Tag Archives: Failure

Canvey Island, the Development “Special Case” and Castle Point Council Failings!

Of late there have been reasons enough to query the sense in planning to over populate Canvey Island!

Following the “disputed” moratorium of housing development on Canvey, blamed upon the Environment Agency, a successful bid for Canvey Island to be viewed as a “Special Case” was launched.

Below follows the Castle Point committee meeting minutes whereby this cautious approach was over-turned and afterwards comes comment on the possibility of people investing in new properties with the danger of experiencing extremely high flood risk premiums or even finding themselves unable to secure flood risk cover at all.

We conclude with some Planning guidance that may suggest that development on Flood Zones and indeed in the Green Belt could, indeed should, be avoided.

We hope you find this locally enlightening.

Castle Point Borough Council decision to remove restriction of developing the Zone 3 flood plain of Canvey Island.

PLANNING COMMITTEE MINUTES
6TH FEBRUARY 2007
PRESENT:
Councillors Smith (Vice-Chairman who chaired the meeting), Anderson, Cole, Cross, Dixie, E. Egan, Mrs Goodwin, R.C. Howard, Riley and B.S. Wood
Councillors Mrs Challis Mrs B. Egan, Ladzrie and Mrs Liddiard
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Blackwell, Mrs Iles, Sharp and Mrs J.Govier.
73. PLANNING POLICY STATEMENT 25: DEVELOPMENT & FLOOD RISK
The Committee was informed and discussed the new amended national policy on development and flood risk set out in Planning Policy Statement 25, published in December 2006 which contained new and amended planning policies to mitigate and avoid the impact of flooding through good planning and flood risk management.
The Committee had previously commented on the consultation on the draft PPS 25 at the meeting on 7.2.2006.
The report before the Committee described the structure of PPS 25 which contained five sections covering background; key planning objectives; decision making principles; risk based approach and responsibilities; supported by a further eight annexes.
Members considered the implications for Castle Point arising from PPS25. The new PPS would have a particular bearing on the work for the Local Development Frame work and on the consideration of planning applications.
In terms of planning policy work, a strategic flood risk assessment had been prepared for Thames Gateway South Essex authorities and was to be published by Spring 2007. This would help inform the preparation of the Core Strategy by identifying broad locations within Castle Point and other authorities that would be appropriate locations for development.
In development control and for the purposes of PPS25, Canvey Island was located in Flood Zone 3 (High Probability), because the PPS ignored the presence of existing defences (acknowledged to be some of the most comprehensive in the country). Accordingly the requirement for flood risk assessments to accompany planning applications had also been in place for some time and in particular the application of both the sequential test and the exceptions test.
Planning Committee – 6th February 2007
This initially caused difficulties, particularly for smaller scale development, because of the uncertainty over requirements for these assessments and their relevance and applicability to such schemes. However experience had suggested that through discussion with the Environment Agency, developers, agents and landowners were now clearer about, first the requirements of the these tests, but more importantly, secondly, how to carry out development whilst at the same time mitigating the risk associated with flooding through careful design at the application stage.
Resolved –
1. That the Committee notes the policy guidance and advice of PPS 25.
2. That the Committee have regard to the guidance and advice in the preparation of the Local Development Documents and in the consideration of relevant planning applications, in order to achieve the Council’s community priorities and deliver sustainable development.
Chairman.

However the Insurance Industry does not share the Councils optimism
The short term solution Flood Re is a scheme funded by a levy on insurers that reinsures their customers’ flood risk, allowing them to offer flood insurance to those homes at risk at a more affordable price.
One of the most important aspects of Flood Re is that it provides time for insurers, the government and homeowners to address deficiencies in planning policy, invest in flood defences and improve the resilience of housing stock. The scheme is intended to be operational for 25 years, during which time there will be a role for central and local government, the insurance industry, environmental organisations, housing providers and homeowners in tackling flood risk. After this 25 year period, the Flood Re scheme assumes that improvements in flood resilience, as well as more sophisticated and readily available flood data will leave the insurance industry in a position to offer more affordable cover in a risk-reflective free market.
Properties built since 2009 are not eligible for Flood Re, which in theory should introduce pressure on planners to fully consider flood risk before new homes are built. However there remains a challenge in ensuring that a new property’s flood risk is properly communicated both to the buyer and the insurance industry, so that both parties can avoid any shocks further down the line.
As well as providing a period of breathing space for industry and policymakers, Flood Re also intends to provide a point of focus for the next 25 years, to continue the debate about addressing the root of the environmental and planning issues. But the inescapable realities of climate change, coupled with a seeming lack of a long-term approach to investment in flood defence measures means that the success of these ambitious plans is far from guaranteed.

Planning Guidance tells us that when :

Applying the Sequential Test in the preparation of a Local Plan;
“As some areas at lower flood risk may not be suitable for development for various reasons and therefore out of consideration, the Sequential Test should be applied to the whole local planning authority area to increase the possibilities of accommodating development which is not exposed to flood risk.
More than one local planning authority may jointly review development options over a wider area where this could potentially broaden the scope for opportunities to reduce flood risk and put the most vulnerable development in lower flood risk areas”.
The latest Castle Point Local Plan failed the Duty to Cooperate requirement. The Examining Planning Inspector noted in his failure Report:

Indeed, the officer report of July 2014 which set out the full document representations on the draft New Local Plan (CP/05/008) includes the following as an action point:

Given that the Council has not been able to identify a sufficient supply of housing to meet its objectively assessed needs, it is also necessary to engage with neighbouring authorities under the auspices of the Duty to Cooperate in order to determine how the objectively assessed need for housing, and other strategic matters, will be addressed within the housing market area.

However, notwithstanding the lengthy and detailed engagement across south Essex there is no formal mechanism in place to distribute unmet housing need.

The problem is that this is once again only guidance and we have often been reminded by CPBC planning officers of this fact when they deliberate on planning proposal for Canvey Island.
It would seem that any guidance that has not been fulfilled can be ignored, as far as Canvey Island is concerned, as it is only for consideration purposes.

£?,000,000 Block Buster – a Decade in the making Castle Point Local Plan IV – the Sequel! “Missing the Point”

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“Fear not, for I have a plan!”

Castle Point Residents should be concerned as to why Local Plan Version III has ended in withdrawal with the vast waste of time and tax payers monies.

The Examining Inspector pinpointed the failure of the Castle Point council’s legal duty to have engaged constructively with neighbouring local authorities, actively and on an ongoing basis so as to prepare an effective Local Plan, in the context of strategic cross boundary matters.

The Duty to Cooperate work requirement, supports the evidence base that in turn supports the Local Plan Policies.

However the Duty to Cooperate is not a duty to agree!

The Inspector has indicated that CPBC have failed to fulfil the expected working practises.

The Duty to Cooperate was created in the Localism Act 2011.

During September 2014 a senior Planning Inspector held a “Secret” training session with CPBC senior officers and councillors.

Following a briefing I learnt that the Inspector, Mr K.Holland, made very clear that CPBC were expected to;

“Objectively assess its Housing Needs, Plan to meet those Needs, and very importantly undertake the Strategic Planning using the Duty to Cooperate that used to be done at Regional level.”

He pointed out that the Government is “completely uncompromising about these points”!

This, I was told, was the very first point that he stressed to the councillors and officers.

However the meeting was arranged as councillors were seeking to protect Castle Point Green Belt and wished to hear what options were available to them.

It is likely that councillors may have missed the Inspector’s opening warning regarding the Duty to Cooperate, however it would Not Have By-Passed the Officers!

Having found that CPBC could not meet its Housing Needs, and settled for 50% as a target, the Local Plan2016 then further sought a reduced target of 25% of Housing Need.

This would clearly indicate that much work and involvement with neighbouring Boroughs, to examine whether agreements could be reached over sharing Housing Delivery, would be a fundamental requirement.

Instead the Local Plan 2016 was submitted for Examination, knowingly failing the Duty to Cooperate, and supported by the 2013 Green Belt Boundaries review written in support of the rejected draft 2014 local Plan.

In other words the local Plan2016 was submitted knowingly doomed to failure!

 The local government Assoc. Consider “Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.”

Given the time and expense, reaching many, many hundred of thousand of Pounds to Castle Point residents, it is surprising that the belatedly undertaking of steps to fulfil the Duty to Cooperate, and the likely emergence of Local Plan Mk IV, has commenced without any apportionment of blame on the local authority, nor apology issued  to Castle Point residents, nor explanation of the reason behind the decision to submit a local Plan that would fail at the first requirement! 

View the Echo comment and Green Belt part of the allegedly leaked cpbc video HERE