Tag Archives: housing

In the Cold Light of Day, Canvey Island’s sole purpose in the Eyes of Castle Point Council, is for Development, Come – What – May!

The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his attempt to reverse the impact of Covid-19, promised massive funding for Road Infrastructure development and a Stamp Duty holiday to kick start the economy.

This could have implications for the Castle Point Local Plan, with the area’s requirement for new Highway Infrastructure to support CPBC’s desire to release strategic Green Belt sites for Housing Development.

Canvey Island and its Residents are in a particularly vulnerable position, not only is the intention to greatly increase the Island’s population, remove Acres of land from the Green Belt for development, but also to develop housing at Jotmans Farm which will vastly increase traffic congestion at the South of the borough!

Castle Point Council’s draft Local Plan, quite rightly, draws criticism from Essex County Council! It notes; “A total of 24 Strategic Housing Site Allocations (HO9 – HO32) provide 3,719 new homes supported by infrastructure. The key sites requiring master plans, or to be phased to secure key infrastructure are listed below:

HO9 Land West of Benfleet, Benfleet (850);

HO13 Land West of Benfleet, Hadleigh (455);

HO20 The Chase Thundersley (340);

HO23 Land east of Canvey Road (300)

HO24 Land West of Canvey Road (196)

HO25 Land at Thorney Bay Caravan Park (510)*”

Essex County Council, “as the Highways and Transportation Authority maintain objections in principle to two site allocations in the Draft Plan – HO9 (land west of Benfleet) and HO13 (land east of Rayleigh Road, Hadleigh)”!

Note that 3 of the CPBC Local Plan “KEY” Development Sites are on Canvey Island, an area that should be protected by 4 different forms of Development Constraints!

The CPBC Local Plan “suggests” that sites will only be developed should there be no 5 Year supply of Housing Land available, thereby allowing the Island’s Flood Risk Sequential Test to be considered as Passed.

The Local Authority know Full Well that development is well underway at Thorney / Sandy Bay, and that ALL other small Canvey development sites are Sequentially approved on the “Nod”!

The mainland residents are equally unhappy with their Ward Representatives for giving their backing to this Local Plan, and all of the Borough’s Residents need wake up to the Essex County Council’s position regarding New Road and Highway infrastructure improvements.

“Whilst ECC supports the concept new transport infrastructure and a third access to Canvey Island and Roscommon Way Phase 3, there is no ECC funding for these schemes. It needs to be understood that these schemes will require external funding from Government and developers rather than an assumption these unknown cost pressures will be addressed by ECC.”

On Castle Point’s Green Belt, Essex County Council note; “The Draft Plan states that the Green Belt evidence was updated in 2018 and reviewed in 2019, resulting in changes to the green belt boundary, including the release land for 14 sites for development and the removal of specific schools from the green belt.”

Taking advantage of the Government’s changes to Planning Guidance, CPBC are happy to weaken the Green Belt Boundaries protection across the Borough. Did we really Elect this Council to do this?

CPBC have steadfastly refused to take an active position where land requisition is concerned, rather than buying into the mainlanders desire to see the area known as the Blinking Owl brought forward, Canvey Islanders desire to see a Regenerated High Street, they have instead purchased the Canvey Island Knightswick Centre!

Despite this Local Plan saga stretching into 3 decades, we are likely to end up with a Local Plan intended to degenerate our Borough.

Of the CPBC Local Plan, Essex County Council state on the subject of the “Blinking Owl” site; “– amongst  improvements and alterations to be delivered: the A127 Growth Corridor Strategy; “The Draft Plan notes that some landowners have promoted the above site but, as there are multiple landowners in this area, there are currently no comprehensive development plans that are deliverable. Additionally, there would be a commitment and significant investment in infrastructure given the site is significantly constrained by a lack of appropriate access and risks to the strategic network, as well as other infrastructure requirements to support growth in this location”.

3 decades of negative “inactivity” by CPBC!

Will Residents sit by as these 3 important large Canvey Island sites, jump to the Front of the “6 Key Site” List for Development, whilst ECC have indicated Highway infrastructure flaws with 2 of the mainland sites ?

The Castle Point Borough Council Councillors, who have put their name to this Local Plan, need to examine their conscience and reason for support, as this Plan is Sequentially and Soundly Inadequate and Harmful to our Borough!

smiff

Less than 1 month to have a Say, Another Consultation for Canvey Island Residents, ahead of an Increase in Population and Under Resourced Infrastructure!

“Have your say on the future of South Essex”

Yet another Government Quango with yet another Survey to accumulate the thoughts of the Residents,  businesses, voluntary sector organisations in South Essex!

SE2050 propose; “Through this survey we want to hear your views on South Essex as a place to live, to visit, to work, or to run a business – what makes the region distinct and special for you. We want to explore how South Essex might change over the next 30 years; what we might be able to achieve together; and how we can focus our efforts and direct investment towards the things that matter most.”

This is to add to the Castle Point Borough Council Local Plan Consultation and the South Essex Plan Consultations, supposedly informing the Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA).

South Essex Today: what makes the region special?

“While each individual town, village, coastal or rural area in South Essex is special in their own way, we want to hear your views on what makes the South Essex region distinct from other parts of the UK. Think about:

  • What is South Essex famous for? What makes it distinct from other places?
  • What do you see as the region’s biggest strengths? What makes South Essex a great place to live, to visit, to work or to run a business?
  • Which regional developments or achievements over the past decade make you most proud and why?”

Canvey Island has become an overspill for the London Housing deficiency with suspicions remaining that outside boroughs still relocate residents on their Housing Lists, into the local area. The Island has become more and more overcrowded, resulting in congestion and under resourced Services. All the while CPBC and ECC cutbacks have led Canvey to become more untidy, with drainage issues and a lack of Building Control.

The result of SE2050 will no doubt be more funding for our Local Government Partnership, more Housing, higher Population levels, possibly more Roads, more Hazardous Industrialisation, more pressure on Health Services and more Congestion, all in an area with Surface Water Drainage issues and an Un-funded Sea Defence Improvement scheme!

“What’s the Point” you will say? Well don’t have Your Say, and you will allow your name to be Used in Support of the Scheme.

The SE2050 Survey LINK.

The SE2050 Website LINK.

SURVEY CLOSES 31st JULY 2020

Note: this SE2050 is not to be confused with the SE2050 who are a community of progressive structural engineers!

Public Information Zone OIKOS

Mainlanders to suffer the same Democratic Fate as Canvey Islanders in the Race to Develop Castle Point open Spaces?

With Covid-19 limiting the movement and working capacity of the whole Castle Point Borough, the push for more Housing, whether included within the draft Local Plan or not, will not be allowed to abate!

However representation of local Residents may well be diminished. Firstly by the probability that some planning committee members may be in the vulnerable group where covid-19 is concerned, the difficulty in maintaining the 2 metre social distancing rule, and the issue of Public involvement in the council chamber.

Whether, given the Dire position of the Local Plan, as we are led to believe, may or may not be allowed extra time before coming back to full council for approval, before submitting to the Planning Inspector for Examination.

Whilst the Government, once things return to usual will want to see House Building return to high levels of completions as an economy stimulus, Developers will also want to see land taken out of the Green Belt en masse to develop at their preferred sites and rate of completion to protect their market.

This circumstances may lead to severe pressure on CPBC to complete their Local Plan in anticipation.

This could lead to an Emergency scenario, where the Development Control Committee meet as a Quorum rather than full membership to decide the most important planning applications.

This Quorum being just 4 or 5 Councillors!

Worse still, could it be that the disastrous Local Plan may also be agreed upon by a Quorum or between the Chief Executive and the Council Leader???

Decisions being taken with an empty Public Gallery or in the Back offices, if the Virus should still be keeping the Residents from Public Meetings and Places.

Wychavon District Council, for instance: Planning Committee meetings have been cancelled for the foreseeable future. To make sure planning decisions can continue to be made at the current time, we will be using emergency decision making powers, as delegated within our constitution to the Managing Director, Deputy Managing Director, Planning Committee Chair or Vice-Chair.” 

This has long been a concern for Canvey Island folk as they have Zero ward representation in the Castle Point Cabinet. Now we could see the scenario where this unpopular Local Plan is secreted through with little, or no Representation for Mainland Residents as well, should the current situation get to the stage of being considered an Emergency!

The Democratic process within the Castle Point Council, becomes less and less Open and Transparent the longer this Local Plan process continues.

From CPBC Constitution we are informed, regarding the Development Control Committee, that;

“The quorum for the Development Control Committee will be one quarter of the number of Members on the Committee , provided that in no case will the quorum be less than three voting members.”

Planning Resource wrote; “Local government lawyers have urged the secretary of state to relax laws stipulating that elected members must be physically present for committee meetings to proceed, as it emerged that more councils cancelled their planning committee meetings this week as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The letter was sent as an increasing number of local authorities have cancelled planning committees because of concerns that participants and members of the public may be at risk of infection. 

It comes as the London boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea and Redbridge and Westminster City Council all cancelled their planning committees this week. 

Trade bodies Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) and the Association of Democratic Services Officers (ADSO) have sent a joint letter to Robert Jenrick, secretary of state for housing, urging legal changes to allow remote meetings if physical gatherings have to be cancelled.

Under the Local Government Act 1972, elected members are required to be physically present in order for council meetings to take place in England. 

More recent legislation in Wales states that councillors can remotely attend meetings provided a quorum of 30 per cent of members are physically present. 

In the letter, the LLG and ADSO advise that local authorities should hold “essential” meetings only and with the minimum number of people attending in order to satisfy a quorum. 

Where possible, the lawyers’ bodies say councils should be using “urgency powers” within their constitutions to take decisions outside of public meetings. 

They state that almost all local authorities have delegated powers provisions for committee decision making.

And for decisions that would otherwise have been made by a committee, the letter says the officer can be advised by the views of committee members, accessed remotely at an agreed time via tools such as Microsoft Teams or Skype. 

While the officer’s discretion cannot be entirely fettered, the lawyers say, they can give “almost overwhelming weight” to a vote of committee members responding remotely to a report and officers’ advice, or even after seeing videoed submissions in lieu of public access.

The government announced earlier this week that it will consider bringing forward legislation to allow council committee meetings to be held virtually for a temporary period. 

Planning has reported that a number of authorities have postponed or cancelled both current and forthcoming planning committee meetings.” 

Massive Expansion of Jet Fuel Plant! Question is, which CPBC councillors Knew, prior to Local Plan Vote? Canvey Islanders Misled, yet Again!

Castle Point Borough Council have only just Voted, on the 22nd October  to approve their draft Local plan, that seeks to develop over  1,264 new dwellings on Canvey Island.

Now, dropping through the Letter Boxes of Canvey residents are letters from OIKOS, one of our local Hazardous Industrial sites, informing us that there is to be a Major expansion of their import / export activity of Jet Fuel, Gasoline and Biodiesel!

The expansion in capacity of this Hazardous Activity is totally relevant to an increase in population population, which is what the CPBC Local Plan proposes!

And yet, this relevant point, the safety of current and new residents on Canvey Island, was never indicated nor debated, when Councillors held their Vote on the draft Local Plan!

Looking at the information being sent to all Households it is unclear as to exactly how big a quantity of extra Fuel capacity is expected however the “Masterplan” diagram, below, indicates 10 new tanks, “ranging in capacity up to 30,000m3”.

So potentially Canvey residents are to be neighbours to an EXTRA 300,000m3, or 300 Million Litres of Jet Fuel, Gasoline and Biodiesel!

This fuel will be stored before its distribution via underground pipelines or via road to airports etc. Hence one of the main reasons Roscommon and Howards Way were installed!

There is scheduled to be a Public Exhibition of the planned OIKOS expansion, ironically at the Paddocks between 1pm and 7.30pm on Thursday the 21st November 2019. The proposed Consultation will be during Spring time next year. We should however bear in mind that this proposal qualifies as being a “Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project”, meaning the decision on its go-ahead will be taken by a Secretary of State.

Burial Plots, Potential Flooding, Dubious supply of Affordable Housing. Nothing gets in the way of Development on Canvey Island!

Being “Laid to Rest”on “Consecrated Ground”, does little to deter developers, nor the continued Development of Canvey Island.

In the latest Planning Approval granted by Castle Point Council the interred bodies of 16 Nuns at Walsingham House, Canvey Island, have been removed and reburied elsewhere, despite the burial area being outside of the site of the proposed development.

CPBC officer Report dismisses this with one line, “The presence of these burials creates no impediment to the development of the application site.”

One must assume therefore that the removal of these burials now frees up more space for the more intense development of the site, especially as the officer report also criticises the lack of Housing contained in the original Development Application.  

“The indicative layout represents a poor use of land”, “the inadequate provision of amenity space”, “the domination of some individual sites by parking”.

Regarding Flooding the officer report also indicates the continued “questionable” application of the Sequential Test for Canvey Island by CPBC officers. By definition the Sequential Test is passed due to Canvey Island being inhabited, this inhabitation itself appears to create a need for even more dwellings. However, by CPBC controlling members instruction, the Test must be restrictively applied to Canvey in isolation, rather than the Borough, area or Region, therefore any application of the Sequential Test, will automatically be Passed.

Under Tidal Flooding conditions, flood water is predicted to be allowed to enter the building, as if not allowed to do so the outside pressure from flood water “could lead to structural failure”!

All that can be said in the respect of Castle Point Borough Council’s approach to potential Flooding of Canvey Island and its Residents is, “how desperately Primitive it is!”

Affordable Housing is to be provided at the rate of 12 dwellings out of the total proposed of 32, according to the Legal Agreement. This Rate of Affordable over Market priced Housing has proven to be unachievable on the mainland due to Viability issues, so should have been considered by CPBC officers and committee members as being most “dubious” for a Canvey Island development.

Overall the questionable morality shown towards the Development of Canvey Island is highlighted by the “Softening Up” approach by CPBC and Developers towards Canvey Island Residents. Submit and Approve development with a Best Case scenario Application, then, once the concept of development has been accepted, return with a more Intense, Higher Density Housing Proposal for likely guaranteed Approval!

Walsingham House
Photo Courtesy: Echo News

Echo coverage can be found via this LINK.

Canvey Island Flood Risk Zone a Valuable Commodity both Financially and Politically! Caveat emptor an appropriate Back Stop?

SO, those accountable for the Castle Point’s regeneration, sustainability and growth agenda are seeking congratulations for the huge swathes of development of Canvey Island! The completion of this long term project seemingly being very advantageous to some current councillors and predecessors.

Convinced of the apparent sustainability of Canvey Island, investors of commercial and residential developments are completely reliant upon Environment Agency recommendations. Clearly the EA recognise that the Island’s sea defences are in need of further improvements, if only to keep pace with the ever more present impacts of a changing climate.

Claims that there is no need for concern, or that Canvey already has substantial sea defences, will not be helpful in formulating a business case for the funding of the inevitable improvement requirements.

CPBC’s failed bid for central government funding for the £24,500,000 needed to address the deficiency in the current drainage network, and fund capital projects to dramatically improve the drainage infrastructure across Canvey Island, is a clear indication that flood risk is NOT a priority issue.

CPBC have, on more than one occasion, been reminded by the Environment Agency that it is incorrect to assume that the maintenance of the flood defences is programmed as part the Thames Estuary (TE) 2100 Plan. To proclaim that the sustainability of Canvey Island is secured, for the foreseeable future, when that is simply not the case, may be questioned at a later date.

The TE2100 Plan provides for a flood management strategy for the whole of the Thames Estuary, and includes recommendations regarding necessary maintenance and improvements programmes to the engineered defences along the Thames Estuary. The final decision on these programmes will be made by Defra and future funding streams, however, at this time no funding is guaranteed!

In the knowledge of the consequences of a significant risk of flooding from a variety of events, to then subsequently continue increasing the population of Canvey Island, needs some explanation. To actively seek to increase those numbers of residents, including those that are “more vulnerable”, without having a viable emergency evacuation plan, may well be catastrophic!

For CPBC Local Plan to repudiate up-to-date flooding predictions, and to then persist with the continued development of historically designated land and brown field sites, within an already significantly urbanised and populated flood plain, possesses no logistical justification.

It has previously been stated by CPBC and supported by the EA that the delivery of new development must not be considered in isolation from the drainage issues in the Borough and that existing conditions should be improved and not exacerbated. Canvey Island is at the highest Risk of Surface Water flooding, with a high probability of Surface Water flooding across the Borough as a whole.

Inappropriate development, effectively removing space that served as water dispersal areas, will have consequences.  Site selection criteria, as well as a Flood Risk Assessment, should be used to identify whether broad potential future locations for development represent the most appropriate choices in terms of flood risk.

CPBC have argued that without a Local Plan, the level of detail used to inform decisions of a strategic nature may not be as robust, especially regarding cumulative impacts. In addition, policy content can be used to set conditions on developments or determine their refusal in areas of flood risk.

I would argue that the Plan has always been to develop the zone 3 flood plain of Canvey Island regardless of any serious consequences.

Canvey Island, Congestion – Lack of Infrastructure – Business, Retail + Housing Development and a Couldn’t Care Less attitude to Parking Provision!

For Canvey Islanders the daily commute, whether by car or public transport, can be, to put it politely, “challenging”! Castle Point Council will tell you that it is the same across the whole Borough.

As we are all aware there is pressure to supply yet more and more Housing development. This will inevitably add to the problem.

One would have thought that, CPBC would have adopted a strategy by now, especially over the extended period taken to arrive at a 3 times rejected Local Plan, that would at least start to address the congestion problem.

But no, where Canvey Island is concerned, the Town Centre Regeneration scheme has been ignored and dismissed where convenient to CPBC! The old Nat West building and neighbouring property, identified as space for road realignment is set to become a community centre and bakery, with new development adjoining.

More concerning however, is the lack of correlation between, new Builds and the accompanying Car Parking spaces, and the major Business and Retail Parks receiving all being Approved on the Island!

These planning proposals all due to impose a Negative Impact on Canvey Island’s Car Parking and Road Network, despite the fine words included within the Local Plan 2018.

The Castle Point Borough Council Emerging Local Plan proposed Policies that seeks “Opportunities to promote walking, cycling and public transport are pursued; The environmental impact of traffic and transport infrastructure is taken into account; and Movement, streets and parking are integrated into designs”

The Emerging Local Plan recognises “Many of the main routes within the borough are single carriageway roads with little prospect for widening due to the proximity of existing development. This also limits the potential to provide dedicated passenger transport routes and cycleways” “Castle Point is peripheral on the bus service network and whilst there are good services during the day on most routes, service frequency is not as good in the evenings and on Sundays.”” The cycle network within Castle Point is limited, and where it does exist it is disjointed and poorly maintained.”

The New Out of Town Retail / Business sites will not only be to the detriment of the Canvey Town Centre but also intensify the Congestion heading towards and from Canvey West. However, almost every Flatted development Approved on Canvey, has a shortfall of Car Parking Spaces, officers suggesting that isn’t their concern as Town centre Flats benefit from facilities being nearby and benefit from regular public transport!

Equally there is a consistency with the Approved Retail / Business sites, that they to, when residents and mainlanders arrive, will also have a Shortfall of Car Parking Spaces!

Below are a few examples indicating the Castle Point Council’s Planning officers and committee approach to the issues of Car Parking and new Housing Development and Retail / Business development.

Spot the Connections!

King Canute Flats, Vetenary practice and CO OP store.

“The proposed car park…..would result in a significant level of harmful conflict… between the 3 independent uses, adversely affecting the ease of movement within the site, and if approved, likely to accumulate in the displacement of the residential occupiers vehicles onto Edith road, to the detriment of safety and traffic flows,”

The Flats “attract a requirement of two parking spaces” each…. “the provision of 3 spaces (in total) would appear to represent a deficiency, however….””where Flats will have easy access to the bus network…” “the parking provision is considered satisfactory.”

“With regard to the retail element” the area of floor space results” in a maximum requirement of 25 parking spaces.”

The retail element is provided with some 13 parking spaces.” Recommended for Approval and subsequently Approved by Committee.

…………………………………………..

125 – 127 High Street Canvey Island. 14 x 2 Bedroom Flats

“ The currently adopted parking standards published by ECC require the provision of two spaces per property. Within Town Centres this may be reduced.”

“The site is remote from the core of the Town Centre…”

“Visitor parking should be provided at a rate of 0.25 spaces per dwelling.”

“Application of parking standards generates a requirement of 32 parking spaces.”

“The proposal would provide 15 spaces and should therefore attract a recommendation of Refusal.” Approved on Appeal

…………………………………………

Canvey Supply Ltd 74 High Street Canvey Island  16/0212/OUT

The scheme would provide 24 car parking spaces and 32 cycle parking spaces to serve the needs of the residential development and 4 spaces to serve the shops.

The maximum parking requirement for this development is as follows:

12 x 1 bed apartments 12 spaces, 12 x 2 bed apartments 24 spaces, Visitors 0.25 x 24 = 6 = 6 spaces 42 spaces parking spaces.

The proposed retail units have an area of some 268m2 and therefore attract a requirement for 14 parking spaces.

A maximum total of 56 spaces is therefore required on the site.

The proposal seeks to provide 24 residential parking spaces.

 The proposed development is deficient in parking provision and ordinarily would attract a recommendation of refusal. However, the site is located within a Town Centre where the availability of private parking and service areas is extremely limited and where access to other public car parks and public transport is available. Approved by CPBC committee.

……………………………………..

Now let’s look at our New Retail / Business developments!

Land Opposite Morrisons Northwick Road 15/0293/RES

Hotel and motor dealership. Approx. 27 Units various sizes.

This site has a total area of 7.5ha, the north of which connects to Northwick Road. The east of the site is bounded by Roscommon Way and the Morrisons site

Parking Requirement 590 Spaces. 565 Spaces to be provided. Projected Shortfall  25 Spaces.

………………………………..

Lidl foodstore 18/0868/FUL

Lidls presents itself as a local convenience retailer and therefore operates on the basis of a limited catchment area. Usually this would be a five minute drive time. However given the somewhat unique circumstances of Canvey Island, this has been extended to eight minutes in order, primarily to capture the whole of Canvey.

A significant proportion of turnover will therefore be derived from diversion from existing retailers.

 The impact of this diversion on the vitality and viability of the Centres must now be considered.

102 car parking spaces would be provided. The proposed store would attract a requirement for 149 car parking spacesShortfall of 47 Spaces.

………………………………..

Land South Of Roscommon Way Canvey Island  14/0707/OUT, Demolition of disused pumping station and construction of commercial and industrial development

7.41Ha site

The proposed Layout indicates the intention to provide 566 Parking Spaces. However the Actual Supply should be 662 a Shortfall of 96 Parking spaces.

…………………………….

Retail Site M and S, Costa, B and M, Sports Direct, Garden Centre etc

Land off Roscommon Way Canvey Island 16/0419/FUL

3.4Ha site (approx).

Approved with undersize car parking spaces, inconsistent with adopted parking standards.

The proposal should be required to provide 456 car Parking Spaces

Actual Supply 240 Parking Spaces. Just 53% of the Requirement “This deficiency would appear to represent a significant objection to be proposal.”

………………………………..

Next time you are out sitting in Traffic or wondering why people are Parking on Pavements etc, just Remember, it’s all part of somebody’s Big Plan!

The Bell Tolls for the Paddocks, time for Canvey Island protesters to throw in the Towel?

No doubt scripts have been carefully prepared and are being rehearsed for this Tuesdays CPBC Cabinet meeting, so that the fate of Canvey’s, Paddocks Community centre, may be presented as another “Good News” story!

7.00 pm start time for those intending to attend.

The cabinet agenda item presents the case in such a way that clearly, the compiler of the “business case”, has been requested to balance the spend on the renovation and regeneration cost to meet, as near as possible, the cost of a very generous new build project! The list of new goodies can be seen below, whether they can be justified as being entirely necessary is doubtful!

As we indicated in the previous post, other Community Centres are available in other areas at far more reasonable costs than the £4,300,000 Castle Point council suggest.

However the £4,300,000 cost may just be inflated a tad by a developer hoping to develop Flats and Houses on the site and thereby avoiding a level of Section 106 agreements.* (see below)

The difference between renovation and a new build is just, £200,000!

It is good to see that Canvey’s own cllr mumford has the honour of presenting this agenda item to the cabinet. One wonders whether he has been handed a poisoned chalice, as usually “good news” stories are left to cllr smith to deliver!

* “Planning obligations, also known as Section 106 agreements (based on that section of The 1990 Town & Country Planning Act) are private agreements made between local authorities and developers and can be attached to a planning permission to make acceptable development which would otherwise be unacceptable in planning terms.”

Informative extracts from the Agenda;

“The existing Community Hall, whilst being a well loved landmark on the Island, is not well used and is a significant financial burden which is currently underwritten by the general council tax payers of the Borough.

The Paddocks is the largest community venue in the Borough able to accommodate events for up to 500 seated attendees, but is rarely used to full capacity.

The net operational cost of the facility for 2017/18, excluding apportioned corporate costs, was in the region of £89k. This is budgeted to increase to £110k for the current financial year with an element of this increase being driven by additional security costs. Net operational costs are anticipated to average £165k pa for the period 2020/21 to 2029/301.

In addition to addressing repair and maintenance requirements identified through specialist surveys, this option includes the following remodelling works:

1. Various options to improve entrance to and egress from facility

2. New reception and office adjacent to potential new Main Entrance

3. Sliding/ folding division to Main Hall

4. Lift access to First Floor proposed from Main Hall/Third Hall Lobby

5. Accessible WC proposed adjacent to Main Hall and Lift

6. Second Hall accessed from Main Entrance and North-East Lobby

7. New bar facilities proposed to Second Hall – all halls to have bar facilities

8. Existing Second Hall converted to Third Hall and rentable Office/ Meeting space

9. Third Hall and Office/ Meeting spaces to be accessed from additional entrance and reception, for improved security

10. New stair at West End to proposed First Floor (subject to first floor structural assessment)

11. Stage Facilities upgraded in existing location

12. Main Bar Facilities upgraded in existing location

13. Rentable Meeting space accessed from main corridor

The final result would to all intents and purposes “feel” like a new facility.
Demolish existing facility and replace with a new, modern facility specifically designed to meet current and future requirements.

A new purpose built facility, capable of catering for and presenting a wide range of events and activities to maximise the venue’s commercial potential. A detailed design brief will be drawn up after the completion of a comprehensive consultation process and the appointment of a specialist scheme architect.

The precise configuration would require careful design to ensure that peak time demand could be accommodated.

A new build facility would present opportunities to influence through design, ongoing operational costs as well as environmental considerations, energy efficiency, maintenance and improved security in order that the new build is fit for use as a modern venue for many years to come”

All to be read with a straight face, and I am assured this is not a fairy tale!

Poisoned Chalice

Poisoned Chalice

 

Canvey Residents – Ignore the Castle Point Local Plan Consultation at your Peril! Changes – Development – Pipe Dreams and Promises are Afoot!

Whether you Bother to Answer, and How you Answer, the CPBC consultation questions, will have a direct bearing on how much Canvey Island changes in the immediate Future! Council Leaders and officers will have appeasement from the Government threat of Intervention in the cpbc Local Plan, uppermost in Mind!

Paddocks

The Paddocks community centre, Canvey Island

Make no Mistake, Development, both Housing and Business, on the most easily accessible large Green Field sites is the likely outcome of Castle Point’s Local Plan consultation!

Once the Local Plan consultation period is over the “Tricks of the Trade” of those charged with “interpreting” the responses come into play.

Previous consultations have seen many objections against cpbc proposed Local Plans, this has led to cpbc council Leaders suggesting that the “non responders” views mirrored those of the council Leaders, despite them having no evidence to suggest they did!

It is for this reason that Canvey Island residents should not only take part in the Local Plan consultation, but also be very careful how the questions are responded to!

Your responses may well be construed to mean something very much different in the hands of cpbc!

An eagerness for infrastructure, may be construed to indicate that residents are in favour of more large developments on Canvey Island. Whilst the Infrastructure improvements amount to pipe dreams, be sure that, the developments will be forthcoming!

Consultation Question 9, for example asks;

Which approach described below in providing new development is most suitable for the borough?

A Intensify existing built up areas with new development and increased density
B Create new settlements in the borough
C Disperse developments to the edge of the built up areas

Before you Answer A, we should remember that Canvey Island is already the most densely Urbanised part of the Borough!
Answer C flies in the face of the Purposes of the Green Belt, that is, “to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas”
Answer B would appear to have implications for residents elsewhere in the Borough.

Answer Question 11 without an explanation and you will be considered to support large site development on Canvey Island!

11. What type of housing do you feel is best suited to your area? (tick all that apply)
Affordable rents, Buy-to-let, Elderly care homes etc, etc.

None of which can be provided without Private Investment, likely off the back of large scale, market price, private development!

Housing allocations
“The new Local Plan 2018 will revisit all potential sites considered within the 2014 and 2016 Plans and assess their future suitability through technical studies,”

No they will not! All Canvey sites, with the exception of the “Triangle Site”, behind the Dutch Cottage Canvey Road, for some reason, were considered to be developable whether Green Belt or Brownfield, or in a Flood Risk zone or Critical Drainage Area, which incidentally the whole of Canvey is!

The Constraints on development revealed in the Technical Studies are all dismissed by cpbc where Canvey Island is concerned!

13a. Do you support the potential residential development at land at Thorney Bay Caravan Park, Canvey Island?

Absolutely irrelevant Consultation question. The owners have permissions in place for a Park Home site and are successfully developing one. CPBC have no jurisdiction over the likely loss of the Roscommon Way final phase land.

14a. Do you support the potential residential development at land at Point Road, Canvey Island?

The Business site was first proposed as a housing development, then returned with a vastly inflated figure of Housing, drawing many, many objections from local residents not least because of the reliance on the tiny roundabout access area and the Flats proposed. And, where would all of the current businesses be re-housed, well no doubt onto more Canvey Green field land around the Roscommon Way area!

20a. Do you support the potential residential development at land west of Benfleet?

Ask ourselves, can we really take more traffic on Canvey Way? And by the way, this is Jotmans Farm if you didn’t recognise the site name.

22a. Do you support the potential residential development at land east of Canvey Road?

Do they really need to ask? This is the Dutch Village Green Belt site, the one that out of the 6,534 Referendum Votes cast, just 56 Canvey Islanders said they were comfortable with persimmons developing!

23a. Do you support the potential residential development at land fronting Canvey Road?

This is beside the Dutch Cottage, Green Belt site, I am sure the extra traffic filing down from Sadlers Farm to Thorney Bay Road every evening, is something we could do without.

26a. Do you support the extension to Roscommon Way?

Given that there is no funding, and that Essex Highways do not wish to burden themselves with future maintenance costs, and that the Thorney Bay part of the land required may not be available for development anyway, this appears simply an unlikely aspiration.

27a. Do you support widening of Sommes Avenue?

Of course we do, but wouldn’t the installation of the cycle way along the North side of Somnes Avenue by ECC, mean that there is no space for the widening of Somnes Avenue by ECC?

29a. Do you support dualling of the northern section of the A130 Canvey Way in the vicinity of Sadlers Farm?

Or put another way, do you support development of Jotmans Farm with access an access onto Canvey Way.
Really?

32a. Do you support improved access to Canvey Island?

Well of course we do, but it will be at the likely expense of much more land released for development. Thurrock Council opposition will not remove their objection and cpbc will have to overturn their own Local Plan Evidence findings that; “it is not obvious that a new road access to Canvey Island could enable the area to benefit to a much greater extent from the major port and distribution development at London Gateway in Thurrock. The cost of such infrastructure would also need to be weighed against the scale of economic benefits likely to accrue to Canvey Island, and the extent of these do not appear likely to be major.”

And Finally, as they say:

34. Do you have any additional comments on the new Local Plan 2018?

Not unless you feel the fact that Canvey Island, the whole of which, is a Critical Drainage Area, is also a tidal Flood Zone 3a area, and has 2 Top Tier Comah sites, meaning should there ever be a need to evacuate the Island, the Emergency Services would be unable to cope with the current levels of Canvey’s population, has some bearing on the Consultation that castle point officers appear to be overlooking or ignoring!

Canvey Housing to replace Garages. The Borough’s Housing takes Priority although Officers need to Get a Grip of Fact over Fiction!

It might be Funny, if it wasn’t Canvey Island!

More Canvey Development will be the Agenda, for the Castle Point planning committee this week. This time demolish garages and replace with 4 houses at Church Close, Canvey.

This time around the Development Applicant is Castle Point Borough Council themselves!

Canvey Big Local £1 million

Fair enough, the Borough needs Housing and we have the Chief Planner to please, if Intervention is to be avoided. However the context may be worthy of some consideration in this instance.

Church Close, Canvey Island, falls within the “Canvey Big Local” area, the area allotted £1,000,000 as an area in west Canvey with social and deprivation issues.

“The area does suffer from some levels of deprivation with approximately 38% of children under 16 being classed as ‘in poverty’ compared to 18% on average for both Castle Point and Essex and 5.9% of households within the area deemed to be in fuel poverty.

Residents have reported that a key issue for them is crime and antisocial behaviour.” 

The thought did occur that the land the garages are sited on might have been better used as an area the “Canvey Big Local” scheme might have been able to utilise for the betterment of the youth of the area rather than Housing, especially as the garages are little used and must bring in little income to the local authority.

But Housing Numbers for the Borough is the tunnel vision focus and Canvey must take more is the order of the day!

Taking this focus forward cpbc case officer comments;

“The application site is located within Flood Zone 3a, which has a high probability of flooding.

Looking at the whole of Castle Point District it would seem that there are areas within Flood Zone 1 that could accommodate this form of development. However, given that the only areas of Flood Zone 1 in the district are on the “mainland” part, such an approach would direct all new development towards Benfleet and Hadleigh.

Canvey is a self-contained community with its own housing needs and directing all new development towards Benfleet and Hadleigh could have an adverse impact on Canvey socially and economically.

Furthermore, a need for housing on Canvey cannot be met by building around Benfleet and Hadleigh due to other constraints such as the Green Belt. 

Taking these factors into account it is considered that the ‘catchment’ for the sequential test ought to be drawn around the boundaries of Canvey Island, the whole of which is within Flood Zone 3, so there are no reasonably available sites appropriate for the proposed development in areas with a lower probability of flooding, and the application is considered to pass the sequential test.”

Some might suggest a little bit of a “giveaway” that council members have at some stage exerted their own preferred policy over officers’ ethical planning guidance.

Bordering on the comical is the case officer’s attempts to justify his/her decision Advice for committee members!

“The Flood Risk Assessment contains structural calculations at Appendix B, however, notwithstanding the illegible handwriting, it does not appear that these contain a non-technical summary explaining what the calculations demonstrate.

If members decide to grant planning permission, a condition is necessary to require the developer to submit demonstration that that the buildings will be able to withstand the hydrostatic and hydrodynamic pressures likely to act upon them in modelled flood events.”

“The proposed surface water drainage strategy states that attenuated discharge will take place to the existing surface water drainage infrastructure. The planning authority are aware that ground conditions in the area (clay soils) are fairly impermeable which means that infiltration techniques are unlikely to work effectively. There are no surface water bodies on or in the vicinity of the site which could receive surface water from the proposed development and the drainage of surface water to the surface water sewer would therefore seem to be an appropriate option.
The site is not considered to be at risk of flooding from other sources except from surface water. This form of flooding can be a problem on Canvey Island, although the site is not highlighted as a particular hot spot.

The proposed discharge rate is, however, not known, and there is no demonstration of permission in principle from the relevant water authority to connect to the surface water drainage infrastructure”

In normal circumstances one would expect finalised plans for flooding to be included in the proposal, especially as cpbc are the applicant and supposedly being fully experienced and informed of such local matters, rather than allowing plans to follow as a Condition!

All looking very Professional so far then?

So, being in a socially deprived area, what form of Housing would improve matters?

Certainly not Housing that offers;

“There are no first floor windows in the rear or other side elevations.

The proposed dwellings would be located 1m from the rear boundaries of the existing properties”

Will this standard of Housing do anything to alleviate the socio economical blight of the area?

And if this wasn’t all embarrassing enough, remember in this case Castle Point Council themselves are the Applicant, the proposal’s paperwork uses the withdrawn and ridiculed 2010 Core Strategy as evidence to support this application;

“The Castle Point Borough Council Core Strategy outlines a housing requirement of 5,000 new homes between April 2001 and March 2026. Most of the requirements can be meet by housing provision in the urban area, particularly town centres, main route corridors and other undeveloped land. However, it is not considered possible to meet the entire boroughs housing needs from the above sources, particularly on Canvey Island.

The proposed site although not in an allocated development area is surrounding by housing and lies equidistant to the proposed development areas of ‘East of Canvey Road’, Castle View School’ and ‘Canvey Town Centre’. The site can be considered a windfall site.”

The Core Strategy document is something even cpbc refer to as: “It should be noted that the Submission Core Strategy does not represent Council policy.”

Stand by for more committee member Hand Ringing tomorrow as they reluctantly give their Approval!

No, You Really Could Not Make It Up!