Tag Archives: Intervention

Castle Point Council remain on the Intervention “Naughty Step”, whilst other authorities stall and Protect Green Belt! Making an example of CPBC may come at a Cost!

Castle Point Council, having endured an uncomfortable Christmas, sat on the Government Intervention “Naughty Step”, continue to give no sign of any action they may, or may not, have been taking to put the Secretary of State, at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s, mind at rest that they have continued working hard on the CPBC Local Plan.

With the extended Christmas break for council officers and members, we can only assume that once the dreaded “phone call” from the Government chief planner is received, CPBC will by then have raised the White Flag of surrender above Runnymede Towers!

After all, the Local Development Scheme’s Timetable was more focussed on producing Any Local Plan on time, rather than a Good Local Plan! Sound familiar?

However, with the whole Country focussing on the Brexit position, now could be a very Bad Time to make an example of Castle Point Council. With local elections due in May it may be considered untimely for the Government to be seen to be criticising their colleagues within the Local Lead political group, particularly as some of their own members took such decisive action in opposing a Local Plan that proposed so much development on Green Belt!

Since the Local Plan process has been undertaken in Castle Point the current Lead group has maintained political control. Withdrawn Plans include the Core Strategy, the 2014 Plan and the 2016 Plan. Clearly some assistance may be required, but for the Government to make a move that could possibly unbalance the control of the council, would be interesting in the least.

Some public explanation as to what, if any, work has continued to be undertaken would be the least residents deserve, even if only a statement was released via the cpbc friendly Echo.

Meanwhile; The number of homes granted planning permission in England rose by two per cent in the year to the end of September, rising to 359,500.
“The latest Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government statistics reveal a slight increase on the 352,000 homes securing permission in the same period last year.” Housing minister Kit Malthouse welcomed the cooperation between “builders, developers and councillors”, claiming that government reforms to the planning system are “starting to deliver the permissions we need to reach 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s”. Planningportal.co.uk

From this we can ascertain that secured Permissions do not equate to the number of dwellings delivered.

Probably, and more threateningly to Canvey Island, similar to the number of sites identified for release in the CPBC Local Plan, will not equate to the number of sites being developed on the mainland!

County Border News reports December 2018

“Tandridge district council said, the plan would be submitted “in advance of the introduction of a new government target, which would require the district to plan for 12,900 new homes or 645 homes per year”.
It added: “Based on the rural nature, environmental and landscape designations and the significant proportion of the district covered by Green Belt, the council believes the number of homes the local plan can deliver is 6,056, or 303 homes per year.

Whilst elsewhere in Greater Manchester, the local authority have also revised downwards the number of new homes needed, whilst also halving the proposed Green Belt Loss!

“Insiders say this was because the original document was planning for more homes than the region needed.
It also concentrates even more ‘high density’ development in Manchester and Salford – apartments, essentially – as well as in town centres such as Stockport and Bolton, in order to reduce the amount of protected green space under threat elsewhere.
Around 15 green belt sites have been removed from the plan altogether.

The total amount of green belt space under threat has roughly halved under the new plan” **

Whether Localism is to become an empty promise, or not, with other authorities performing equally, if not worse, than CPBC, for the Government to make an example of Castle Point Borough Council at this “sensitive” time, may well be at the price of an upset mainland community.

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*more can be read HERE.

** more can be read HERE.

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Master-Planning is left in the Paddock, whilst the Local Plan, Stalls! Could Castle Point Council appear anymore Inadequate? Government Chief Planner to eventually let us know!

Two issues have reared their heads locally, One concerning the Paddocks, Canvey Island, the other the whole of Castle Point through its emerging Local Plan and the Government threat of Intervention!

Firstly the Paddocks. It appears that 3 Councillors have visited the Paddocks and engaged with the Hall users.

Now our cllr Leader, cllr smith has enthused over his Local Plan’s promotion of “Master Planning” where development is concerned. During the Special Council meeting arranged to hurry / force through the approval of the Local Plan 2018, much was made of the Master planning initiative, through which local ward councillors would have input, alongside residents and developers on new developments.

So it was surprising to learn that these 3 councillors attending and engaging with the Paddocks users where not the local South Ward representatives.

The Local Plan 2018 reads: “The NPPF also explains that the creation of high quality buildings and places in fundamental to what the planning process should achieve. It goes on to state that design quality should be considered throughout the evolution and assessment of proposals. Early discussion between developers, the local planning authority and the local community is important for clarifying expectations. Proposals that demonstrate early, proactive and effective engagement should be looked on more favourably.” 

So it appears that cllr smith’s preference for Master Planning, maybe somewhat selective!

The Agenda paperwork for the Local Plan 2018 Special Council meeting clearly indicates that the threat of Government Intervention in the Castle Point Local Plan is a dire consequence of not adhering to a strict agreed Timetable;

“Failure to keep to the programme as agreed by Council in the LDS to produce a legally and technically compliant local plan is likely to result in intervention.”

“Failure to make progress with the New Local Plan 2018 at this time will also be noted by the Secretary of State.”

“If the Council wishes to remain in control of the Council’s local plan process for the Borough the Council must make progress with a local plan. The New Local Plan 2018 now before Council has been prepared to an accelerated timetable, agreed in June following consultation with the Ministry.”

On the Local Plan 2018 itself; “The Chief Executive informed Council that the consultants, led by an experienced Planning Inspector had concluded ‘Lit appears that the Council should be able to submit a local plan for examination which meets current national advice’.”

” The decision (for councillors consideration, rather than that of approval of the Local Plan and its Green Belt development) was whether to keep control of the local plan making process for Castle Point or allow Government officials to intervene and take over the process.”

As we all know the Local Plan 2018 was rejected by Full Council despite these warnings!

Councillors found that amongst other reasoning the distribution of Housing Growth was generally Unjustified.

Since then there has been a further Full council meeting. This meeting produced NO  report on works being carried out on furthering or adjusting the Local Plan!

Such is the purported urgency with the Local Plan schedule that it would have been reasonable to expect, by Government Planners and the Secretary of State AND local Residents, that some work would have gone into addressing the concerns of the councillors that were “brave” enough to go against the council leader’s and ceo’s advice and warnings!

It would be interesting to learn from the Canvey Island Independent Leader and cllr A.Sheldon, possibly the most active Green Belt campaigning mainland councillor, whether officers and / or council leader have engaged with them in a seemingly important effort to continue a process of adjusting the Local Plan, to make it acceptable for councillors approval. Or are the leadership simply sitting and waiting to hear our Fate?

If nothing is being done, you can be sure Castle Point Borough Council will look even more inadequate than it did following the Duty to Cooperate debacle, in which the leadership and officers can be viewed as being seriously negligent!

 

Castle Point Councillors divided between Green Belt Turncoats and those Unprepared to be Tied to the Small Print! Resident Lock Outs and a Not so Narrow defeat? The Local Plan Devil, is in the Detail.

Castle Point Councillors, Jekyll and Hyde appear to have now taken over the reins of the emerging, or is it submerging, Local Plan 2018!

Appropriately for this end of year Green Belt blog post, the CPBC Special Meeting, held to force forward the 2108 Local Plan, the Minutes were “signed off” during the CPBC December full council ordinary meeting.

These minutes exposed the devious methods being employed by those lead councillors and officers now in control of the Plan-making process locally.

Anything passed by the Council is considered to have been resolved Democratically! Therefore a Local Plan Examining Inspector would make allowance for radical or unpopular decisions, if the majority of councillors had approved those decisions.

Therefore it was imperative, well at least for those of us living in South Benfleet and Canvey Island, that the 2018 Local Plan was Rejected, despite the Leader’s and chief executive’s threats of the Armageddon of Intervention due to be imposed on Castle Point the very next day following the Plan’s Rejection!

The Minutes taken of the Special council meeting paint a puzzling picture, some of which written include:

“The Leader explained that whilst some Members felt that they had not had sufficient involvement in the process, the timescale was intended to deliver a draft plan and Members would have input at the appropriate time.”

And yet it was revealed that councillors were only invited to “briefings” rather than actual involvement. We, and they, are apparently left to imagine when “the appropriate time” would arise!

“The Chief Executive presented the comprehensive report to the Council.”
“Within the section dealing with Delivering a Sufficient Supply of Homes the strategic sites forming a crucial part of the plan were identified together with commentary about each site. Council was reminded that this was a twenty year plan and it might be some while before any of sites came forward for development and because of the sequential test those on Canvey were more likely to be towards the end of the plan period

The Irony here may easily be lost by both an Outsider or somebody living on the mainland!

No Housing development proposal has, to our knowledge, been refused “because of the Sequential Test” since the cpbc grovelling appeal some time ago, to the then Sir Michael Pitt and the Environment Agency, to lift the restriction on development on Canvey island due to the threat from Flooding.

That is of course with one Exception, the proposal for Stables for Horses!

The officer Report stated in refusing the application “The proposal seeks to provide a stable facility within Flood Zone 3, an area identified at risk of flooding and is not accompanied by,…..evidence that it meets the requirements of the sequential test”!

In effect it is unreasonable to put horses at Risk of Flooding, but residents and their properties, well that is just fine, as it suits the housing development growth distribution in the Borough.

How perverse are our Councillors, and how complicit our officers???

On Intervention
“11.2 A report was presented to Cabinet on intervention and its consequences in September 2018. Council is reminded that Intervention by Government in any area of local government business is a last resort and follows poor decision making and failure to follow Government direction and advice. Intervention is a sanction and should not be considered as an alternative mechanism to deliver a local plan. The Secretary of State is still considering whether to intervene in the local plan process in Castle Point.”
“the Government”…..” will not allow the local plan, once agreed, to be frustrated by the development control process”

“The Secretary of State may direct that (development) applications that give effect to the proposals are “called in” for his own determination.” 

This may have appeared a confused threat to councillors and residents in the Jotmans Farm and Glebelands areas of the Borough, as on two occasions the Secretary of State himself had overturned the decisions of the Planning Inspectors in respect of Appeals against major Housing proposals in these areas!

Despite the Leader’s threat, to expect a telephone call from the Sec. Of State, in the morning following the decision, no Intervention update was available at the time of the December council meeting.

“Debate took place during which Members acknowledged the difficult decision (whether to approve the Local Plan) before the Council.

A number of Members recognised that they would have to set aside their views concerning the use of Green Belt land for building in order that an effective Local Plan could be delivered to retain control of local plan making in the Borough and future planning decisions for the benefit of the community and avoid the serious consequences of intervention.” 

Strange that this summary, above, of the debate should highlight this one aspect of the debate, as though some level of lesser thinking was employed by those councillors who refused to support the Local Plan 2018 motion.

“At the conclusion of the debate a vote was taken on the recommendations by show of hands which was lost narrowly by one vote.”

Quite a close run thing you may think until you note the councillors who were Absent:-” Councillors Mrs W. Goodwin, R.C. Howard, B.A. Palmer, J.A.Payne, Mrs. J. Payne, W.K.Sharp, A. Taylor and Mrs L. Wass”  “cllr Dick was taken ill during the meeting and left the chamber”.

Of these absent councillors 2, at least, were excluded from participation through their personal Interests.

That leaves 5 councillors who may have been reasonably expected to Vote Against the 2018 Local Plan’s adoption, that would have made a majority of 6, far, far less than a “narrow defeat!”

And besides why should councillors, if they consider a Plan to be bad for the local residents, be forced to support it?  Many of those councillors voting in favour of the Local Plan, were elected on saving the Castle Point Green Belt tickets. They may have been representing areas intended for far less development and far less loss of Green Belt compared with others, their argument weakened by the fact that one of the more undersubscribed schools in the Borough was supported against its proposed closure, by the CPBC ceo’s letter claiming that much new housing development was proposed via the Local Plan, within that school’s catchment area!

Councillors may have also voted against this Local Plan, due to being totally misled by the continuous promises of aspirational Highway and Junction improvements, contained within it!

No mention in the Council meeting Minutes of those many, many Residents locked out of the Council Building and prevented from attending the Local Plan meeting!

Was it just to appease the agitated residents, having made the effort and given up time on a cold, damp night to attend, that officers requested them to sign an attendance sheet so that “Councillors could be informed how many” were in the lock out predicament?

A poor and typical show from Castle Point council, that this appears to have not been considered worthy of reporting!

It would also appear contradictory for Government to appear to be refusing to support a so called, by some, national Bad Plan, that has been grabbing some headlines over the last couple of years, whilst denying CPBC the right to refuse to be strait-jacketed into accepting this Local Plan!

Jotmans Lane Tank.JPG.gallery

 

 

 

Castle Point Local Plan – the Next Move. Persuasion, Manipulation, another Vote? Constitutional “cock up” or Officer style Intervention?

Further to the debacle, that is the Local Plan making system in Castle Point, let me refer you back to the current and past plight of our Borough Council.

From the original emerging Plan, the Core Strategy 2009, withdrawn 2011, onto the Local Plan 2014 which made it into print but only as a Daft document before being abandoned, onto the 2016 Local plan officially withdrawn in April 2017, without examination via its Failure of the Duty to Cooperate with neighbouring local authorities.

Sajid Javid Secretary of State for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government announced within threats of Intervention;

“On 16 November 2017 I made a statement to the House with an update on local plan progress. Up to date plans, including local plans, are essential because they provide clarity to communities and developers about where homes should be built and where not, so that development is planned rather than the result of speculative applications.

I made clear that a lack of progress will no longer be tolerated.

The Government have abolished top-down regional planning.

But a locally-led planning system requires elected local representatives to take the lead, listen to local residents and business, and set out a clear framework to build new homes, support the local economy and protect the environment.

Local plans also provide the framework within which groups can prepare neighbourhood plans to shape development at local level.

Most councils have seized the opportunity that localism provides; a small minority have not.”   

Castle Point Council as most will realise, under the threat of Government Intervention, agreed to the Secretary of State’s demand for a new Local Plan 2018 to be delivered adhering to a strict timetable.

The consequences of not doing so were made clear repeatedly by both the council leader and its chief executive.

By keeping to the schedule the “benefit” would be that Intervention may be avoided and the content would be under the control and input of local councillors.

In truth, the councillors were treated to a small number of briefings, whilst the ceo, leader and deputy and S.Rogers, consultant, Strategic Planning Regeneration, drew up the local Plan 2018.

The result was yet another Local Plan in which Housing Growth was inappropriately distributed.

Originally within the Core Strategy the growth was in Green Belt on Canvey Island, ignoring the Sequential Testing requirement of Flood Risk zones.

Then the daft 2014 Local Plan was proposed with Housing Growth on Canvey Green Belt and included a contribution on the mainland also. This came under tremendous criticism from local pressure groups and was also subsequently abandoned.

Then the 2016 Local Plan emerged with a more seemingly agreeable distribution of Housing Growth using previously developed Green Belt and regenerated Brownfield sites only. Subsequently withdrawn, although not examined.

Finally, or not as the case may be, the 2018 Local Plan at the hands of the previously mentioned cllr smith and ceo marchant.

This time Failing yet again, but due to an apparent overload of Housing Growth in the now beleaguered southern part of the Borough, that is Canvey Island (again) and this time west of Benfleet, or Jotmans Farm as it IS known!

Somewhat surprisingly the local ward representatives of Jotmans, joined alongside the “majority” of Canvey Island representatives, to reject the Local Plan 2018.

Amongst much confusion and flustered, mumbled, conversation between the CPBC ceo and leader, the vote was counted twice, almost as though it could not be believed, but both times the vote remained 16 -15 against adoption!

The Mayor was then instructed to close the Meeting!

If you don’t believe me, you can see it HERE.

However, following a Defeated Motion the CPBC Constitution directs a different, correct, approach should have been taken!

16. VOTING

16.1 Majority

Unless this Constitution provides otherwise, any matter will be decided by a simple majority of those Members voting and present in the room at the time the question was put.

For any decision to be made there needs to be a majority of Members voting in favour of the motion or recommendation.

If the majority of Members vote against the motion or recommendation, no decision has been made, and a further motion or recommendation will be invited by the Mayor.

The ceo, leader, Mayor and legal officer obviously did not want to allow the process to get away from their control by accepting an alternative Motion that may have restricted their options. Perhaps they are hoping to manipulate a repeat debate in the near future, resulting with a different result, if those dissenting councillors can be “persuaded” to relent!

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No Place for Intimidation, Castle Point councillors were simply not convinced the Local Plan was acceptable or Fair. Time for an Inquiry into Behaviour!

It appears there have been reports, that following the Castle Point Council decision not to approve the draft 2018 Local Plan, certain councillor or councillors have been subjected to intimidation, basically for voting against a Local Plan they felt unacceptable.

Lead group councillors suggest they were allowed a free vote.

Firstly the chief executive made clear that in his view the Plan wasn’t for changing, and the vote must be in favour of adoption, solely to keep to a schedule set by Government.

The council leader repeated this warning as did his deputy, this was followed by many councillors stating they were between a “rock and a hard  place”, followed by the usual platitudes.

It may have been an easier passage for the Plan if rather than the sit and listen briefings, councillors from all sides had been invited to engage with the Government chief planner’s team and had some input into drawing up the Plan.

Some of the councillor’s input into the debate was nonsensical. Cllr Cole for instance explained his sympathy for the homeless people of Castle Point, families waiting to be housed. Then he went onto suggest that with Cllr smith’s inclusion of master planning developments identified for development ward councillors and residents would have influence on the density of the housing, less flats, more open spaces etc etc.

Master planning will come at a serious cost, most particularly at the likely expense of affordable and social housing!

Another councillor suggested in his 6 months of being in position he had studied and got to grips with the Local Plan process of Castle Point, all 12 years+ of it!

We have heard talk at National level of No Plan being better than a Bad Plan.

Luckily in a democracy we are allowed to say and vote accordingly, especially if we feel this is the case.

Perhaps some councillors felt that “Local Factors” still affect the cpbc Plan making process, it has before!

What the leadership and officers must remember is that they have solely been responsible for the debacle of a situation they have found  themselves in, they have voted in Favour of every single Plan put before the members and it was they that Failed the Duty to Cooperate test with the 2016 Plan, before that even reached examination stage.

For it to be claimed that the Lead group allowed a free vote on the Plan makes it all the worse that it appeared that one councillor was taken ill, possibly due to the pressure of the occasion, and another was left upset by remarks following the vote.

In a democracy it is peoples right to make up their own minds, and it is important they are allowed to do so without fear of recriminations.

Now it is important that those who have Failed us should not take the Lead should intervention occur.

The Gov. Chief Planner is fully capable of putting together an unbiased and neutral team of planners and examiners.

Perhaps this is what those so forcefully behind an approval vote fear the most.

Now following the recent posts leading up to Wednesdays meeting, we have encouraged participation through the comments column.

This time for many reasons there will be none allowed, as the saying goes, they will have to “suck it up!”

This Post is purely in appreciation of the councillors who took a brave decision in spite of the consequences and took the more difficult decision to vote, right or wrong, according to their consciences for what they felt was Right.

Those brave mainland and Island councillors are what makes this country what it is.

The rest of us must learn to live with it, or come up with a more convincing argument other than intimidation!

There is a very real case for an Inquiry into the Matter!

 

Come 2033, where will there be left to build, on Canvey Island? And the Entrapment of Castle Point Councillors

Residents of Canvey Island and of Castle Point may do well to not get their hopes up too high, where a change to the Local Plan 2018 is concerned.

Councillors, giving out signs of rebellion, are on thin ice.

As a Campaign group we took a cautious approach to the offer of involvement in a private meeting, with the cpbc leader and officers. We agreed to a combined meeting only, if it included the other Castle Point resident campaign groups, however this was rejected by the leader and therefore the Canvey Green Belt Campaign group have remained outside of the Community Involvement part of the Local Plan process, for which we have been criticised locally!

The Council members appear not to have been quite so astute!

Unless of course we, the Residents, have been misled.

Councillors have suggested being denied input or influence on the 2018 Local Plan process and yet the Agenda paper indicates quite the opposite:

4.11 Members of the Council have been engaged in the development of the New Local Plan through a series of six Member Briefings commencing in July through to November and publication of this report.

Those Castle Point Residents looking for the councillors to vote to protect the Borough from indiscriminate development of Green Belt and green field land should prepare themselves for possible disappointment.

In the past, when given the opportunity to vote For or Against the adoption of, the Core Strategy, the 2014 draft Local Plan, and the 2016 Local Plan, with feigned deep foreboding and patronising regret, a Majority did so!

Why should we expect them to act any differently this time around?

Where Transport is concerned the CPBC Agenda paperwork indicates:

“it appears that there are likely to be capacity issues at some key junctions in Castle Point, with the Woodman’s Arms junction and the Tarpots junction most affected.”

Once again let’s not suggest there is any comparable issues that might be affecting Canvey Island!

The Local Plan 2018 includes these aspirations on Transport;

the following improvements and alterations to carriageway infrastructure in Castle Point will be delivered during the plan period to 2033:

a. A127 Growth Corridor Strategy;

b. Extension to Roscommon Way Phase 3;

c. Widening of Somnes Avenue;

d. Route improvements along the A129 Rayleigh Road between the RayleighWeir and Victoria House Corner junctions;

e. Dualling of the northern section of the A130 Canvey Way in the vicinity of Sadlers Farm;

f. Minor Junction improvements at both ends of Kenneth Road;
and

g. Highway improvements in Canvey and Hadleigh Town Centres.

2. During the period to 2033, the Council will also work with partners to secure the investment necessary to deliver a new or improved access to Canvey Island.

Any of these promises sound familiar?

Canvey Island can also look forward, despite the supposed Constraints on Development, to:

Land east of Canvey Road, Canvey Island, as identified on the Policies Map, is allocated for residential purposes, to deliver up to 300 new homes by 2033

Land west of Canvey Road, Canvey Island, as identified on the Policies Map, is allocated for residential purposes, to deliver up to 253 new homes and a residential care home by 2033

Land at Thorney Bay Road, Canvey Island is expected to deliver up to 600 new homes and a residential care home by 2033.

Land at Point Road, Canvey Island, as identified on the Policies Map, is allocated for residential purposes, to deliver up to 100 new homes by 2033.

Land at Walsingham House, Canvey Island, as identified on the Policies Map, is allocated for residential purposes, to deliver up to 32 new homes by 2033.

Land at the Admiral Jellicoe, Canvey Island, as identified on the Policies Map, is allocated for residential purposes, to deliver up to 40 new homes by 2033

Land south of Haron Close, Canvey Island, as identified on the Policies Map, is allocated for residential purposes, to deliver up to 10 new homes by 2033

Land at Haystack car park, Canvey Island, as identified on the Policies Map, is allocated for residential purposes, to deliver up to 14 new homes by 2033

Land at Kings Park, Canvey Island, as identified on the Policies Map, is allocated for residential purposes, to deliver up to 50 new homes by 2033.

That is of course not including all of the Business development sites at west Canvey, Flats in the Town Centre, the Haystack car park, the Job Centre, Tower Radio site, the old dairy, 125-127 High Street, Venables Close Out Patients Centre Long Road and Paddocks Community Centre land, Admiral Jellicoe etc that we have heard so much of, of late!

The question is, come 2033, where will there be left on Canvey Island to develop?

This should really bring into question, the morally corrupt method of application of the Sequential Test on Canvey Island development sites, by Castle Point Council!

Add into the mix the concerns of Benfleet residents over the 900 dwellings proposed on Green Belt at Jotmans Farm and you can see the daily commute for those of us in the south of the Borough and, worse still, an Emergency Evacuation of Canvey Island, becoming a real issue!

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Castle Point Local Plan. The Pro’s and Con’s of the Great Intervention Debate, as seen by a local Councillor.

A recent post regarding the Castle Point Local Plan drew some frank insight, sometimes rare for our local councillors, into the dilemma faced by members as they consider how a vote, For or Against, the Local Plan this Wednesday might attract, or alter the Government threat of Intervention in the plan process.

We have decided to re-present mainland cllr Hart’s generous offer to us, to respond to Residents questions with his own thoughts, below:

Intro: As you are aware I am a Mainland Cllr for Castle Point Borough Council, and I hope your site members find my comments useful as I try to provide information on Council matters.

Please can I advise people to weigh up all the evidence, as I will do before I vote on the Local Plan next week.

I have been involved in the Local Plan discussion from both sides for a long time. I ask questions and consider all arguments as a Cllr and as a resident.
In regard to this current proposed Local Plan and the threat of Intervention, the threat is “very real” and it is all down to time, they want a plan in as soon as possible by us or by Inspectors, if we fall behind they will take over.
Intervention is not an opportunity to stop this plan and try to reduce housing numbers and delay the plan or start a new plan.

We are finding out more and more about this local plan week by week even at this late stage and Cllrs saw the plan the same time as it went public on Tuesday.
The proposed Local Plan is over a 20 year period and is 2000 homes below the projected housing need, (101 homes per year) so even the proposed Local Plan’s approval is not guaranteed if voted in next week.
So what does that mean and what does a No vote mean ?

A Yes vote would mean we would move forward and a public consultation and submission to an inspector.
Where it maybe approved or refused .
Inspector refusal is not likely in my opinion as Secretary of State officials are in our Council Offices overseeing our Local Plan progress and if they were not happy we would be in intervention now .

What would a NO vote mean ? It would mean intervention, probably with the continuation of this plan but possibly with the risk of an added 2000 homes to fill the short fall spread on the proposed sites with an increased density, possibly with out any say on any proposed development.
Which option is better is hard to say for definite
at this time as new information is coming out all the time.

These are my opinions and I have changed my mind back and forth on what way to vote, but if a Yes vote is acceptable to an inspector and Master Planning is allowed to be run correctly with resident involvement, not on house numbers but on most other issues it is looking a less unacceptable option than a no vote at this time.
There is not a happy solution to this situation just the lesser of two evils.
What ever the vote result it is hard times for Castle Point.
I can assure everyone that the Conservative Cllrs are free to vote how ever they wish.
I will try and answer any questions that arise on this matter.

Question;  Thanks Simon your comment is appreciated. I have heard from other Resident groups that the council leader has put much faith in master planning.

How do you envisage the requirement to utilise land by more denser development and developers so called viability in providing affordable homes issues weigh up against cpbc’s aspiration toward master planning?

The bottom line is profit whilst cpbc need to see housing built which may enable the developers to call the tune at the expense of the leaders masterplan.

Answer: Master planning and the housing number being 101 per year under the target are the only positives in this Local Plan.

There is no more time to do a Local Plan we have had extra time and are now in injury time, the eyes of the UK Councils are watching to see what happens.

The Local Plan will fix the numbers per site that is Fact , Master Planning will involve a Chairman, Local Cllrs , developers and Residents to comment and amend developers applications. Access , green spaces , type of houses and house locations etc are types of issues Madter Planning can affect.

So back to your point about density increase by developers to make more money can not occur if the plan is approved.

Question: Come on Simon
I am sure you can as Chairman of the Development Control Committee remember planning officers relating to the NPPF when considering applications on Canvey Island.
“123. Where there is an existing or anticipated shortage of land for meeting identified housing needs, it is especially important that planning policies and decisions avoid homes being built at low densities, and ensure that developments make optimal use of the potential of each site. In these circumstances:

a) plans should contain policies to optimise the use of land in their area and meet as much of the identified need for housing as possible. This will be tested robustly at examination, and should include the use of minimum density standards for city and town centres and other locations that are well served by public transport. These standards should seek a significant uplift in the average density of residential development within these areas, unless it can be shown that there are strong reasons why this would be inappropriate;

b) the use of minimum density standards should also be considered for other parts of the plan area. It may be appropriate to set out a range of densities that reflect the accessibility and potential of different areas, rather than one broad density range; and

c) local planning authorities should refuse applications which they consider fail to make efficient use of land, taking into account the policies in this Framework. In this context, when considering applications for housing, authorities should take a flexible approach in applying policies or guidance relating to daylight and sunlight, where they would otherwise inhibit making efficient use of a site (as long as the resulting scheme would provide acceptable living standards).”
If you cannot developers will….

Answer: Density In the NPPF is not just to maximise it it depends on location or we would have high rise flats everywhere. Planning rules and polices still apply .

Question: Cllr S Hart mentions that councillors have only just seen the draft plan – days before the vote. Yep that’s about right CEO and his planners and some senior Tory councillors seemingly keeping the draft under wraps until the last minute. .So the study time is kept at a minimum. It’s like a stuck 78 rpm vinyl record, Why can’t some conservative councillors just wake up and see what is happening.

This is the third attempt at a plan which has cost CPBC residents a lot of taxpayers money., Of course there is a party whip but let’s hope some conservative councillors wake up to all of this and get out of their dreamland. Oh yes, Cllr Hart has made no mention of the increased traffic, no infrastructure, pollution increase, schools and doctors bulging at the seams too many numbers, the list is endless. Canvey Island is planned for even more dwellings to be built where will it end? CI is bursting at the seams. The roads are choc a block or do some people drive round with their eyes shut. I really dread to think that if there was a serious incident and emergency services could not get early necessary access. The mind boggles.

Perhaps a simple suggestion why don’t councillors just knock on a few doors of their constituent’s houses and ask residents for their thoughts. Vote No to the proposal of having ALL the greenbelt taken out of the local plan – let the government take over the LP it can’t be any worse than the efforts made so far.

The government inspectors can then make an independent assessment of the overall assessment and act accordingly. There are members of CPBC who seemingly have always wanted to build on Jotmans Farm right up across Tarpots to Glebelands can you just imagine what affect this would have for Canvey Island – yes the mind boggles again. SURELY COMMON SENSE AND REASONING MUST PREVAIL SURELY.

Answer: As I pointed out before, yes it could be worse, the proposed Local plan is 2000 homes short of the recommended number so the Inspectors “ could” continue with the plan if rejected as is or with the full 6000 number by increasing the site density.

I did not mention traffic because we all know the problems and not just on Canvey but the Mainland to, and is why our numbers are lower than our neighbours.

One thing that was made very clear by the Inspectors was that no plan was not an option, so leaving it for the Inspectors to decide could be a risky choice. A choice that could mean more homes possibly 101 per year more and possibly remove the option of Master planning and the involvement of residents to make site changes.

Question: Master Planning is described in the Cllrs members brief for the meeting on the 28th as :-
“Providing an opportunity for Members to work with Officers”. ( Members being Cllrs )
Can you give me any example where this has happened in regards to the compilation of the 2018 plan.?
and
” It is anticipated that the agreed master plan or planning brief for the site in question will be the subject of public consultation before being agreed by the Council as supplementary planning guidance”

Are you honestly suggesting that public consultation will have any effect on the developers proposal.
Simon I can only say that you are well intended but misguided if you think that the community of CPBC, are remotely fooled by Cllr Smiths rationale as to why we should avoid intervention.

Answer: Do not mix Master Planning with the Local Plan, and bare in mind the only out comes possible to Castle Point will end up with a minimum of 4000 homes in Castle Point over the next 20 years worst case is 6000 homes. So it comes down to what input we can have .

How much input have we had in this Plan, I would say none, and when we try are told time constraints mean none is likely as any delay would lead to the SoS starting intervention as his officers are in Castle Point overseeing the preparation of the Local Plan.

How will Master Planning work? well it will be a a lot of work and the numbers can not be adjusted but other stuff can be like site access type of housing building location and orientation.

Master planning is stated in the Local Plan on larger sites ( some wording needs adjustment in my opinion). Intervention is the worst case scenario and not a means to reduce housing numbers or delay the process.

We thank Simon for lending his time to answer residents queries and we look forward to the debate in council chamber, should a debate actually take place. We agree a decision may not be easy, and a result of a No vote may not lead down the obvious path.

Clearly, this is an Officers Plan, Cllrs have had barely any involvement.

We are being told, that the same members of the council will not take part in the intervention process ( no change there then ).

However, we are informed that members of the public will be able to involve themselves in the consultation part of the Intervention process. Link HERE.

Here’s the point;
Those same Cllrs, are by virtue of being Residents of Castle Point, members of the public!

Therefore are able to participate in the process’ consultation.

The Principle Officers don’t live in the Borough, so therefore should not be involved in the consultation.

Secondly the Secretary of State is not only insistent that CPBC has a plan, he is also adamant that its housing is delivered in a timely manor.

As you suggest Master Planning involves a great deal of work and subsequently, further delays.

It’s probably a good idea that Cllr Smith keeps this delaying tactic to himself.

Hart

Cllr Hart