The much Heralded Castle Point Local Plan2016, the answer to all of our problems, will officially be put to the Sword this evening.
There may be a shortage of Pink Sack Recycling Sacks in the coming weeks as cpbc staff dispose of the mountain of Evidence and Plan paperwork that has accumulated in the Core Strategy / Local Plan process!
The council Agenda Paperwork explains that there is NO gain to be made by continuing with the current Local Plan;
Independent legal advice has been obtained, and it concludes there is unlikely to be any legal basis for a challenge to the Planning Inspector’s findings.
The Planning Practice Guidance explains that “Where the Inspector concludes that the duty to cooperate or other basic procedural requirements have not been met, or there are fundamental issues regarding the soundness of the plan that cannot be addressed through modifications, it will be recommended that the submitted plan is not adopted. In these circumstances the local planning authority will be unable to adopt the Local Plan and it should be withdrawn…”
The Guidance goes on to explain that “Speedy withdrawal of a plan in such circumstances provides certainty to the local community, applicants and other interests about the status of the planning framework in the area. Until a revised plan is brought forward to adoption, any existing Local Plan policies will remain in place.”
…. the New Local Plan 2016 can carry no weight in making decisions on planning matters, because of the flaws identified by the Planning Inspector in its preparation.
It (agenda paper) goes on to suggest that recent Planning Applications, either for approvals or dismissals, may have been unsound. Those that were approved against residents wishes are unchallengeable, whilst those dismissed against developers wishes may well be liable to Appeal!
Strikingly one such case was the approval of Flats in Foksville Road. Objections were made regarding the visual impact having no regard to the Canvey Town Centre Masterplan. The Masterplan was published spelling out that a design “theme” should be incorporated so as to add cohesion to the whole town centre, rather than allowing piecemeal approvals leaving us with a lack of coordinated design of shops and Flats.
In fact cpbc planning officers instructed development committee members during their consideration of the Foksville Road proposal;
“whilst the Canvey Town Centre Master Plan is an adopted policy document it is at an embryonic stage and something of an aspirational document with limited commercial commitment. The proposals within the plan will not be delivered in the short or medium term and are unlikely to come to fruition in their current form. As such it is not considered that this document can carry significant weight in the determination of the current application. A reason for refusal based on conflict with the Canvey Town Centre Master Plan is unlikely to be supported on appeal.”
Consequently members of the “full” council will tonight be informed via agenda paperwork by contradictory evidence!:
“non-statutory supplementary planning guidance documents which have been prepared since that time which the Council has adopted for planning purposes, and which will remain in place:
Canvey Town Centre Masterplan Supplementary Planning Document July 2012″
If only for the Canvey Town centre regeneration’s sake, let us hope that at some of the councillors will take note!
In a Cart before the Horse statement in tonight’s officers advice paperwork they conclude that;
it is clear from the Planning Inspector’s findings that it is now necessary to put in place formal mechanisms to consider strategic matters.
7.5 To assist with this, a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been approved by all 5 South Essex local planning authorities and the County Council
Furthermore work has now commenced on a non-statutory joint strategic planning framework for South Essex
During the public examination of evidence behind the Duty to Cooperate failure, it was pointed out that the South Essex councils had considered and rejected a joint Plan for the area, at a very early stage in the Plan process! To have not then explored and carried out a cooperative future approach to the group of councils plan making process is illogical.
Some serious discussion is relevant to indicate where the fault lies for, what has fundamentally led to the failure of the cpbc Local plan2016!
Is this an officer or councillor led Plan? Whoever, has now involved Castle Point residents in even more unnecessary costs!
Future planning policy work would be described in any new Local Development Scheme with estimated costs.
Even more worrying, with the list of planning applications already lodged PLUS the Jotmans Farm proposal still in the hands of Secretary of State following the developer’s Appeal, is the position the council have left concerned residents in;
The withdrawal of the New Local Plan will means that the Council will now continue to use of the Adopted Local Plan 1998, supplementary planning documents and the NPPF for the control of development.
And just to finish off in true comedic optimistic fashion, the cpbc crystal ball forsees;
No definitive timeframe has yet been agreed for this work but it is likely to take in the order of two years.
No doubt at much great expense to residents!