The Nasty Intervention men from the Ministry are due to visit Castle Point Council this week!
Just to avoid any accusations that we are misleading you, we reproduce faithfully the wording in the Secretary of State Sajid Javid’s letter to cllr C.Riley
“My officials will also begin formal discussions on the options of inviting Essex County Council to prepare a Local Plan for Castle Point and with the neighbouring authorities on the possibility of directing an accelerated Joint Plan”
From this single sentence it is clear to assume that “Houston, we have a Problem!”
Of course it would have been helpful and in the interests of Openness and Transparency, something that cpbc should be looking to emulate, to have seen exactly what Cllr Riley and the cpbc chief executive wrote in response to Sajid Javid’s threat of Intervention in our Local Plan process.
But it appears you will remain none the wiser!
Rushing-through a Local Plan is something that Basildon Council consider themselves adept at.
The “driver” in their move to adopt their own Local Plan at the recent council meeting, coincidently just a couple of days ahead of the Government’s Intervention letters being distributed to the 15 local authorities concerned, was, as expressed by a Basildon Senior Planning Official;
“it is clearly expressed that the unmet need of neighbouring authorities should also be taken into account when setting the housing target.
“This is relevant given that Southend-on-Sea and Castle Point (within out housing market area) experience quite significant physical constraints and are unlikely to be able to meet their housing target without breaching rules around flood risk and/or nature conservation – ie. 20,480 would be the least Basildon would be expected to deliver.”
Quick, Pull up the Drawbridge!
Although we can expect Basildon to be found out by their Examining Inspector if they haven’t specific proof that they have considered thoroughly Southend and Castle Point’s request for them to consider taking some of Castle Point’s constrained housing shortfall, assuming a request was made!
The thought that Essex County Council will also get involved in our Local Plan, when they view the Road Infrastructure on Canvey Island and the mainland as being acceptable is frightening to say the least.
ECC would likely support the Jotmans Farm proposal in the knowledge that the transport survey reveals;
“4.4 Site H14 – Land West of Benfleet:
By way of summary, the following key findings can be reported with regard to the appraisal of a potential link road between Benfleet and the A130 Canvey Way, as reported in this chapter:
The operation of the Sadlers Farm junction (Junction 1) is predicted to be comparable, in either scenario without or with the link road, with the results reported within the ‘amber’ range in all cases. When considered in further detail however, slight improvements to the operation of the junction are expected with the introduction of the link road, in both the AM and PM peak hours (although the results would remain in the ‘amber’ range);
The operation of the Tarpots junction (Junction 8) is predicted to be very similar, in either scenario without or with the link road, with the results reported within the ‘red’ range in all cases. Whilst in overall terms, a change in performance is not expected, improvements are predicted to occur at the junction for vehicles turning left from the B1006 onto the A13 and for vehicles turning right from the A13 onto the B1006;
The proposed roundabout junction on the A130 Canvey Way (Junction 21) is predicted to operate within its capacity threshold, within the ‘green’ range of results, allowing for its implementation with the link road. Further work to cost and design the link road and junction will be required, should this scheme be promoted further; and,
The junctions of Wavertree Road (Junction 22) and Jotmans Lane (Junction 23) are predicted to operare (sic) within their capacity thresholds, within the ‘green’ range of results, allowing for the implementation of the link road. Further design work will be required to consider how these existing junctions, and the roads they serve, should be treated with regard to their integration with any link road in this area should it be promoted further “ *
No mention of the backing up of Traffic onto Waterside Roundabout and across Canvey Island this new junction on Canvey Way will cause!
The assessment of highway access to the Blinking Owl site drew negative scoring;
“To support the full development therefore, one or more other access points would need to be put in place, which would be expected to require significant highway works and amendments to the existing network.”
Significant Highways works are not something Essex County Council appear eager to spend money on in our part of the County, despite the site appearing to be able to yield 2,000 plus dwellings!
Our County Authority deem the partial upgrade of the Fairglen InterchangeA127 / A130 as a major investment programme, albeit a partial scheme.
This junction typifies the short-termism and cost saving highway infrastructure schemes developed in this Country!
“ Essex County Council has carried out extensive survey work at the Interchange. In summary this shows”;
“• High levels of congestion • Three major roads joining at one location leading to traffic conflict”
“Current traffic flow data shows that the A130 arm from the north of the Interchange has reached its maximum capacity. All other arms of the roundabouts of the Interchange are close to capacity. Highest traffic flows are recorded on the A127 westbound in the morning peak and eastbound in the evening peak. This also results in congestion in the links between the roundabouts at the Interchange.”
And they (Essex County Council) propose? “Short term improvements”!
As far as Essex CC are concerned Somnes Avenue, Canvey Island was recognised as possibly benefitting from a proposed widening scheme, although it appears the cycle lane was of more importance, and the Woodmans Arms, Rayleigh Road, Thundersley is in need of an improved flow scheme!
It is of No Surprise then to have heard cllr Bill Dick when referring to the Hadleigh Regeneration Scheme and the redevelopment of the Library building, say that he considered Essex County Council had “Hung Castle Point Out to Dry”, where funding was concerned!
Castle Point Local Plan, in the hands of Basildon Council and Essex County Council would be a disaster in the Making, for our Borough!
For the Record, from the contact we have had, and the observations of them in carrying out their workload, we have found Planning Inspectors to be very fair minded. However they have made clear that their job is not to allocate development sites, only that local authorities have been reasonably fair and correct in their site selection process.
This has NOT always been the case in the previous versions of Local Plan’s by Castle Point council!
* AECOM Transport Evidence for the New Local Plan Phase 2 November 2015