Tag Archives: Jotmans Farm

Residents in Castle Point wait to hear the Up Side of retaining the Local Plan In-House, rather than facing Government Intervention! Oh and how much Green Belt to be Released!

The latest public “announcement” on the Castle Point council Local Plan will be made during the cpbc cabinet meeting on Wednesday 19th September.

Residents will learn exactly what cpbc spokespeople actually meant when they stated they must keep the Local Plan within the council’s grasp, rather than face Government Intervention and all that that entailed!

In a report compiled by the ceo D Marchant, that may more aptly be delivered by wearing the cloak of the Grim Reaper, members will hear in clear terms the penalties that will befall residents of Castle Point, if they were not to fall in line and endorse whatever local plan messrs Smith, Marchant and Rogers enforce into publication.

Obviously there will be the intention to release more Green Belt land than was previously agreed, otherwise there would have been little need to delay progress of the 2016 local plan.

Instead Bureaucratic measures by this miserable triumvirate have taken over what should have been a democratic and public exercise!

“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.

We have been reminded by Government that intervention is a sanction and should not be considered as an alternative mechanism to deliver a Local Plan.

We are aware that the Secretary of State is still considering whether to intervene in the local plan process.”

There then follows a further threat to Cabinet members, and other council members in attendance;

“In terms of decision-taking, the Government will wish to make certain after intervention that the statutory development plan and policies for the Borough will be implemented and will not allow the local plan once agreed to be frustrated by the Development Control process.

Consequently as the Borough Council had no role in the preparation of the plan, indications from the MHCLG are that the Secretary of State will exercise powers available to him to direct that any strategic planning applications submitted pursuant to the plan will be referred to the Planning Inspectorate directly rather than the Borough Council,”

“As one of the very few planning authorities under intense scrutiny by MHCLG* the Council remains at great risk of intervention and this will lead to considerable reputational damage on a national scale.”

*Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government

BUT what if, this likely release of Green Belt and denser Urbanisation of previously developed land, fails to see Developers and Builders deliver the required Housing Needs of London and Castle Point?

It would be naíve to think that developers would build at a rate that would jeopardise the Market Price of Housing. What if the Governor of the Bank of England’s worse projection, a 30% fall in house prices following a bad Brexit, comes to fruition?

Will more land be required to be released because other developers have put forward alternative proposals to those in the Local Plan, which they suggest they are more able to deliver?

Government and local authorities cannot manipulate the market. previous delivery rates ARE relevant, especially when you remember that only Glebelands and part of Jotmans Farm have seen applications lodged and rejected in Castle Point for, a Total of 405 dwellings since 2010!

A cpbc Local Plan that proposes to Release anymore than the 100 Dwellings per Annum agreed by the local council in the 2016 local plan, will not only see protests by residents but will also likely lead to Polling day reaction.

We were promised Localism as the way forward in Plan making.

Instead we will likely see a Bureaucratic plan delivered by the leader of cpbc intended to satisfy the national government.

A Local Plan padded out with aspirational and undeliverable infrastructure and Sea Defence improvements AND a Plan that is Sequentially corrupt!

A new Report by  Lichfields warns of difficulties for local authorities in satisfying the Housing Delivery Test.

Lichfields write;

The housing delivery test (HDT) will become increasingly difficult to satisfy

“The HDT is a monitoring tool the Government will use to demonstrate whether local areas are building enough homes to meet their housing need. Based on the outcome of this monitoring, councils may be required to undertake further action in the near future.”

“In November 2018, the test will compare housing delivery (net additional dwellings plus communal housing) to housing need (the lower of the three years in an up-to-date local plan or household projections plus unmet neighbours’ need).”

The full Lichfield report may be read via this LINK.
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Canvey Island 3rd Access Road – Traffic Chaos set to Continue! Local Plan Carrot to Residents Mashed, Report exposes Credibility doubts!

Any Canvey Island Resident ground down by the daily commute off of the Island, be prepared for Disappointment!

The latest attempt by a now desperate Castle Point Council, to produce a Local Plan under the close scrutiny of the Government Chief Planner, dangles the usual carrot of Highway improvements for Canvey Island within the Consultation questionnaire.

We are asked:

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

33a. Do you support a new junction on the A130 Canvey Way to provide access to the west of Benfleet?

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Beware the Sting in the Tail!

You will note at best, only Limited Carriageway Dualling of Canvey Way is aspired to, with a junction for traffic from a New and vast Housing Estate at Jotmans Farm converging with the already congested traffic leaving and heading to Canvey Island!

This short length of dualling of Canvey Way, is not a measure remotely likely to improve congestion on Canvey Way, one only has to look at the amendments at Sadlers Farm to see that. Sadlers Farm, sold as an improvement for Castle Point motorists, was intended as a “cheap” fix for the A13 / A130 transport to avoid the notorious Sadlers Farm roundabout!

The aspiration to relieve traffic congestion of Canvey Island formed part of the Transport Policies of the long out of date 1998 Castle Point Adopted Local Plan!

A130 Canvey Way dualling – Upgrading of Canvey Way to dual carriageway standard between Sadler’s Farm and Waterside Farm roundabouts and the creation of a grade separated junction at Sadlers Farm Roundabout. 

Despite the proposed improvements, the Council remains concerned in respect of highway infrastructure in Castle Point, and will continue to press the Highway Authority for improvements to the strategic highway network in the Borough, and in particular for the early dualling of Canvey Way.

POLICY T1 – STRATEGIC HIGHWAY NETWORK THE COUNCIL WILL URGE THE HIGHWAY AUTHORITY TO UNDERTAKE IMPROVEMENTS TO THE STRATEGIC HIGHWAY NETWORK IN AND AROUND THE BOROUGH, INCLUDING THE DUALLING OF CANVEY WAY.

No word then of the need for a “3rd Access” to Canvey Island!

Now in the latest Local plan Consultation we are tempted with:

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

Note, not the long touted 3rd Access route to Manor Way Thurrock, just “improved access to Canvey Island”!

So should we assume this will infer to us all supporting the “dualling of the northern section of the A130 Canvey Way”, as in Q29A above, whether we do, or do not?

Because I would suggest that the dream of a true 3rd Access Route for Canvey Island remains an aspirational wish!

We have come across paperwork of a meeting in December 2013 that makes clear, not only is a 3rd Access Unlikely and definitely Un Funded, but also unsupported by any Evidence to suggest the benefits would warrant the vast Expenditure required.

The Castle Point Regeneration Team met with the then Secretary of State Patrick Mc Loughlan.

North Thames Link Road Proposal
On the 16th December 2013 a delegation from Castle Point Borough Council took part in a meeting with Mr Patrick McLoughlan. The Secretary of State for Transport to discuss the credibility of the above proposal.

A holistic overview of the above proposal and of the submitted supporting back ground documents was sought. This has resulted in the following preliminary observations designed to promote further work into the soundness and deliverability of the Councils aspiration.

The delegation consisted of Mrs Rebecca Harris MP, high profile CPBC Officers, Local and Essex County Councillors. The agenda was to seek support for a North Thames Link Road Proposal targeted towards the regeneration at the Canvey West Marsh area of the Borough of Castle Point Council, this being an aspiration of CPBC New Local Plan.

General observations for further discussion.

1. The most fundamental omission from the Background papers is the Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners Castle Point Borough Council commissioned “Employment and Retail Needs Assessment” final Report, completed as evidence for The New Local Plan in August 2012. Nathaniel Lichfield specialise in Planning, Design and Economics and their comprehensive report concluded, amongst other things:

“That the impact of improved access to Canvey Island by linking Canvey Island and Thurrock, that it was unclear on the basis of evidence currently available whether the positive economic effect associated with this would justify the significant infrastructure cost associated with providing a new highway, particularly within the context of strained public sector funding and ongoing road improvements elsewhere in the Borough (e.g. Sadlers Farm) which should improve accessibility generally.”

This report also states:

“That it is unclear whether supply chain linkages between Canvey Island firms and London Gateway would improve significantly as a result of a more direct route.”

The report points out a significant point at 7.53. “It is also important to note that four of the demographic/housing led demands estimates result in a negative requirement for employment space in future compared with the current position. This largely reflects an ageing population, which for the modest increase in housing proposed, produced a lower number of working age residents and hence a lower demand for future jobs and employment space.

It is understood that Castle Point Council may be inclined towards a scenario based on 200 dwellings being built per annum. If this were to be the case, it would imply less employment space being needed in future and fewer local workers to support economic growth in the Borough.”

2. The significance of the failure to identify within the North Thames Link Road supporting documentation, the work undertaken for the authority by Nathaniel Lichfield has had the effect of compounding further towards a poorly informed badly evidenced appraisal.

The following points need to be considered:-

3. Did those attending the NTLR regeneration meeting, who may have had an interest, declare that interest?

4. There are long outstanding uncompleted infrastructure issues within the 1998 Local Plan, such as the duelling of Canvey Way and the completion of the Roscommon Way. Was funding for these existing issues discussed if so? What was the Ministers response?

5. Calor Gas and Oikos are incorrectly identified as refineries!

6. For the CPBC NTLR proposal to mention that redundant contaminated Brownfield sites would benefit from becoming available, is somewhat short sighted. Contaminated Sites are not very desirable due to the expense of reclamation, having the effect of limiting the economic viability opportunities

7. The reference to Canvey Way is surprising given that there is no proposal for betterment, the CPBC NTLR proposal details the limitations of this route. The mention of the DMRB Design Manual for Road and Bridge specifications opens up a huge can of worms not only for this proposal but for the New Local Plan

8. With reference to the above guidance process the application would have been expected by the Minister to have the support of a VDM viable demand model as part of the preliminary assessment procedure. This is not evident in the submission.

9. The submission relates to a previous feasibility report which noted that the construction of a road in that area was not without
significant environmental and ecological SSSI constraints. It is difficult to identify within this background report how this will be averted.

10. With reference to note 9 the estimated cost at that time of the previously proposed road was between £45 and £70m which seems conservative given todays examples. However it would seem that to finance this project through private enterprise seems to call in the issue of viability.

11. Reference to the London Gate Way Port and Business Park as if the project would benefit from the access to the North Thames Link Road presumably being able to access Canvey Way should be the most significant reason as to why this proposal should not take place. The submission identifies capacity problems at the A1014 and the Canvey Way, Sadlers Farm junctions, this factor alone negates the benefits to any future employment areas needing to use the North Thames Link Road.

12. There is no evidence that the HCA Homes and Community Agency has disposed of the West Canvey Site into the private sector nor is there any evidence that 4,000 jobs will be created for local people. The trend has been the provision for low paid local employment this tends to multiply deprivation. This factor will not support the argument for large scale market price housing development in this area.

13. The reference to the fact that 100,000 tonnes of LNG Liquid Natural Gas being stored at the Calor Gas site is dangerously misinforming the Minister. This calls into question the integrity of the whole CPBC NTLR document with regards to the reliability of its content when much of it contains unreliable poorly researched evidence.

14. To suggest that the economics of the development of Canvey Town Centre is weak and in need of the potential impetus from the implementation of the Thames growth hubs to enable the town centre redevelopment to become a reality, is a damming indictment for the deliverability of the Canvey Town Centre regeneration aspiration.

15. The non-attendance of an Emergency Planning Officer or any mention of the benefit that this project could bring to the community of Canvey Island by way of assisting in its evacuation, has not been thought worthy as an argument to support the reasoning for a third
road. It can only be concluded from this, that the possibility of a Major Industrial Accident, Surface Water Flooding, Breach and Over Topping of our sea defences (ref: Scott Wilson CPBC SFRA 2010 document ) are sound reasons why not to support further urbanisation of this part of the Borough.

16. Unfortunately the aspiration for further large scale development on the Zone 3 flood plain of Canvey Island was not previously supported within the Planning Inspectors final report following the examination of the withdrawn Core Strategy. This fact has not been recorded in the submitted Back Ground documents despite being known to many of the delegation members presenting evidence to the Minister.

17. There has been very little if any consultation undertaken either with local elected representatives or the local community with regards to this proposal. It is strongly felt locally that once again development of Canvey Island will come forward without the appropriate supporting infrastructure and proper scrutiny.
It is undisputable that Canvey Island has not benefited from the previously identified necessity of the duelling of the Canvey Way or the completion of the Roscommon Way internal linkage route.

There has been no evidence brought forward, other than in support of further unwarranted development, that the duelling of Canvey Way is not by far the best option. This factor alone will support any future major repairs to the existing Canvey Way infrastructure once completed. Should this proposal in any way resemble CPBC previously outdated Local Plan policies, it is likely that material considerations in particular the emergence of the NPPF and also new evidence, will be afforded considerable weight in the decision of soundness following the examination of the New Local Plan.

QAJZU1 E12 PW SPEEDCAMERAS

pic courtesy of Echo News

Photo courtesy: scarymommy.com

Canvey Green Belt safe? Really? Probably as Safe from Development as Jotmans Farm, or Even Less So!

Canvey Islanders are right to be fearful of both Castle Point Council and the Government chief planner, as between them they concoct the next Local Plan for the Borough.

Why, because it appears previous promises and assurances that Canvey AND the mainland’s Green Belt is not in danger of being released for development, are worthless!

Anybody that has visited the cpbc Local Plan consultation Portal, will have noticed that all Green Belt sites considered and promoted for development in the daft 2014 Local Plan, including those rejected and omitted for the Local Plan2016, have now reappeared for consideration!

Directly below are just some of the sites that cpbc Leaders and officers are “considering” including in the list of sites released for development.

You will note that this will affect West, South and East Canvey Island, with knock on effects across the whole of the Island AND south Benfleet, when Traffic, Commuting, Doctors, Hospitals and Schooling are concerned!

Sites appearing in the LP 2018 consultation questionnaire include:

 Do you support the potential residential development at land east of Canvey Road?  Otherwise known as the Dutch Village fields or Corn fields.

Do you support the potential residential development at land fronting Canvey Road? Land alongside the Dutch Cottage

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

Do you support the potential residential development at land at Point Road, Canvey Island?   The Canvey Supply and surrounding Business area.

Do you support the potential residential development at land west of Benfleet? (Jotmans Farm).

Plus other mainland Green Belt sites, making up the list. And of course the other sites we know about, such as the Paddocks, The Jellicoe etc are extra to these!

And yet we have been assured ahead of elections and announcements that the Borough’s Green Belt, at least those sites considered “Virgin” were all protected.

How very disappointing to hear and read the council leader and officers and Government chief planner are now making completely different noises.

We hear NO Dissenting Voices, and our local newspaper, the Echo, appears to be under some level of censorship from cpbc!

As an illustration of the change of direction, reproduced directly below is our Blog post dated 6th October 2017. In it is included a message from Cllr Sheldon, a councillor with good connections to have spoken knowledgeably on Castle Point’s Green Belt situation.

One must ask, “where did it all so horribly go wrong?”

“THE DECISION STANDS. JOTMANS WILL NOT BE BUILT ON.”

Following the Secretary of State’s decision following the Appeal inquiry into the proposed Jotmans Farm Green Belt Housing Development, the developer registered a High Court challenge over the decision of the SoS and Castle Point council.
CPBC Councillor A. Sheldon has issued this notice:

Dear Residents,
I have just received the news that the Developers have not been granted permission to appeal the Jotmans decision by the Secretary of State!!!
This means that no appeal hearing will take place.

They made an application for an appeal and it got refused!!!

THE DECISION STANDS. JOTMANS WILL NOT BE BUILT ON.

I have received word that they are looking to get this decision reviewed (the decision not to review the decision…..), but I am confident this will get thrown out. With every unsuccessful legal bid they make, the case they have grows weaker and weaker. As your local councillor I will keep on monitoring this and keep you updated.
Our message to the developers: “Democracy has won. Take your money and build homes on sites the community want, not ones that are easy”.

Well done again to all those who kept the faith and supported our cause. I also want to thank the Jotmans Farm Action Group who fought this application hard from day 1.

We can all rest that little bit easier now.

We are not completely out of the woods just yet, but we one last step away and I will be dammed if I am going to let anything make us stumble now.
I will be putting out a letter to let the rest of the estate know at the weekend and if anyone could volunteer to deliver their road I would be grateful.

Kind regards,
Councillor Andrew Sheldon

Jotmans Farm SAFE!

Jotmans Farm Safe!

Photo: Echo Newspaper.

Local Plan – is it “Coming Home”, or Not? Roll up, Roll Up! Two Plans for the Price of just One – Castle Point’s Never had it so Good!

Canvey Island and Castle Point residents are being asked to add their opinions and thoughts to the latest Local Plan 2018 consultation process.

Town Centre
This is despite the fact that the Secretary of State, through the opinion of the Government’s Chief Planner, has yet to decide whether Castle Point council are deemed willing and capable of completing the Local Plan publication process themselves to the point of adoption!

The whole Castle Point Local Plan process is being carried out in a Rush under the threat of Intervention!

This despite the Secretary of State’s own office taking from 18 December 2015, when the Inspector issued his report into the Jotmans Farm housing Appeal inquiry, until the 21st April 2017, 16 whole months, to come to a decision. Apparently no hurry then to come to a planning decision, until an Election was imminent.

Residents entering the LP2018 process will note that there isn’t a Local Plan to actually consider, instead there are 2 !

Two Local Plans, from a single Evidence Base!

This shows, as Canvey Islanders should by now be aware, how “Local Factors” and politics can distort and manipulate the contents of Local Plans!

According to the cpbc Chief Executive officer up to 100,000 consultees are invited to respond, despite the 2011 population of Castle Point being just 88,011 and many of these being young children. this may lead to the Consultation response rate being skewed low! Previous response rates have been around just 12%

These Low response rates can lead to distortions of the “Feed Back” by the cpbc officers and our elected representatives. Previously, through these influences, we have seen Housing Growth directed onto Canvey Island despite Flood Risk being an issue, and the reduction of Housing Numbers, due to the concerns over Green Belt loss.

These influences on the Housing Growth have chiefly been in response to mainland residents concerns, indicated through the previous draft Local Plans consultations.

In recent times we have witnessed the pressure of residents and mainland councillors protest be successful in the prevention of the proposed Essex County Council closure of the Deanes school. This was strengthened by the cpbc chief executive’s supporting statement that there was to be a large Housing development site in the surrounding area, residents of which would be attending the Deanes to bring the attendance numbers nearer ECC expectations.

In contrast Canvey’s Castle View school, serving the most densely urbanised part of Castle Point and South Benfleet, was simply Closed!

A public facility closed, and sold off to a sectarian private enterprise.

The Paddocks, allowed to deteriorate despite money being available some years ago for improvements with a top up from CPBC funds, is now seen as a potential Housing development site.

If Canvey Island residents are tired of being dictated to, they must take the trouble to involve themselves in the Consultation.

This is crucial as, not only will a low response rate allow certain councillors to suggest that he, or she represents the “silent majority”, but will allow a potential disastrous Local Plan to emerge just so that it may appear CPBC are compliant with the 2 new strategic “Quango’s”, the “Association of South Essex Local Authorities” (ASELA) and the “Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission”!

Dalliance with either or both will lead to major growth changes, both in population from the 90,000 dwellings across the area and traffic especially locally, with no infrastructure improvements. Canvey Island, purely due to its situation will always remain an outpost. However many people are managed to be housed here, little infrastructure will be forthcoming simply because we are in Austere times.

Infrastructure requires maintenance, ECC are not looking to spend more on maintenance!

For all of the Canvey Island Petitions and Referendum the past has proved that election words and promises are cheap, we need to accept that due to our location, the area is seen as Developable, whether Housing, Business or Industrial, yet little benefit or financial return is gained by Infrastructure improvements.

As it stands your Local plan consultation response, in the first instance, will be weighed against mainland responses.

If you  as a Canvey resident consider;

that Canvey Island has become over developed to the point that New Large Housing development sites are unviable,

that the Traffic Issues mean the potential congestion is unreasonable,

that Tidal Flood Risk is not taken seriously enough when distributing Housing Growth,

that the whole of the increasing Urbanised area of Canvey Island is a Critical Drainage Area and the ever increasing development is putting too greater strain on the drainage system,

that the Road Access is inadequate for the current population, many of whom commute, and unsuitable and especially inadequate in the event of an Emergency Evacuation,

that in a severe Emergency, whether Flood Risk or Industrial, the sheer number of Residents on Canvey Island and the island’s location, mean that any response by the Emergency Services will be inadequate and a Danger to Life, despite responders best efforts,

that our Green Spaces and Green Belt are important to our well-being and should NOT be developed,

that our Town Centre is badly in need of Regeneration and Re-development and under serious threat from out of town shopping areas,

then you really should make the effort to Log onto the Castle Point council website and respond to the Consultation.

Otherwise it will be left to the Government, Council officers and the majority mainland representatives to impose on us “their” Local Plan.

To add your thoughts and concerns to the cpbc Local plan Consultation, log on HERE.

To view the documentation, log on HERE.

To Intervene or to Not Intervene, that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer, as Simple Minded and Disobedient Canvey Folk suffer, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles.

Much will be read and disclosed over the next year or so, when it will be wondered whether the June 2018 decision by Castle Point council, to rush into a Local Plan schedule, with the prospect of a New Local Plan approved by Council for publication by November followed by submission to the Inspectorate in April 2019, or alternatively to face the prospect of Government Intervention, is the best path to tread, especially where Canvey Island is concerned.

“sometimes orders given to the simple-minded have to be reinforced with a threat, a suggestion that something terrible will happen to the disobedient,”

And so it was, when the cpbc chief executive, the council leader and his deputy, stated the case for cpbc seeking to retain control of its Local Plan making, rather than allow Intervention from the Government Planner.

The councillors and residents were not permitted an address from the Government chief planner, choices and their consequences were expressed only third hand delivered by the cpbc triumvirate.

But whilst keeping control of the Local Plan process is in the very best interests of parts of the mainland, is it also in the best interests of Canvey Island, a reasonable question to ask?

Harking back to the Core Strategy we exposed a Plot by the “Ruling” mainland party to sacrifice Canvey’s Dutch Village Green Belt site, as the sole Green Belt site released for development, so as to appease their mainland concerns and allow publication of a cpbc Core Strategy, local plan!

We remember well, the mainland residents Green Belt campaign group, during the council Task and Finish group meeting, standing to address council members confirming that they agreed and supported the Plan “in its entirety!”

Where was the “united” Borough then?

When the Core Strategy was rejected by the Examining Inspector due to the unreasonable Housing Growth Distribution and the Dutch Village site being, a Green Belt site within a Flood Risk Zone, the cpbc ceo made sure that the Dutch Village remained within the list of Green Belt sites for development, whilst adding some mainland sites to meet the Housing Need of the Borough, within the 2014 daft Local Plan!

Of course the retention of the Canvey Dutch Village site, despite the Inspector’s opinion, meant that one large mainland site would be saved from development.

Now by returning to the 2014 draft local Plan as a starting place for the 2018 Local Plan, concerns return as to whether it is intelligent and responsible for Canvey residents to put their faith, as we are being told and advised so to do, within the “Ruling” party’s successful motion to Control the 2018 local Plan.

“sometimes orders given to the simple-minded have to be reinforced with a threat, a suggestion that something terrible will happen to the disobedient,”

The threat has been delivered and something terrible may still apparently happen!

We are reminded that the Dutch Village site is owned by Persimmon, implying that this would speed the process through Planning resulting in an early supply of Housing, For The Borough!

Meanwhile, the more lucrative development sites elsewhere in the Borough would, following this logic, remain undeveloped for longer, especially when the ongoing development of approximately 900 Sandy Bay Park Homes, also on Canvey Island, are put into the equation!

This may encourage some conspiracy theory, has the call for sites from cpbc entailed dealings between officers members and developers as to which site or sites would be released in which order, specifically if the developer were to agree to initially focus on Dutch Village first?

As it stands in practise cpbc focus on applying constraints on development in the so called “virgin” Green Belt areas of the Borough. Canvey Island Flood Risk is also applied to the constraints so as to limit numbers, but that constraint is applied to housing Need numbers across the whole Borough, rather than Canvey Island in particular!

Making cpbc’s approach to the application of the Sequential Test simply contrived and, a Farce!

But can Canvey residents be certain that the Government Planner would apply to Canvey Island, the supposed Constraints on Housing Development such as Flood Risk, the threat to what remains of its Green Belt and the Hazardous Industrial sites any less fairly than the cpbc “Ruling” party and officers?

Especially going by their proven Local Planning track record!

Under Cllr Riley’s regime Canvey fared better than during any of the previous attempts at Plan making.

Now Cllr Riley has been side lined by the Triumvirate now in control, and previously chiefly responsible for the 2014 daft Local Plan, despite two of them apparently also claiming to support the 2016 Plan’s attempt to constrain the borough’s Housing Numbers!

To mainlanders these thoughts may sound pessimistic and overly cautious, however being fed rumours and not having the access to decision makers that some residents appear to have, however furtive, leads to a lack of an Open and Transparent Local Plan process.

Faith in Leaders must be Earned, Blind Faith is a dangerous option.

PLANING-APPEAL-SIGN

 

Canvey Dutch Village Green Belt under Fire, yet Again! The Cowboys set to take advantage – More Canvey Island Development by Stealth? Jotmans Farm beware!

In a crude attempt to negate supposedly protected Green Belt land on Canvey Island, a Planning Proposal has been received by Castle Point planners!

Persimmon, withdrew their long standing proposal to develop 300 dwellings on the Canvey Dutch Village, now a new proposal is shown as being received.

This time, no doubt an interim measure, for an equine facility, we assume in the current local climate as a move towards their real desire to develop over, the Dutch Village Green Belt site.

18/0118/FUL | Erection of stable block with adjoining hay storage/tack room and associated landscaping. Formation of access track together with the change of use of land for the keeping of horses. Installation of width restriction barrier to discourage unauthorised motorcycle access and main entrance gate alterations. | Land East Of Canvey Road And South Of Great Russell Head Farm Canvey Island Essex

The timing could not have been better, whilst Castle Point council remain under threat of Intervention from the Government Secretary of State, due to the failure of the Local Plan Duty to Cooperate requirement and the subsequent  withdrawal of the latest version of the cpbc Local Plan!

CPBC’s gamble to play with technicalities by differentiating between Green Belt and previously developed Green Belt will be tested, at Canvey Island’s expense.

The site served up to save mainland Green Belt, the Blinking Owl site, is not considered deliverable within Local Plan terms. So, the more previously developed Green Belt land in the Island part of the borough, the less required to be found elsewhere in councillors eyes.

Additionally it will be interesting to learn how this proposal for equine use can be Rejected, as a very similar application was granted in the Green Belt, by the Castle Point development committee, for Canvey west ward councillor J.King in January 2017!

cpbc officers applied the following logic, so as to overcome the Special Circumstances to allow development in this instance;

Sluice farm, Haven Road. 16/0433/FUL

“The Planning Authority defines a ‘very special circumstance’ as one which is unique to the site or, at the very least, incapable of frequent repetition. Very special circumstances need not be a single matter, but may result from a combination of matters which individually may not be considered very special, but which in combination, when viewed objectively, may be identified as very special.
Whilst the proposal will result in inappropriate development in the Green Belt which will have an impact on the openness of the Green Belt, suggesting that permission for the proposal should be withheld, the NPPF openly encourages the provision of opportunities for outdoor recreation, improved biodiversity and improved landscape. The proposal will provide opportunities for countryside recreation which would be consistent with the Government objective of seeking to provide positive uses within the established Green Belt.
It is considered that this factor, coupled with the limited harm to the strategic function, character and appearance of the Green Belt provide very special circumstances which weigh in favour of the proposed development.”

At the time, we were bewildered by the development committee’s eagerness to apply this logic, but……..

In contrast, where the supply of Housing is concerned, as in the Jotmans case, the Secretary of State concluded;

“The Secretary of State has considered carefully whether these considerations amount to very special circumstances which clearly outweigh the harm to the Green Belt and other harm. The Secretary of State has taken into account the extremely low housing land supply, and the withdrawal of the dNLP. This increases uncertainty about the future delivery of housing. He has also taken into account the Written Ministerial Statement confirming the Government’s policy that ‘subject to the best interests of the child, personal circumstances and unmet need are unlikely to clearly outweigh harm to the Green Belt and any other harm so as to establish very special circumstances’.”

You can see the obvious danger where cpbc are concerned, apparently the provision of Stabling for Horses provide the Very Special Circumstances necessary to permit green Belt Release, whilst the provision of allegedly much needed Housing, in a borough with a chronic under supply of housing, doesn’t!

Or is it simply a case of Canvey Green Belt requiring a different level of Special Circumstances? We will be interested to learn the position our representatives will adopt and their logic in doing so.

We can imagine the wringing of hands and the apologetic faces, whilst they state that their hands are tied and that they can only consider the application before them!

Who knows the Canvey equine Green Belt proposal may be a ploy by Persimmon, so that when they resurrect their Jotmans Farm proposal, as they most certainly will, they will then be able to suggest that with a new equine facility on Canvey, there will be an abundance of equine stabling and facilities in this part of Castle Point. Jotmns Farm campaigners be warned!

It appears  however that for now, the Castle Point cowboys may be getting themselves a new Ranch!

“The Natives are restless, and seem desirous of fighting”, The question is, or are they?

640px-Buffalo_bill_wild_west_show_c1899

Image: Courier Litho. Co., Buffalo, N.Y.

Canvey Island Nimbyism? RTPI attack on Ageism amounts to Stereotyping – who else to “Watch this Space”?

Protest against Green Belt development in Castle Point, is definitely not the sole domain of Canvey Islanders.

Whilst we feel we have more to protest about than most, despite being considered to be “not living in the Real World”, even by some of our own representatives, it cannot be argued that issues facing Canvey Island are not unique.

Whether it be the fact Canvey Island is the most densely urbanised part of the Borough, the removal of Canvey’s Rapid Response Vehicle, the 3rd access Road saga, the broken drainage system, the Roscommon Way Racers, lack of street lighting on unadopted roads, or living alongside 2 major Hazardous Industrial sites, concerned Canvey residents are often greeted with a “them again?” luke-warm welcome!

But that is not to exclude our mainland neighbours who are equally willing to object against planning issues where Green Belt and other supposedly worthy development proposals are concerned.

Now it appears it has been recognised that the majority of those willing to get involved in the planning process are of a certain age group.

“Currently, the majority of those who engage in planning are over 55 years. Response rates to a typical pre-planning consultation are around 3% of those directly made aware of it. In Local Plan consultations, this figure can fall to less than 1% of the population of a district. Yet planning decisions are based upon this sample.
Well-managed consultations start early, seek a more balanced engagement and encourage the ‘strategic’ thinkers to engage, but they too frequently fail to engage with the younger age groups – yet we are planning their future. What other organisation would base important decisions on this level of response without checking to see if it was ‘representative’. Yet this is what happens in planning decisions.”

So says Sue Manns, the Regional Director of national planning consultancy Pegasus Group, in an article for the Royal Town Planning Institute. Pegasus being the planning group involved in the Jotmans Farm development Inquiry.

The article appears to suggest that through the lack of engagement with a “younger” consultee audience, modern development plans struggle to be adopted through the objections from those more senior amongst us residents.

“We need to start a nationwide conversation around the spatial impacts of technology change, embrace young and dynamic thinkers and those who see change as exciting, and let’s rebalance the objection-driven engagement culture which has dominated planning over the past 50 years.”

Whilst Canvey residents may not be considered by cpbc, and perhaps Sue Manns, to be dynamic thinkers, they would be wrong in their assumption to consider us as not recognising change when it is exciting, as long as it is realistic!

The cpbc promise of the grandly titled “Canvey Island Town Centre Regeneration Masterplan” is a case in point. Unfortunately scepticism was well founded, as the lack of tangible progress alongside the failure to incorporate the proposed Dutch / seaside architectural features into new proposals, has led to blandly designed and cramped Flatted and Retail developments to pass approval!

 

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Building materials to reflect the overall palette, drawing on the Dutch, Coastal Town and Art Deco influences to create a scheme with a unique identity.
Colours should be vibrant to establish the new retail area as a destination. Shop front improvements along Furtherwick Road should be designed with the distinctive features of an English Seaside Town.

With prose being used, similar to that above, to encourage support for aspirational design schemes, it is hardly any wonder that Sue Manns has identified a failure of the industry to engage with a younger audience in planning consultations. The lack of younger generation involvement may be true, but that is not a reason to support the thought that adult and senior views should be ignored simply to support any particular development plan that may indeed, not be suitable for a particular area.

We on Canvey Island have seen the value of “local knowledge” within the Plan making process!

When the 2009 cpbc Core Strategy attempt at a local plan was published the Canvey Green Belt Campaign, through “local knowledge” recognised the attempt to mislead the Examining Inspector with its “inappropriate housing site selection” policies, which “commits to Green Belt release in an area of potential high flood risk”, as well as it being obvious he would not be “convinced that maintaining the current distribution of development across the Borough is justified given the existing constraints”.

This despite cpbc officers being party to the clear intent of the mainland lead group to allow themselves to be influenced by, and produce a local plan driven by, what the Inspector politely described as “Local Factors”!

In this light, of course we HAD to get involved, despite being within the age bracket that Sue Manns and her planner colleagues have an issue with!

Committing to attending a 2 week Examination following production of a lengthy consultation submission is not achievable by all, however when your own local authority have schemed and approved such a discreditable document, it must be challenged and exposed for what it was. Not everybody is in a position, or willing to commit to taking part in plan making process, as it bound to require taking unpaid leave or using holiday periods. Something those with young families for instance may be unwilling or unable to commit to.

Perhaps Planners and developers would prefer that no residents, whatever age bracket they fall into, take part in the planning process? One thing we did find was that the Examining Inspectors appear to welcome local input!

The feedback from our Referendum equally challenged Sue Mann’s assumption that a younger demographic would automatically give the different response that she and her  planner colleagues would hope for, by achieving “a more balanced engagement and encourage the ‘strategic’ thinkers”.

Castle Point council gave evidence, indeed if it can be considered of value, that they extended their consultation to specifically target established groups of youngsters as part of the Core Strategy consultation.

What the Canvey Green Belt Campaign witnessed however, was perfectly clear. By calling on residents at their homes and putting to them our Referendum question, it was absolutely clear, that the loss of yet more Canvey Green Space to the Borough’s Housing Need was indisputably opposed across generations!

Planners may begin to achieve the respect they crave if they were more driven by an local area’s actual needs. Aspirational architectural computer imagery with green spaces screening dense urbanisation deceive nobody.

Equally the promises of Affordable Homes, later challenged as being unviable, is a deception we are getting more and more familiar with, especially in the light of Green Belt release and sky high housing prices.

RTPI and Sue Manns, nice try, but must try harder!

ps Lets not feel too much sympathy for the industry: “The chief executive of housebuilder Persimmon has insisted he deserves his £110m bonus because he has “worked very hard” to reinvigorate the housing market.” (Guardian)

A link to the Canvey Island Town Centre Regeneration Masterplan can be found HERE.

The full blog post by Sue Manns can be found via this LINK.

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