Tag Archives: Intervention

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;

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!

Screenshot (22)

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.?
” 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.


Cllr Hart


Canvey Residents, Local Plan 4,000 new Dwellings! A Must Attend Meeting, for US All! Make Your Councillor Aware of your feelings! Think the Paddocks and Jellicoe are bad, you wait until this Plan is implemented! Another fine Mess we are Left In!

Canvey Islanders, this time next week our Fate will have been decided!

A meeting to consider the CPBC Local Plan 2018 with sites identified for 4,000* new dwellings, and the release of vast tracts of Green Belt and green field sites will have been held and a decision made!

Benfleet Residents will be mobilised to attend the meeting on the 28th November to influence their councillors.

Canvey Island Residents should be prepared to do the same!

Details of the meeting are below.

Cllr Smith and the Chief Executive of CPBC will be giving the Green Light to developers in areas such as the Dutch Village cornfields, the Triangle, the Paddocks, Thorney Bay and Jotmans farm!

This decision will have a fundamental affect on our daily lives if allowed to happen!

Whether your current concerns are the daily Traffic Congestion, the removal of the Rapid Response Vehicle, the NHS “reorganisation” in our area, access to Doctors, Schools, the loss of Green Fields, Flooding of our Homes, be certain that if our Councillors vote to Approve the Local Plan as it stands, these issues will intensify!

We must Urge our Councillors to actively Vote Against this Local Plan, even if Intervention is the only option.

As it was explained in the previous POST the threat of Intervention may not be quite as bad as portrayed by cllr smith and ceo marchant. Certainly the removal of local input, was exaggerated.

Back in June Castle Point councillors were threatened by the effects of Intervention and the benefits of CPBC retaining control of the Local Plan;

By the cpbc ceo: with intervention “Council with no say over Plan making locally, and no influence over the outcome”

By Cllr smith said: “keeping the plan making process in members control is of paramount importance for cllrs and residents to keep control of the shaping of our future Borough.” “Green Belt assessment a set process and promised member involvement in that process.

“By cllr Stanley: “give confidence to the gov minister that he can leave the job safely in our hands.”

I wonder how worse it could have been?

We must Urge our Councillors to actively Vote Against this Local Plan, even if Intervention is the only option.

Part of the Local Plan is to consider Constraints against development. Across the Borough Green Belt is a major Policy Constraint against development.

On Canvey Island, in particular, a second major Constraint is Flood Risk. CPBC have consistently used Flood Risk as a Constraint against development Housing Numbers across the Borough.

Where Flood Risk actually threatens, on Canvey Island, the Constraint is Not applied to development. In effect the Borough Housing Supply Numbers are reduced, but not on Canvey Island specifically.

We must Urge our Councillors to actively Vote Against this Local Plan, even if Intervention is the only option.

The population of Castle Point increased over the previous Census Period 2001 -2011 by just 1.6%.

However, the distribution of this increase is interesting, Canvey Island, where Flood Risk is an Actual Threat, was 2.6% up, whilst the Mainland saw just a 0.8% increase!

We covered this in more detail HERE.

We must Urge our Councillors to actively Vote Against this Local Plan, even if Intervention is the only option.

With the development of Jotmans Farm, of 900 dwellings, comes a Link Road, wait for it, ONTO CANVEY WAY !

The intention is to form a junction from west Benfleet to meet Canvey Way halfway along.

Canvey Island Commuters will only have to envisage the effects of traffic having priority from the right at junctions to imagine how this will effect the Island!

It is clear this Local Plan 2018 is a Bad Plan.

We must Urge our Councillors to actively Vote Against this Local Plan, even if Intervention is the only option.

At least the possibility of a Neutral view on development distribution may be applied, rather than this biased version!

A list of our CPBC councillors contact details can be found HERE.

The Local Plan meeting to decide where and when development across Canvey Island will take place Wednesday 28th November start 7.30pm at Council Chamber, Kiln Road, Thundersley, Benfleet, Essex, SS7 1TF.

*mainland residents group claim.

Like a bad Smell, this just will not Go Away!

Letter from the Ministry. Intervention and the Castle Point Local Plan – have Councillors been duped? Perhaps this Letter warrants a read before they decide!

So, just how Scarey, would Government Intervention in the Castle Point Local Plan, actually be?
Cllr Smith and the cpbc chief executive paint the move by Government as being close to an Armageddon for the Borough!

The latest word from the Mainland is that 400 new Houses will be built in Castle Point, every year of the new Local Plan2018!

This contrasts to the 2014 Local Plan, on which cpbc officers felt confident that 200 dwellings per Annum, would be an acceptable number of new houses.

You will be aware that cpbc councillors, voted down that version of the Local Plan in protest that the 200 dwellings was too high a number!
Now, just 4 years later CPBC have fallen foul of the Duty to Cooperate requirement, had the 2016 Plan Withdrawn, received a warning Letter from the Government’s Secretary of State, and been offered the option of facing Government Intervention or adopt a strict schedule to produce a Local Plan2018 supposedly under the evil eye of the Government Chief Planner.

The cpbc chief executive informed councillors that under Intervention, there would be no Input from our elected councillors!

This is strange. I contacted the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, to clarify if local input was definitely excluded, as the cpbc chief executive had informed.

The response, perhaps councillors should bother to read and then question, is below!

Screenshot (21)_LIStrange what you can learn, by asking a question!

How NOT to Build Cross Community Consensus, the Castle Point Way! A Joint meeting with Canvey and Mainland Residents apparently “Not Effective”!

Embracing the spirit of localism, a small contingency of Canvey Island and Benfleet community representatives, collectively requested an opportunity to discuss their Development concerns, with Castle Point Council leader, Cllr Smith.


Residents having recognised that the loss of Castle Point Green Belt sites, that are in close proximity, will have a cumulative impact on the local environment.

Unfortunately, seemingly wishing to avoid a combined group meeting, made up of the Dutch Village and Jotmans Farm Green Belt sites campaigners, the leader of CPBC, succeeds in promoting the perception, that communities from Canvey Island and Benfleet are being kept separate for an ulterior motive!

Local communities in this part of the Borough are clearly best placed to recognise that local and main roads are struggling to cope with the demands of today’s traffic, let alone the additional traffic brought about by the proposed large scale indiscriminate development.

The same communities are also best placed to understand how their health and wellbeing issues are directly linked to road traffic pollution and how their day to day functional requirements are already overstretched.
It was not unreasonable of us, to seek an open forum with cllr Smith, so as not to allow local campaigners to meet the leader in more “private” circumstances.

It may appear advantageous for residents with localised green belt site interests, seemingly at risk of development through the new Local Plan, to engage with cllr Smith via individual one to one meetings, however this may encourage the return to the problematic Local Factoring, that has blighted and festered mistrust, through previous versions of the CPBC Local Plan!

Having rejected the opportunity of bringing the community of Castle Point together, Cllr Smith has disingenuously failed to meet his communities public consultation expectations.

CPBC recognises that one of the key risks to the successful production of its Local Plan and its Policies is the possibility it would attract significant public opposition. This particular threat level has been scaled as “HIGH”, and mitigation measures were needed, in the face of Residents opposition to the Local Plan, to prevent slippage in the programmed time scale, raising the perceived Fear of Government Intervention.

CPBCs documented that:-
“The Local Plan will tackle contentious issues that could give rise to significant public opposition. Whilst every effort will be made to build cross community consensus, there remains risk of significant public opposition to the Local Plan proposals”

Cllr Smiths determination to meet with individual Green Belt groups in isolation contradicts this commitment.

Remember, Remember, the 28th of November! Intervention and Plot, Canvey and the mainland set to lose tracts of Green Belt!

This month, Canvey Island and Castle Point Borough Council face the prospect of Government Intervention, over the local authority’s Local Plan!

This Plan, to be voted on by local councillors on the 28th November in the council chamber Runnymede is Crucial to where between 4,000 – 5800 new houses will be allocated.

Should the Councillors refuse to Approve a new Local Plan identifying sites to accommodate these numbers the Government will step in and select the sites.

Those councillors that oppose Government Intervention, but support Green Belt protection, will have a dilemma come the vote.

CPBC chief executive will stress how worse it would be via intervention.

Councillors must ask themselves, could it have been any worse than what the proposed Plan is, anyway?

Either way they have, apparently, no input!

Previously the cpbc chief executive issued the warning to councillors that Intervention will be a catastrophe of seismic proportion for Castle Point Council.

Councillors themselves, chiefly the Lead Group, voted to trust the council leader and senior officers to chose development sites, including apparently precious Green Belt, and produce a Local Plan.

Now we learn that development is coming to many parts of the Borough!

Will Councillors and Residents give up the Fight

All I can say is,

“what were they thinking”?


Runnymede Towers