Just like Coronavirus, it appears Unrest is spreading amongst Castle Point mainlanders, as it has for many years amongst Canvey Islanders!
The level of Housing development proposed within the Castle Point Local Plan2019, is the major cause. The loss of Green Belt and disruption to the leafy areas of Daws Heath, Thundersley, Benfleet and Hadleigh, appears the chief complaint, and quite rightly!
Social Media is rife with anger at present, chiefly aimed at the mainland Castle Point Councillors, the Lead, or Controlling Group.
Very few of these councillors have braved putting their heads above the parapet in defence of their Local Plan that proposes a level of Housing likely to bring insurmountable infrastructure problems, sooner than the expiry of the 15 year Plan period.
“Based on the standard methodology the identified target for Castle Point Borough was 342 new homes to be built per annum or 5,130 homes for the (15 year) Plan period. The Council does not dispute this target and has used it for this plan.”
Now, the Lead Group, including its solitary Canvey island member voted to a man / woman in support of this level of Housing, and the Business Development chiefly on Canvey Island.
Rather than “selling” the Plan’s development levels to us Residents, those very few councillors willing to engage with Residents defend their position as how the Plan would be a lot worse, if the Government Intervention team had taken control of the Plan.
Retaining Control of the Plan, these councillors argue, is a betterment, the suggestion being Intervention would have been a lot worse, in their opinion!
But is this a Fact?
As is clear to see according to the Local Plan’s Housing Need and proposed supply, 5,130 Homes, is to be met!
How would the CPBC Local Plan, in the hands of the Lead Group of councillors, be any worse for Canvey Island, or come to think of it, Residents local to Jotmans Farm?
MASTER PLANNING apparently is the spoonful of sugar that is meant to make the sour CPBC medicine go down! Master planning is their means of lowering the Housing density of development Sites, despite those intended for Canvey Island intending to deliver the same numbers as in all previous Local Plan versions.
So, Master planning is intended for mainlander’s ears only. However our friends on the Mainland may be in for a disappointment as Government Guidance seeks the most Effective Use of Land. And with viability being a major issue for developers, having to find monies for a percentage of affordable homes, health facilities, infrastructure, SUDS and local education support, Master Planning will be the first casualty!
Intervention is to be feared because, it would be a lot worse!
For whom? This remains unanswered.
Master Planning could still be allowed whether CPBC or an Intervention team is involved, Housing Need will be met (allegedly), so how can it be worse.
Perhaps the answer lies in the Site Selection and the Housing distribution!
Are there “certain” areas on the mainland that have had preferential treatment through the land assessment? It would not have been the first time as Canvey islanders should well be aware! Mainland sites chosen, or ignored, due to the sensitive nature of levels of local resident’s reactions. Certainly the delivery of the major site, Jotmans Farm, is likely to cause some major infrastructure issues. Issues that may well delay the early to mid term development numbers, leading to the “unfortunate” need for Canvey sites to be released earlier than Planned!
There is a History of these scenarios to fall back on.
So, the case against Government Intervention has yet to be proven! It is more a case of “Trust Us” from the CPBC Lead Group, as no evidence is forthcoming. We are asked to accept their word.
Not that Canvey Island residents appear a concern to the CPBC Leadership. Cllr Smith having publically rubbished the efforts of the Canvey Ladies, who this week presented their petition to No. 10 Downing Street.
Whereas mainland residents are asked to take the word of those councillors supporting the Plan, whilst at the same time “apparently” criticising the Local Plan they all chose to support!
Residents of the whole of Castle Point should remember, the Leaders of Castle Point Borough Council, the likes of cllrs smith and Stanley, have voted in Favour and been totally behind each and every single version of the Local Plan that they have published!
Perhaps the ONLY way that Castle Point Residents may begin to believe the stance taken against Intervention is for them to produce evidence of minutes from meetings between CPBC and the Government Intervention team, rather than being expected to take the word of the current CPBC Leader, unchallenged.