Tag Archives: essex county council

Jotmans Farm High Court Appeal – NOT for Castle Point council to Defend?

Green Belt Campaigners, particularly those concerned for the future of Jotmans Farm, having been kept well and truly in the dark over the High Court challenge to the Secretary of State’s decision to oppose development of the area, should be concerned to note the apparent inactivity by Castle Point Borough Council.

big_mushroom_svg_thumb

Mushroom syndrome where you’re kept in the dark

The statement issued by CPBC as reported in the Echo Newspaper reads;

“As the appeal is actually against the decision of the Secretary of State, it is for the Secretary of State to defend.”

“The council is monitoring the situation, councillors have been kept informed..”

The second point made by CPBC and why it was felt it in-necessary to inform residents, we covered HERE.

If you have read the Post’s link and read the contents you will be aware that, in the case of the Glebelands High Court Appeal, Castle Point Council were named as Defendents!

So referring back to the cpbc statement in the Echo above, it may appear to be a remarkably un-reassuring and passive position for our Local Authority to assume!

After all, as recently as the 11th July of this year Essex County Council, to which Castle Point residents are represented Agreed the following Motion, passed with Unanimous Approval

Perhaps some clarity is deserved by Residents from our local councillors after reading the following, of which they will also be aware;

Planning and Infrastructure

At the July 2017 Essex County Council meeting, it was Agreed (with UNANIMOUS Cross-Party support) that;

Essex County Council will not support Local (Development) Plans unless adequate resources are identified from developers, local councils and/or Government grants to ensure that sufficient infrastructure, including roads, schools, medical facilities, parking, sewerage and drainage, is provided in a timely manner and in a way that balances the needs to promote economic growth and provide housing for residents whilst protecting their quality of life.

Given the significant housing development emerging from Local Development Plans, this Council reaffirms its commitment to this policy. This Council also expresses its concern that whilst Local Development Plans and Neighbourhood Plans are being progressed to decide where this housing should be best located, some developers are exploiting the lack of a 5 year housing supply to gain planning permission on greenfield sites, often outside the development boundary, even when these sites have been excluded from the draft local plan and in some cases where there are brownfield sites available or in the pipeline.

This Council therefore calls on the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to issue urgent statutory guidance, which removes the opportunity for this exploitation and protects valued greenfield sites from predatory development.

Previously agreed at the October 2014 Full Council meeting.

It would appear negligent if legal representation was not made during the High Court Appeal by Castle Point Council to reiterate the County Council’s Policy on exploitation of Green Belt sites, especially those which will undoubtedly have a major impact upon road infrastructure, especially during the cpbc Local Plan process.

Thorney Question of Over-developing a Small Island in Castle Point!

Given that there is a possibility Canvey Island may suffer another Tidal Flood, given that we may again suffer from Surface Water Flooding as in 2013 and 2014, given that there may be another leak of LPG from Calor Gas, given that OIKOS have been granted permission by CPBC to increase activities in the importation, storage and blending of butane, and however small the risks, should not the Distribution of Housing Growth as imposed by Castle Point Borough Council (cpbc) be called into serious Question? *

Already there are over 38,500 residents on Canvey Island. If there were to be a major incident from just one of these four sources, an Evacuation of the Island, given the population level, the lack of access / egress routes and there being No Means of Warning, would be an impossibility. Is it time to cap the population level? We believe it is!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Rather than accepting these “dangers” the powers that be at cpbc, appear to have their eyes and ears covered to blot out the concerns of the population on Canvey Island exposed to possible incidents in the desire to offset Housing and Business development away from the controlling mainland part of the Borough. Little wonder there is an active group hoping to convince the Boundary Commission to leave the Borough’s borders alone!

The denial of Climate Change, the absolute faith in our sea defence, the faith in the “hard work” undertaken to “maintain” the Island’s drainage system and the assurances from the two Top Tier COMAH sites, amount to little more than roll off the tongue Platitudes!

We stand accused of scare-mongering, then so be it!

We call it living in the Real World and “facing” realities. Fore-warned is Fore-armed.

Canvey’s highway infrastructure is restrictive, all routes converging at Waterside Roundabout, meaning evacuation is impossible and our limited Fire and Rescue cover means response times for assistance are likely to be prolonged.*

Green Belt is protected in planning terms by the Very Special Circumstances needed before the consideration of any development proposal.

Consider that, against a development proposal within a Flood Risk Zone and within the Consultation Distance of a Major Hazard site!

This is what requires not only for planning considerations, but also leading council members and officers to consider their consciences, with the proposal to develop 113 dwellings at Thorney Bay, Canvey Island.

This is only the first phase of a major development consisting of “approximately 600 dwellings” plus “Park Homes.”

The cpbc planning portal indicates that the developer may have overcome, to cpbc’s satisfaction, the requirements of the HSE, the Environment Agency and Essex County Council, the surface water drainage experts.

However these agencies lifting of Objections should not be seen as them giving their Approval!

In fact their concerns indicate that they Do Not Rule Out the Possibility of one or other Incidents occurring in the Future!

Within their comments they give very distinct warnings and concerns and indicate quite clearly the final decision and the Responsibility is Castle Point council’s ALONE!

Below are a few of the consultee agencies points of concern over the Thorney Bay proposal and further below are links to some previous incidents etc of some interest.

The Environment Agency state;

Our role is to provide you with our assessment of the risk for matters within our remit so that you can make an informed decision

“The FRA (flood risk assessment) proposes no detriment in off-site flood hazard for the design and extreme floods and manages this via a proposed embankment, subject to condition.”  Approval of the design of the proposed embankment is therefore necessary as a pre commencement condition, as the embankment is essential to safeguard against the offsite impacts. Without the construction of the embankment off site impacts would be seen

Provided you consider the development meets the requirements set out in the NPPF, including that it is safe for its lifetime and does not increase the risk of flood risk off site, we request that the following conditions are appended to any permission granted. Without these conditions our objection will be maintained.

Flood Risk Responsibilities for your Council    

We have not considered the following issues as part of this planning application as they are not within our direct remit; nevertheless these are all very important considerations for managing flood risk for this development, and determining the safety and acceptability of the proposal. Prior to deciding this application you should give due consideration to the issues below. It may be that you need to consult relevant experts outside your planning team.     

Safety of the building 

 Safety of People (including the provision and adequacy of an emergency plan, temporary refuge and  rescue or evacuation arrangements) 

Flood recovery measures (including flood proofing and other building level resistance and resilience measures) 

Whether insurance can be gained or not

Sustainability of the development – we advise you consider the sustainability of the development over its lifetime.

Your attention is brought to the proposed Roscommon Way Extension that is likely to pass immediately to the south of this proposed development site. Consideration is required of residual tidal flood risk at a master planning level to evaluate if further proposed phases of the Thorney Bay caravan park development could become less deliverable, unless suitable mitigation measures are identified and designed, with regards to breach characteristics – mainly depth, time to inundation and hazard ratings. Future proposed Flood Risk Vulnerability Classification will need to be considered alongside the residual tidal flood risks to ensure a sequential approach to future site layout is maintained.

 

ECC Lead Local Flood Authority position;

Having reviewed the Flood Risk Assessment and the associated documents which accompanied the planning application, do not object to the granting of planning permission.

Condition 1

 No works shall take place until a detailed surface water drainage scheme for the site, based on sustainable drainage principles and an assessment of the hydrological and hydro geological context of the development, has been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. The scheme should include but not be limited to:

  • Final modelling and calculations for all areas of the drainage system.
  • A final drainage plan which details exceedance and conveyance routes, FFL and ground levels, and location and sizing of any drainage features.

Reason:

  • To prevent flooding by ensuring the satisfactory storage of/disposal of surface water from the site.
  • To ensure the effective operation of SuDS features over the lifetime of the development.                 
  • To provide mitigation of any environmental harm which may be caused to the local water environment                                                                                                                                                            
  • Failure to provide the above required information before commencement of works may result in a system being installed that is not sufficient to deal with surface water occurring during rainfall events and may lead to increased flood risk and pollution hazard from the site.

Condition 2

 No works shall take place until a scheme to minimise the risk of offsite flooding caused by surface water run-off and groundwater during construction works and prevent pollution has been submitted to, and approved in writing by, the local planning authority.

Reason

 The National Planning Policy Framework paragraph 103 and paragraph 109 state that local planning authorities should ensure development does not increase flood risk elsewhere and does not contribute to water pollution.

 Construction may lead to excess water being discharged from the site. If dewatering takes place to allow for construction to take place below groundwater level, this will cause additional water to be discharged. Furthermore the removal of topsoils during construction may limit the ability of the site to intercept rainfall and may lead to increased runoff rates

Health and Safety Executive state;

More than 10%of the housing development lies within the middle zone, – through the HSE Planning Advice Web App advised Against the granting of Planning Permission.

However, having given more detailed consideration, HSE has concluded that it is appropriate for HSE to provide case-specific advice on this proposal outside of the codified planning methodology provided.

The layout indicates that a total of 30 dwellings at a housing density of 38 dwellings per hectare within the middle zone.

HSE’s advice is that significant housing should be prevented from being built in the inner zone and only a limited number of houses at a low density.

The overall objective is to maintain the separation of incompatible development from the Major Hazard.

HSE would advise Against any planning application which seeks to locate any additional dwellings within the middle zone of Calor Gas Ltd.

Instead of using the HSE Planning Advice Web App, Castle Point Borough Council should therefore consult HSE directly for advice on any future planning applications which propose further residential development at Thorney Bay Park within the middle zone of Calor Gas Ltd.

*Below are links to;

*Reduction in Essex Fire and Rescue Service cover view HERE

*Calor Gas Leak court decision view HERE

*OIKOS permission granted view HERE

Editor. It should be pointed out that any emphasis included in the text is the author’s.

 

The State of Castle Point – Roads that is! Passing the Buck needs to Stop!

The problem of Unadopted and Private streets and roads in Castle Point and Canvey Island in particular, has dragged on far too long. With the potential to deal an “unexpected” heavy financial blow to residents at anytime, this is another ticking time-bomb affecting Canvey Island and some parts of the Castle Point mainland. 

This matter was recently discussed by Castle Point Cabinet during the January 2017 meeting.

Essex County Council says it will work with Castle Point Council to solve the issue.

Despite many-many complaints from residents over many years, the subject more likely has drawn some interest from the local authority through the actions of ex-councillor C.Letchford in changing a couple of street lamp bulbs.

The CPBC chief executive moved at the time, February 2016, to persevere in determining with ECC that the County Council are responsible for the street lighting maintenance, even on unadopted roads.

One year further on Castle Point cabinet have resolved to……… continue trying!

mgyUt3K

Our local authorities can be very sensitive souls, so care must be taken in approaching County and should all of cpbc’s efforts be thwarted, only then may they consider court action. In effect it appears our representatives are more concerned about how it would appear should the Borough authority take out a legal action against the County authority , rather than the potential injury and criminal activity against us residents! 

During the January cpbc cabinet meeting the member responsible for finance suggested residents expecting  the council to fund the maintenance of street lights and bulbs were being “ridiculous”.

It would therefore appear that cpbc are chiefly concerned only for those roads where Castle Point Borough Council are actually “frontagers” themselves, thereby being responsible for maintenance of roads AND lighting!

With some private and unadopted road surfaces deteriorating to the point of being dangerous the question must be raised as to responsibility. The likelihood is that on purchasing a house fronting an unadopted road the buyer would be made aware of responsibilities by their solicitor, however unless maintenance is approached collectively, repairs are likely to be of little effect.

A street light holder may be unsafe, should it fall, this is likely to affect only the nearest property. Likewise if one lamp fails, those who only ever pass by in a vehicle using headlights will be unconcerned.

It has been accepted that crime increases during “lights out” periods.

Roads, some without pavements, have deteriorated to a standard that is both dangerous to pass and, more importantly, may be considered seriously discriminatory against those less-able to pass!

img_0321-2

Many years ago, houses were developed under the agreement of Canvey Island Urban District Council, with monies reportedly collected from the developers held to meet the future making up to standard of the roads. Sometime between the monies collection and the passing onto Castle Point Borough Council, these funds appear to have become unaccountable for.

Many roads are now in an unacceptable condition to the detriment of car users, pedestrians and most importantly the less-able, many street lamps are in need of changing. Of lesser importance, but still relevant is the “Pride of Place” issue.

These issues have reached a stage where it is unfair for Individual Residents to be held responsible, the only approach can be a Collective approach!

A Collective of Individual Residents, we suggest, is actually a “Council”!

Why, with all of the substantial “Rainy Day” Reserve Funds that our local authorities have, cannot it be arranged for an annual budget (of residents council taxes) to be used to bring roads and lighting up to an acceptable and safe standard?

These funds could then be re-couped off of the responsible residents via various sympathetic methods and time period, and used to replenish the original outlay!

Why must it always be acceptable for such slow progress to be made in matters concerning local authorities, in this case the 43 years that Castle Point Borough Council was formed!

And even in the “light” of their own inactivity, our local authority still felt entitled to criticise a resident taking the initiative!

See “Councillor changes Light Bulb” newspaper report HERE! 

 

 

Garden Villages Funding Criteria, Castle Point Council joins in the Debate-Sort of!

Further news on the failure of Castle Point Council to investigate the possibility of applying for Government funding for a “Garden Village” within the Borough to bolster the Local Plan2016’s housing supply.

A cpbc  “spokesperson” told the Echo the “Blinking Owl” site “did not meet the criteria for funding.”

No explanation was expressed as to what that funding criteria might be.

Interestingly a Basildon councillor has commented on social media regarding the successful allocation of funding for the “garden village” proposed at nearby Dunton.

Basildon Cllr Andrew Schrader wrote; “Firstly, what has happened here is that Brentwood Borough Council made an application to the ‘Locally-Led Garden Villages, Towns & Cities Prospectus’, which was issued by the Government back in March last year. This invited expressions of interest to be submitted to the Homes & Communities Agency for funding.

Now, in February of that year, Basildon Borough Council had objected to Brentwood BC’s proposals for the new village (then called Dunton Hills Garden Village) in response to their Draft Local Plan. Basildon BC’s objection centred around the lack of evidence to support the proposals – Brentwood had no input from Essex Highways; there had been no Green Belt Review, etc.”

It appears that similarly to the “Blinking Owl” proposal, Dunton is not supported by Essex County Council Highways and furthermore, unlike Castle Point BC, had not been subject to a Green Belt Review.

We wonder what thecriteria for funding” that the cpbc spokesperson referred to might be that excluded a Castle Point bid?

Having said that we should point out that the Canvey Green Belt Campaign group have not taken a position on this subject as it is a sensitive mainland matter. Previous post on this matter can be read HERE.

Essex FRS

Meanwhile Andrew Lainton posted in his Blog the following regarding Housing Numbers and the reaction from ministers, cpre etc;

The most contentious issue is a plan to force councils to increase the number of homes in the local plans that they are required to produce.

The prime minister still remembers, according to people familiar with the debate, the reaction from the shires when the coalition sought to overhaul the planning system five years ago through changes to the national planning policy framework (NPPF).

“You have to remember that Theresa May is MP for quite a leafy home counties seat where people are probably not very gung-ho about new homes being built,” said one official, while a senior Tory MP said: “It’s not just May who has issues with this, other senior ministers are very concerned. They just can’t speak out because they are ministers.”

Mr Javid has the backing of Greg Clark, business secretary, who as a junior minister led the reforms to the NPPF. Both ministers believe that tackling house prices is a crucial plank of the government’s attempts to help “just about managing” voters.

But Shaun Spiers, chief executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said that it would be “toxic” to force councils to increase their targets when local authorities are already struggling to meet existing goals.

“If this happens there will be a huge backlash in Middle England. People will not have faith in the planning system,” he said. “We will return to a situation where not enough homes are getting built but we still have lots of planning battles.”

Andrew Mitchell, the party’s former chief whip, recently threatened to use “all legal means” to block the government’s decision to let more than 6,000 homes be built on greenbelt land in his seat of Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands.

The development was approved despite a Conservative manifesto pledge to protect the greenbelt. Mr Mitchell has spoken of “anger and disappointment” in his constituency over the issue.

He argued that other MPs are likely to see Mr Javid’s white paper through the prism of that decision: “The Sutton Coldfield decision is likely to remove the benefit of the doubt from the government over greenbelt issues,” he said.

The NPPF obliged councils to draw up growth-focused local plans, including an assessment of housing need and evidence that they have five years’ worth of development land available. Authorities that fail to produce these targets face an appeal process which favours developers.

Local people are up in arms. They are not getting any infrastructure or any kind of gain from these developments and they see themselves as besieged by builders.

Martin Tett, housing spokesman for the Local Government Association

Ministers have also considered “punishing” such councils by excluding them from funding sources such as the New Homes Bonus or the recently announced Housing Infrastructure Fund.

One person present at a meeting between Gavin Barwell, the housing minister, and local councils said the minister had appealed to Conservative local authorities to support increased local targets for new housebuilding.

“There haven’t been any incentives for local authorities to support this . . . When you try to make the small local planning system bear this enormous obligation on housing, it’s like putting 20,000 volts through a small hamster,” he said.

Martin Tett, housing spokesman for the Local Government Association and Conservative leader of Buckinghamshire County Council, said: “If you get into a situation with central government effectively imposing top-down targets, you are back to a situation where local communities will really resent these housing numbers.”

He cited the local example of the Vale of Aylesbury, which has twice had its local plans rejected by the Planning Inspectorate and hence has no current plan in place. “It’s open season for virtually any speculative housebuilder in the country to come in and stick in planning applications which are very difficult to refuse.

“Local people are up in arms. They are not getting any infrastructure or any kind of gain from these developments and they see themselves as besieged by builders.”

Housebuilding in the UK has recovered from its post-crash lows and data published on Tuesday suggest a rise in activity and in mortgage approvals. But annual housebuilding, at 189,900 in 2015-16, is still below the estimate of at least 220,000 new homes needed just for the market to tread water.

The white paper is expected to emphasise the importance of building on brownfield sites and moving away from a reliance on the big housebuilders and could remove some height restrictions on new buildings.

A DCLG spokesperson said: “Local Plans put power in the hands of local people to decide where developments get built in their area. Planning policy encourages locally led development and does not set national housing targets.

“Our White Paper, to be published this month, will clearly set out how we plan to build the homes this country needs.”

A.Lainton’s blog can be reached via this LINK.

 

Eyes of Developers, councillors and Planners have a Duty to focus on Castle Point!

Castle Point council are probably aware of the Inspector’s decision as to whether the Duty to Cooperate on strategic matters has been complied with. The decision should be made public next week.

The Duty to Cooperate “places a legal duty on local planning authorities, county councils in England and public bodies to engage constructively, actively and on an ongoing basis to maximise the effectiveness of Local and Marine Plan preparation in the context of strategic cross boundary matters.

The duty to cooperate is not a duty to agree. But local planning authorities should make every effort to secure the necessary cooperation on strategic cross boundary matters before they submit their Local Plans for examination.

Local planning authorities must demonstrate how they have complied with the duty at the independent examination of their Local Plans. If a local planning authority cannot demonstrate that it has complied with the duty then the Local Plan will not be able to proceed further in examination.

Local planning authorities will need to satisfy themselves about whether they have complied with the duty. As part of their consideration, local planning authorities will need to bear in mind that the cooperation should produce effective and deliverable policies on strategic cross boundary matters.”

Castle Point representatives pointed out that through the Thames Gateway and South Essex Partnerships cooperation was underway between neighbouring authorities. Whether the areas of cooperation, and the levels of strategic success were satisfactory  in important areas, will be decided by the Inspector, Mr David Smith.

Development Committee

 

Castle Point is the smallest of the neighbouring Boroughs and therefore may not be expected to take lead responsibility in setting strategic cooperation agendas. By implication, should their duty to Cooperate be considered to have Failed, it could also be considered an indictment of the efforts of Essex County Council, the Unitary Authority that is Thurrock Council and Rochford, Basildon and Southend Councils.

Rose Grogan a barrister with 39 Essex Chambers and a specialist in planning and environmental law wrote, in March 2016;

“One particular issue is the question of how to get local planning authorities to engage with one another on the issue of housing.

The government’s answer to this in 2011 was the creation of a ‘duty to cooperate’ in the Localism Act. At the time, it was hailed as a better alternative to regional planning, removing an unnecessary layer of policy while still setting the framework for strategic planning across local authority boundaries.

On its face, the duty appears to provide a much-needed framework for addressing strategic planning problems. Local authorities are required to cooperate with one another on cross-boundary issues, and face having their plans found to be unsound by inspectors, leading to considerable delays in bringing forward a plan if the duty is not complied with.

There are cases where inspectors have found that a local authority has not discharged the duty: Central Bedfordshire, Aylesbury Vale, and Hart District Council are three examples. These local authorities barely engaged with their neighbouring authorities, and so it was a clear case of failing to discharge the duty.”

In practice, however, the duty to cooperate has been the subject of criticism, in particular because it is a duty of form, not substance. In some ways, the criticism is justified. For a start, it does not require agreement. All that is required is evidence that attempts have been made to cooperate.

A further criticism is that the duty is all stick and no carrot, there is little positive incentive for neighbouring authorities to cooperate, and the enforcement of the duty currently depends on inspectors taking a robust approach. What is not clear from cases where local authorities have fallen foul of the duty is whether the threat of unsoundness had any impact on their decision to go about cooperating (or not) in the way that they did.

Surprisingly, there have been very few challenges to inspectors’ conclusions that the duty has been complied with. The courts have therefore not had the opportunity to bolster the duty, nor do they appear interested in doing so. Very early on, the courts confirmed that the test on review is whether an inspector’s decision was rational, and the court will not embark on a more searching analysis of whether the duty has in fact been discharged.

Without a requirement that local authorities reach agreement, the duty will continue to fall short of achieving the ultimate aim of getting local planning authorities to meet housing need.”

“Do your duty as you see it, and damn the consequences.” George Patton Jr

Christmas – a season of goodwill to all men… Even Thurrock Borough Council?

The aspirational 2nd access route between Canvey Island and the Manor Way Thurrock which would serve Canvey Island, not only a means of congestion relief, but more importantly, a much needed Emergency Relief Road has caused some consternation between our local authority and Thurrock Council.

Castle Point Council appear to have the issue lodged somewhere between being essential and of low-level option, see HERE.

Some confusion as to the research and evidencing of the “need” for this emergency route became apparent during the evidence given by Essex County Council’s Highways representative.

Castle Point council’s efforts to secure funds to provide the evidence of vehicle capacity levels and usage of Canvey way and the need for a 2nd access route was apparently successful back in April 2014, see HERE.

Hopefully some evidence of need will come forward prior to the CPBC Local Plan2016 Examination, so as to support the intended and / or approved Housing and Business developments.

Thurrock’s approach to cpbc’s Local Plan and Duty to Cooperate efforts can be considered to rest somewhere between being un-neighbourly to downright unsympathetic!

marleys_ghost_original-ill-john-leech

Scrooge visited by Marley’s ghost, who is forever cursed to wander the earth dragging a network of heavy chains. Original ill. John Leech

In answering the cpbc Local Plan’s Examining Inspector’s questions on the Duty to Cooperate, Thurrock responded;

“Thurrock Council officers have consistently set out Thurrock Council’s objections to a Canvey Island to Thurrock link road through the consultation workshops and representations on the Castle Point New Local Plan and in discussions on South Essex transport infrastructure as part of South Essex officer scoping of key strategic matters (January 2016). However there has been no specific or formal meetings with Castle Point Council regarding the issue of the North Thameside Link Road either with Thurrock Council members or officers under the Duty to Cooperate (a more detailed response is included at question 15).

Thurrock Council is unaware of any detailed or specific meetings concerning a proposition for a North Thameside Link Road. No representations were received by Thurrock Council from Castle Point on the Issues and Options consultation of the Thurrock Local Plan that took place in February to March 2016.

 There have been no formal meetings or requests for discussions between Thurrock officers and members with Castle Point Council officers or members regarding a North Thameside Link Road. Castle Point Council have not formally requested such discussions as part of the local plan process. Furthermore Thurrock Council has not formally discussed this road link with Essex County Council as the highway authority.

 The Chancellor in his Budget Statement of March 2016 included a reference to a Canvey Island third road, this was in the context of (paragraph 1.319) which stated, “…The government will look at the case for other projects, such as the Canvey Island Third road, to be taken forward”. The statement does not directly commit the Government to the funding of a third road to Canvey or that it is linked to the Manorway Road in Thurrock.

  It is Thurrock Council’s understanding that Essex County Council are working with Castle Point Council in seeking funding for a feasibility study to consider an outline business case for access options to Canvey island and not specifically the case for the North Thameside Link Road or any road linking Canvey Island to Thurrock.

With regard to the North Thameside Link Road Thurrock Council had made objections to this proposal with regard to:  Lack of evidence;  Deliverability and programming;  Impact on the highway network  Impact on the environment;  Failure to meet duty to cooperate on this matter. Castle Point Council have not discussed any of these matters with Thurrock Council.

Castle Point should carry out a comprehensive and robust assessment of housing supply and Green Belt to ensure that the housing target in the plan represents the most robust allocation and target.

Thurrock Council recommends that due to its opposition and the uncertainty regarding the feasibility and deliverability of a North Thameside Link Road that it should be removed from the Castle Point New Local Plan and Proposals Map.”

Hopefully the Inspector will view this as a little misunderstanding and suggest that Thurrock should extend a hand of friendship to Castle Point  in the light of the need to work together in the interests of developing out the Thames Gateway corridor.

After all, it is the Season of Goodwill to All Men!

The Canvey Green Belt Campaign would like to thank our reader for his continued support and wish One and All a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

The Gloves are Off, the Duty to Cooperate works both Ways! Castle Point – Thames Gateway!

“Seconds Out – Round 1” – Would have been an appropriate opening introduction to the Castle Point examination into their Local Plan Duty to Cooperate process.

The meeting was attended by 5 of the local authority neighbours, half a dozen councillors, a handful of residents and a group of developer’s representatives.

It was noticeable that the Thurrock council representative adopted a particularly aggressive position in pointing out apparent flaws in the cooperation work undertaken by cpbc.

Claims were made that meetings to discuss areas such as a joint local plan for the Thames Gateway area had been undertaken, and claims were disputed as being un-evidenced.

CPBC officer Rogers, it must be recognised, acquitted himself professionally and was able to support his statements and generally produce the necessary evidence to support his points-made as and when required.

Whether or not enough cooperation has been undertaken will be the inspector’s decision alone, the agreement and success of cooperation is not necessarily the deciding factor. Given the levels of inter-borough ill will individual cooperation between the 5 local authorities on non strategic issues is apparently unlikely!

The concensus between the Basildon, Thurrock, Southend, Rochford and Essex county authorities was that Castle Point should have re-consulted them once the decision was taken to lower the local plan Housing Delivery from 200 dwellings per Annum down to 100 dwellings.  They felt a delay on publication of the cpbc Local Plan2016 should have followed.

Perhaps in hindsight, delaying publication of the LP2016 for 1 month, until the negative responses were received in writing, may have proved evidentially worthwhile!

However, our neighbours have indicated that they are also unlikely to be able to fulfil their own Assessed Housing Needs, therefore it can be argued that delay would have been fruitless as no assistance with adoption of some castle point Housing Need would be forthcoming!

It is a fact the Castle Point is in a position of being required to push ahead with the local plan process, not simply to comply with the Government’s requirement to complete by 2017, but are expected to by the Secretary of State following promises made during the Glebelands development Appeal inquiry. During which it was considered premature to find in favour of the developer as good progress was being made in the local plan making process.

Whilst Castle Point have published a plan for examination, Thurrock, the most judgemental of neighbouring authorities, expect to submit theirs around 2020.

379px-madlhatterbytenniel-svg

Depiction by Sir John Tenniel.

Essex County Council representatives appeared most concerned about Highways issues. On the 2nd access to Canvey Island they revealed that they have not, as yet, been supplied with evidence of the Need for a new or improved access route! ECC claimed they have applied for funding to research the matter.

The barrister representing cpbc at this stage even went to the lengths to point out that the 2nd access route to Canvey, in particular the Northwick Road to Manor Way Thurrock, had been demoted to an aspiration, or “low-level” option, within the Local Plan2016 rather than a crucial piece of infrastructure!

This point should be explored as Canvey Islanders have long been fed the line that this is a priority  piece of infrastructure by castle point council!

No mention was made of the Roscommon Way final phase.

The reduction in the intended castle point Housing Supply was then used to suggest that not only the 2nd access route for Canvey Island but also the Woodmans Arms and A127 Fairglen interchange, meant that Government funding would not be released!

Interesting then that the news of this funding block was released in the press just days before this Local Plan meeting.

One can only assume that such major improvement as in the case of the Fairglen inter-change is being used as a lever by ECC as a means of over-riding the adopted Green Belt policy being sought for adoption by castle point council.

It was clear that Castle Point are no better or worse than other neighbouring authorities where cooperation is concerned, perhaps others should have adopted a less aggressive approach.

The inspector’s findings are intended for release by the 6th January 2017 at the latest. “Watch this space” – as Pammie would say!