, providing areas where excess rainwater can be stored.
• Increasing the storage capacity of Canvey Lake, and re-profile the surrounding area to provide additional storm water storage capacity.
• Utilising new technology innovations to enable a much more reactive approach to deal with heavy rainfall, such as advanced weather warning systems (Rain Gain) and automatic weed-screens.
• Increasing community resilience through enhanced education, awareness and local volunteer programmes.

The approach we have taken to partnership working on the island is unique, and we believe this model allows more efficient and collaborative approaches to address the problems facing local residents. We commit to continuing this vital work and with additional government funding we can do so much more to help protect our community, protect our economy and protect our Canvey Island.

The first phase of the Thames Estuary Plan 2100, prepared by the Environment Agency, states that the maintenance and improvement of Canvey’s system of large sea wall defences, is well justified given the risks to the local community and economy.

The plan recommends that the defences are further improved to keep pace with the ever more present impacts of a changing climate. Over the period of the plan, the Environment Agency calculates that the potential economic benefits of implementing their preferred option of flood prevention across the Thames Estuary is in the region of £200 billion when compared to doing nothing.

The majority of benefits of flood risk management in the Thames Estuary are economic; namely the avoidance of damage to property, infrastructure, transport and business investment.

Within the Government’s Autumn statement last year, it was announced that the government ”has published its six-year programme of investment in flood defences, allocating the £2.3 billion capital funding provided at Spending Round 2013. It has also allocated an additional £60 million to the Thames Estuary Asset Management scheme beyond 2021, subject to business case and local partnership contributions.”

Our ask
Securing the future of the Thames Estuary
To find out more about our plans to better protect Canvey Island, or to contact us, please visit http://www.canveyflood.co.uk.

Canvey Island is the largest town in the Borough of Castle Point, comprising around 40% of the borough area, with a population of 40,000 people. Canvey is home to both the largest town centre and area of employment (Charfleets Industrial Estate) in Castle Point Borough, and is a key contributor to the local economy.

Canvey is separated from the mainland of south Essex by a network of creeks, and the reclaimed island sits around 1m below sea level at high tide, making it incredibly vulnerable to flooding from both sea and surface water.

The island has a rich history of agriculture and shipping, and was one of the country’s fastest growing seaside resorts for over forty years until the North Sea flood of 1953 devastated the island, killing 58 islanders and leading to the temporary evacuation of the 13,000 residents.

Modern sea defences now protect Canvey, with a 3.2km high concrete sea wall spanning the island’s coastline, and a series of high powered pumps built into the local drainage system.

However, on 20th July 2014, one of the most extreme rainfall events ever seen in Essex hit the island and overwhelmed the drainage network, causing widespread flooding to over 1,000 homes and businesses, and severe disruption to the local infrastructure.

These floods served as a harsh reminder of the island’s vulnerability to flooding and highlighted the ever-increasing need for further measures to protect the island’s environment, community and economy.

Since the July 2014 floods, Anglian Water, Castle Point Borough Council, Essex County Council and the Environment Agency, have formed a multi-agency partnership and have been working collaboratively on a strategy to better protect Canvey against future flood events; providing long term security for residents and businesses across the island.

To date, the group has seen great success and over £1.7m has been spent delivering a comprehensive maintenance, repair and cleaning scheme across the island’s drainage network. Along side this, a website and two community newsletters have been created to raise awareness of the ongoing work. We have now developed a long-term strategy which, with support from the government, Canvey Island is home to a tight knit community with a diverse demographic make-up.

A range of organisations have helped to deliver community infrastructure improvements over recent years; helping to increase the service offering of the island, and address some of the societal challenges faced by some pockets of the community. will deliver increased protection and security for the people of Canvey.

This new infrastructure includes; a new healthcare centre, two new secondary schools, a new vocational college, works to improve the quality of the public realm within the employment area, and the construction of the second phase of Roscommon Way, providing access to new employment land to the south of Charfleets Industrial Estate.
Protecting our community • Protecting our economy • Protecting our Canvey

CANVEY ISLAND
Introduction Strategy Protecting our Economy CANVEY ISLAND

Canvey Island is home to a tight knit community with a diverse demographic make-up.
A range of organisations have helped to deliver community infrastructure improvements over recent years; helping to increase the service offering of the island, and address some of the societal challenges faced by some pockets of the community.

PROTECTING OUR ECONOMY
With over 6,100 jobs already based on the island, plans submitted to the government through the South East LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan (SEP), propose to create over 1,100 new jobs. Further development opportunities have also created the potential for the construction of over 1,500 new homes across Canvey.

The Essex Economic Growth Strategy highlights the numerous industrial opportunities located along the Thames riverside in Thurrock and on Canvey Island; recognising the strong growth potential in the area.
It is vital that all relevant agencies and central government work together, to ensure this growth potential is not inhibited by the significant risks associated with future flooding on the island.

We want to see more community support schemes take root on Canvey, and we appreciate that we have a role in making sure the necessary support infrastructure is in place to allow this to happen. The loss and devastation caused by flooding is tremendous and multifaceted, ranging from the social distress and disruption caused, as well as the monetary losses experienced by private individuals, businesses and the government. This includes financial costs borne by the national economy in the form of school closures and work days lost; repairs to infrastructure, including utilities and roads; inability of businesses and consumers to operate during floods; and public sector emergency response costs.

The cost of a future flooding incident on the island would be in the region of £274m per year in lost economic output, and up to £2.1bn in damage to residential property. With over 6,100 jobs already based on the island, plans submitted to the government through the South East LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan (SEP), propose to create over 1,100 new jobs. Further development opportunities have also created the potential for the construction of over 1,500 new homes across Canvey.

The Essex Economic Growth Strategy highlights the numerous industrial opportunities located along the Thames riverside in Thurrock and on Canvey Island; recognising the strong growth potential in the area.
It is vital that all relevant agencies and central government work together, to ensure this growth potential is not inhibited by the significant risks associated with future flooding on the island.

Working together, we have developed an Integrated Urban Drainage (IUD) model, to establish a common understanding on the condition and ownership of the drainage infrastructure across the island. The output of this model will be used to develop a series of engineering projects, which will significantly improve the drainage infrastructure and provide property level protection across Canvey Island. The first phase of this project, jointly funded by Anglian Water and the Environment Agency, will be completed by early summer 2015.

What’s been done so far?
• We produce a regular multi-agency newsletter which is used to inform, update and educate residents and local businesses about the work currently being undertaken on the island.
• Anglian Water and Essex Highways are working closely through practical, enhanced maintenance work to repair, replace and improve the complex drainage infrastructure on the island, as well as mapping all of the drainage assets and the Surface Water Alleviation Scheme (SWAS) along the seafront.
• The Environment Agency has reviewed their maintenance, resulting in additional activities, including: extensive seawall repairs, de-silting, channel re-profiling and stand-by generator works. The first phase of the Thames Estuary Plan 2100, prepared by the Environment Agency, states that the maintenance and improvement of Canvey’s system of large sea wall defences, is well justified given the risks to the local community and economy.

The plan recommends that the defences are further improved to keep pace with the ever more present impacts of a changing climate. Over the period of the plan, the Environment Agency calculates that the potential economic benefits of implementing their preferred option of flood prevention across the Thames Estuary is in the region of £200 billion when compared to doing nothing.

The majority of benefits of flood risk management in the Thames Estuary are economic; namely the avoidance of damage to property, infrastructure, transport and business investment.

Within the Government’s Autumn statement last year, it was announced that the government ”has published its six-year programme of investment in flood defences, allocating the £2.3 billion capital funding provided at Spending Round 2013. It has also allocated an additional £60 million to the Thames Estuary Asset Management scheme beyond 2021, subject to business case and local partnership contributions.”

The first phase of the Thames Estuary Plan 2100, prepared by the Environment Agency, states that the maintenance and improvement of Canvey’s system of large sea wall defences, is well justified given the risks to the local community and economy.

Castle Point Local Plan – the Next Move. Persuasion, Manipulation, another Vote? Constitutional “cock up” or Officer style Intervention?

Further to the debacle, that is the Local Plan making system in Castle Point, let me refer you back to the current and past plight of our Borough Council.

From the original emerging Plan, the Core Strategy 2009, withdrawn 2011, onto the Local Plan 2014 which made it into print but only as a Daft document before being abandoned, onto the 2016 Local plan officially withdrawn in April 2017, without examination via its Failure of the Duty to Cooperate with neighbouring local authorities.

Sajid Javid Secretary of State for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government announced within threats of Intervention;

“On 16 November 2017 I made a statement to the House with an update on local plan progress. Up to date plans, including local plans, are essential because they provide clarity to communities and developers about where homes should be built and where not, so that development is planned rather than the result of speculative applications.

I made clear that a lack of progress will no longer be tolerated.

The Government have abolished top-down regional planning.

But a locally-led planning system requires elected local representatives to take the lead, listen to local residents and business, and set out a clear framework to build new homes, support the local economy and protect the environment.

Local plans also provide the framework within which groups can prepare neighbourhood plans to shape development at local level.

Most councils have seized the opportunity that localism provides; a small minority have not.”   

Castle Point Council as most will realise, under the threat of Government Intervention, agreed to the Secretary of State’s demand for a new Local Plan 2018 to be delivered adhering to a strict timetable.

The consequences of not doing so were made clear repeatedly by both the council leader and its chief executive.

By keeping to the schedule the “benefit” would be that Intervention may be avoided and the content would be under the control and input of local councillors.

In truth, the councillors were treated to a small number of briefings, whilst the ceo, leader and deputy and S.Rogers, consultant, Strategic Planning Regeneration, drew up the local Plan 2018.

The result was yet another Local Plan in which Housing Growth was inappropriately distributed.

Originally within the Core Strategy the growth was in Green Belt on Canvey Island, ignoring the Sequential Testing requirement of Flood Risk zones.

Then the daft 2014 Local Plan was proposed with Housing Growth on Canvey Green Belt and included a contribution on the mainland also. This came under tremendous criticism from local pressure groups and was also subsequently abandoned.

Then the 2016 Local Plan emerged with a more seemingly agreeable distribution of Housing Growth using previously developed Green Belt and regenerated Brownfield sites only. Subsequently withdrawn, although not examined.

Finally, or not as the case may be, the 2018 Local Plan at the hands of the previously mentioned cllr smith and ceo marchant.

This time Failing yet again, but due to an apparent overload of Housing Growth in the now beleaguered southern part of the Borough, that is Canvey Island (again) and this time west of Benfleet, or Jotmans Farm as it IS known!

Somewhat surprisingly the local ward representatives of Jotmans, joined alongside the “majority” of Canvey Island representatives, to reject the Local Plan 2018.

Amongst much confusion and flustered, mumbled, conversation between the CPBC ceo and leader, the vote was counted twice, almost as though it could not be believed, but both times the vote remained 16 -15 against adoption!

The Mayor was then instructed to close the Meeting!

If you don’t believe me, you can see it HERE.

However, following a Defeated Motion the CPBC Constitution directs a different, correct, approach should have been taken!

16. VOTING

16.1 Majority

Unless this Constitution provides otherwise, any matter will be decided by a simple majority of those Members voting and present in the room at the time the question was put.

For any decision to be made there needs to be a majority of Members voting in favour of the motion or recommendation.

If the majority of Members vote against the motion or recommendation, no decision has been made, and a further motion or recommendation will be invited by the Mayor.

The ceo, leader, Mayor and legal officer obviously did not want to allow the process to get away from their control by accepting an alternative Motion that may have restricted their options. Perhaps they are hoping to manipulate a repeat debate in the near future, resulting with a different result, if those dissenting councillors can be “persuaded” to relent!

smiff

No Place for Intimidation, Castle Point councillors were simply not convinced the Local Plan was acceptable or Fair. Time for an Inquiry into Behaviour!

It appears there have been reports, that following the Castle Point Council decision not to approve the draft 2018 Local Plan, certain councillor or councillors have been subjected to intimidation, basically for voting against a Local Plan they felt unacceptable.

Lead group councillors suggest they were allowed a free vote.

Firstly the chief executive made clear that in his view the Plan wasn’t for changing, and the vote must be in favour of adoption, solely to keep to a schedule set by Government.

The council leader repeated this warning as did his deputy, this was followed by many councillors stating they were between a “rock and a hard  place”, followed by the usual platitudes.

It may have been an easier passage for the Plan if rather than the sit and listen briefings, councillors from all sides had been invited to engage with the Government chief planner’s team and had some input into drawing up the Plan.

Some of the councillor’s input into the debate was nonsensical. Cllr Cole for instance explained his sympathy for the homeless people of Castle Point, families waiting to be housed. Then he went onto suggest that with Cllr smith’s inclusion of master planning developments identified for development ward councillors and residents would have influence on the density of the housing, less flats, more open spaces etc etc.

Master planning will come at a serious cost, most particularly at the likely expense of affordable and social housing!

Another councillor suggested in his 6 months of being in position he had studied and got to grips with the Local Plan process of Castle Point, all 12 years+ of it!

We have heard talk at National level of No Plan being better than a Bad Plan.

Luckily in a democracy we are allowed to say and vote accordingly, especially if we feel this is the case.

Perhaps some councillors felt that “Local Factors” still affect the cpbc Plan making process, it has before!

What the leadership and officers must remember is that they have solely been responsible for the debacle of a situation they have found  themselves in, they have voted in Favour of every single Plan put before the members and it was they that Failed the Duty to Cooperate test with the 2016 Plan, before that even reached examination stage.

For it to be claimed that the Lead group allowed a free vote on the Plan makes it all the worse that it appeared that one councillor was taken ill, possibly due to the pressure of the occasion, and another was left upset by remarks following the vote.

In a democracy it is peoples right to make up their own minds, and it is important they are allowed to do so without fear of recriminations.

Now it is important that those who have Failed us should not take the Lead should intervention occur.

The Gov. Chief Planner is fully capable of putting together an unbiased and neutral team of planners and examiners.

Perhaps this is what those so forcefully behind an approval vote fear the most.

Now following the recent posts leading up to Wednesdays meeting, we have encouraged participation through the comments column.

This time for many reasons there will be none allowed, as the saying goes, they will have to “suck it up!”

This Post is purely in appreciation of the councillors who took a brave decision in spite of the consequences and took the more difficult decision to vote, right or wrong, according to their consciences for what they felt was Right.

Those brave mainland and Island councillors are what makes this country what it is.

The rest of us must learn to live with it, or come up with a more convincing argument other than intimidation!

There is a very real case for an Inquiry into the Matter!

 

How NOT to Build Cross Community Consensus, the Castle Point Way! A Joint meeting with Canvey and Mainland Residents apparently “Not Effective”!

Embracing the spirit of localism, a small contingency of Canvey Island and Benfleet community representatives, collectively requested an opportunity to discuss their Development concerns, with Castle Point Council leader, Cllr Smith.

smiff

Residents having recognised that the loss of Castle Point Green Belt sites, that are in close proximity, will have a cumulative impact on the local environment.

Unfortunately, seemingly wishing to avoid a combined group meeting, made up of the Dutch Village and Jotmans Farm Green Belt sites campaigners, the leader of CPBC, succeeds in promoting the perception, that communities from Canvey Island and Benfleet are being kept separate for an ulterior motive!

Local communities in this part of the Borough are clearly best placed to recognise that local and main roads are struggling to cope with the demands of today’s traffic, let alone the additional traffic brought about by the proposed large scale indiscriminate development.

The same communities are also best placed to understand how their health and wellbeing issues are directly linked to road traffic pollution and how their day to day functional requirements are already overstretched.
It was not unreasonable of us, to seek an open forum with cllr Smith, so as not to allow local campaigners to meet the leader in more “private” circumstances.

It may appear advantageous for residents with localised green belt site interests, seemingly at risk of development through the new Local Plan, to engage with cllr Smith via individual one to one meetings, however this may encourage the return to the problematic Local Factoring, that has blighted and festered mistrust, through previous versions of the CPBC Local Plan!

Having rejected the opportunity of bringing the community of Castle Point together, Cllr Smith has disingenuously failed to meet his communities public consultation expectations.

CPBC recognises that one of the key risks to the successful production of its Local Plan and its Policies is the possibility it would attract significant public opposition. This particular threat level has been scaled as “HIGH”, and mitigation measures were needed, in the face of Residents opposition to the Local Plan, to prevent slippage in the programmed time scale, raising the perceived Fear of Government Intervention.

CPBCs documented that:-
“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”

Cllr Smiths determination to meet with individual Green Belt groups in isolation contradicts this commitment.

Castle Point Local Plan clear hints that Green Belt and Greenfield Land to be sacrificed! Household Projection and Development Delivery doubts mean it’s time for local MP’s involvement?

The Outlook is Bleak for Canvey Island and Castle Point residents, regarding the levels and locations of the raft of new development, both Housing and Business, planned for the borough!

Conversations between “informed contacts” over the Local Plan have confirmed an extremely pessimistic outlook, especially where Green Belt, safety, commuting, policing, health services and general Infrastructure is concerned!

The likely proposed Housing Need numbers will propose eating into the Green Belt and green fields. This will quite rightly raise residents concerns and focus thoughts as to whose Housing Needs are being fulfilled.

this especially following the latest Household Growth Projections being lower than previously estimated. The most recent effect of this has prompted the North Herts local authority to revisit their Housing Need projections at the behest of the Local Plan examining Inspector!

The latest housing projection figures have emerged as being significantly lower than the proposed number of homes to be built in the North Hertfordshire Local Plan, with the district council criticised for “sweeping the numbers under the carpet”. Article may be viewed HERE.

The question raised is whether the substance of the Government’s drive for 300,000 new builds per annum, is to match actual Housing Need, or to fulfil an aspiration.

In the case of the North Herts Local Plan the Inspector has suggested that the LA’s Housing target should be revisited despite the suggestion the Housing Minister, having commented on the general subject;

Kit Malthouse acknowledged the impact of this (Household Projection levels being lower), and advised plan-making authorities should not “take their foot off the accelerator”

Surely if the Policy of Green Belt and its permanence, plus other accepted physical Constraints are to have any Credibility at all, an aspirational drive for a Housing Target that is beyond Need should be challenged.

Is this not time for our MP Rebecca Harris, to not be asking and providing answers ahead of the Castle Point “Special Council” meeting, part of the rigid Government Timetable set only to avoid Intervention?

A Local Plan solely drawn up to a rigid Timetable, rather than being supported by the latest Evidence Base documentation, Risks being found Unsound!

“In July 2017, the Leaders and Chief Executives of the South Essex Authorities (Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point, Rochford, Southend-on-Sea, Thurrock and Essex County Council) initiated an approach of collaboration to develop a long-term place-based growth ambition.
South Essex Joint Strategic Plan.

It is set to deliver a minimum of 90,000 new homes and 52,000 new jobs by 2038.”

Note the date July 2018, well ahead of Household Projection changes, Castle Point leader and ceo, have fully engaged on behalf of Castle Point in this venture, that has also set Housing Figures ahead of the Household Projections, knowing full well that we will not see Highway Infrastructure improvements in the Borough.

Whilst, the 3rd quarter 2018 New House Builds numbers are 15% up on last year, much of this may be influenced by Housing Association involvement in large projects.

Housing associations are involved in a number of big London developments, including Swan Housing Association’s £300m project in Poplar with 1,500 planned homes, half of which are slated as affordable.
Developer Countryside Properties and London & Quadrant (L&Q) Housing Trust have teamed up to redevelop the former Ford factory site in Dagenham with up to 3,000 homes, half of them affordable. Housing associations also play a big part in the north-west of England, where L&Q has gone into partnership with Trafford Housing Trust in Manchester.
Full report HERE.

Castle Point appears to hold more appeal to developers of Market Priced Housing, rather than Affordable builds.

Generally speaking the target of 300,000* new builds per Annum, apart from being an unsubstantiated target, also appears to be out of reach, at least for this year. Whether this is down to the economic background, especially where the current high deposit required for a mortgage is concerned, or the doubts over the Building Industry workforce in the uncertainty over Brexit**, is concerned should not influence to great an extent, the cpbc Local Plan.

What must be considered is how will releasing Green Field land affect the Borough without improved Infrastructure first, as we were promised.

CPBC leader cllr smith said;

Any development has to have infrastructure and that is the whole point of us having control of our plan. All of these issues will be taken into account, when we put forward our plan.” “Roads and the number of homes built are being considered because if we do not do something about it now, the Government will.”

Now it appears, following feedback, there may be little gained by Castle Point Borough council avoiding Intervention!

smiff

  • More about falling short of the 300,000 target by 50,000 HERE
  • More on Brexit and Building workforce HERE

 

 

Canvey Island the promised Land? “Good News” stories abound, but oh so Rarely come into Fruition! Canvey Way dualling, Roscommon Way, Somnes Ave widening, 3rd Access Road, Canvey 6 Point Plan, etc, etc, etc,,,,

Let’s consider one or two other high profile Castle Point promised “Good News” Stories that never came to fruition;

The Castle Point council 1998 Adopted Local Plan aspired to :-

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

More recent failed infrastructure good news stories;

The failure of the aspiration of the “Essex Local Transport Plan” with regards to the provision of the completion of Roscommon Way from Haven Road to the Western Esplanade.

Compounded by the extensive development in this part of Canvey, the failure to complete the Roscommon Way infrastructure, has brought vehicle movement from east – west via the Long Road area to a complete stand still, particularly at peak times. Long Road services a large number of side streets Schools and Commerce facilities.

Air quality in this area has previously been found to be directly compromised by the failure of the highway network to support traffic volume. Traffic movement schemes that improve the situation of Long Road Canvey Island are now beyond practicality.

Emergency Planning and Failure to secure a third road.

Yet another Good News Story literally flogged to death!

The likelihood of flooding of the access routes to and from Canvey Island will increase, following sea level rise.

Access to Canvey Island is currently only possible by two roads (A130 and B1006), both of which are connected to the same roundabout. Any disruption to these routes would hamper evacuation and severely limit access to the industrial areas on Canvey Island, including potential disruption to gas terminals and oil storage depots. This could have significant implications for the national economy since Canvey Island is one of the main gas distribution centres for the UK

Failure to secure the necessary surface water infrastructure funding. Another Good News Story that failed to materialise.
Remember this, the :-

“Canvey Island Six Point Plan”

“On 30th November 2015, a delegation from the Partnership including Rebecca Harris MP presented the Canvey Island 6 – Point Plan to Rory Stewart Government Minister with responsibility for Flooding.

The report summarises the work undertaken by the Partner organisations since the flood events in July 2014 and set out how Central Government funding would be used.

A summary of the Actions is set out below:

1. Action: Property Level Flood protection for @ 15k homes(@40k residents) Cost: £500,000
2. Action: Dredge reprofile and maintain Canvey Lake Cost: £2,000,000
3. Action: Increase Drainage Infrastructure Capacity Cost: £16,000,000
4. Action: Canvey Resilient Communities Programme Cost: £2,000,000
5. Action :Dredge reprofile and maintain Canvey Lake Cost: £2,000,000
6. Action: Investment in ‘Green Infrastructure’ Cost: £2,000,000 The work of the Multi Agency Partnership is continuing to address drainage matters on Canvey Island.

Cabinet is invited to note the report”

Flood Risk Warning and Response.

We are constantly being misled by the good news story that the Thames Estuary 2100 project commits to the repair and improvement of the Canvey Sea Defence. This is simply not true.

The Environment Agency ( although not in their remit to do so ) constantly inform CPBC when commenting on planning application for Canvey Island the following basic facts.

TE2100 Plan
The Thames Estuary 2100 (TE2100) Plan was published in November 2012, setting out  recommendations for flood risk management for London and the Thames Estuary through to the end of this century and beyond. Canvey Island is covered by policy “P4”. Policy P4 is to take further action to keep up with climate and land use change so that flood risk does not increase (Page 44 of TE2100 Plan).

The TE2100 Plan is an aspirational document, rather than a definitive policy, so whether the defences are raised in the future will be dependent on a cost benefit analysis and the required funding becoming available. If the defences are able to be raised, the proposed development will be protected from flooding during the 1 in 1000 annual probability event in line with climate change.

When determining the safety of a proposed development, cpbc should take this uncertainty over the future flood defences and level of flood protection into account. This may require consideration of whether obtaining the funds necessary to enable the defences to be raised in line with climate change, is achievable.

The failure to secure the long term safety of the community of Canvey Island before indiscriminate development, leaving its incumbent population totally reliant on electronic early warning systems, is not a good news story.

The “National Flood Forecasting Centre” are able to provide adequate and timely flood warnings. These warnings should be reviewed in close liaison with local Environment Agency and Met Office representatives to give an accurate picture of an approaching flood event. This will include the amount of flood water expected, the likely duration, the extent, the speed of flow and other hydrological data, the effect of tides, the depth of flooding and wind strength/direction.

It is imperative that this information should be considered alongside data on populations likely to be affected. This assessment should include population density, ability to evacuate, location relative to access and egress routes and vulnerable communities or individuals. There must also be an assessment of risks to critical infrastructure such as hospitals, water treatment works, hazardous installations and electricity generating plant.

Consideration should be given to the likely impact on road and rail network both in terms of evacuation and also incoming mutual aid. This information is often usually found in Multi-Agency Flood Plans.
Once a full picture of the potential flood is established, a strategy for dealing with the incident must be developed.
This should set the priorities for the management of the event and allow an accurate assessment of rescue needs

The “National Flood Forecasting Centre” seeks to give adequate and timely flood warnings targeted at Local Authorities such as CPBC so as to provide longer lead time flood forecasts to assist Category 1 and 2 responders with their roles and responsibilities in handling emergency situations.

The national warning facility has operated since 2006 and yet Castle Point Borough Council has known full well that Residents of Canvey Island Cannot be Evacuated!

That there is a considerable population, a large number of which are ageing and vulnerable.
Knowing that the ramifications of a failure of sea defences, of a flood defended area, are known to be catastrophic.

The whole of Canvey Island constitutes a flood cell, in other words we are living in a bowl.

Incredibly CPBC has systematically adopted a flood risk sequential approach to the development of Canvey in total isolation of the rest of the Borough.

The deliberate approach by our local authority to increased development, significantly increases the Island’s population, and in doing so increases the number of persons at actual risk should a Flood Event occur!

Joshua Promised Land

Joshua, leading the people to the Promised Land

Pic: LDS.org