Tag Archives: land raising

Thorney Bay, change of Use Over-Heard on the Canvey Grapevine! CPBC Local Plan issues?

It started as a Whisper, became a Rumour and has now reached Conjecture level on the Canvey Grapevine!

Thorney Bay, the apparent answer to the Castle Point Council’s Local Plan dreams, has become the subject of unconfirmed speculation. With the humiliating Withdrawal of the cpbc Core Strategy in 2011, it was considered “timely” by cpbc officers that Thorney Bay, despite it being sited within the Hazard range of Calor Gas and within a 3A Flood Zone, should come forward to provide a Housing Development of some 600 dwellings plus sheltered accommodation.

Thorney Bay then became the Backbone, the largest single development site, of Castle Point council’s daft Local Plan and surviving the GB sites cull to remain as the spine of the Local Plan2016, 5 year Housing Supply!

The Thorney Bay proposal passed in Principle by the cpbc development committee, whilst in the following months / years a 1st Phase proposal has gained Health and Safety Executive’s permission and is apparently overcoming the Flooding Objections to the fundamental requirements of the Environment Agency and the ecc Lead Local Flood Authority.

Now then; Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once!

A little Bird has told me, and I must say there is little foundation, so to speak, for this to be considered information, but it could be that the development may not be going much further!

To me this would not be a surprise, I would have thought a more likely idea would be for the developer to follow the Kings Park, and remove the static caravans and replace with Park Homes.

The build cost would be far less, the speed of development would be probably twice as quick and success of the venture equally, if not more so, financially successful as Kings Park!

What’s to lose?

Park Homes and Luxury Lodges can easily reach an asking price of £300,000, the site is opposite Thorney Bay Road, and residents would likely be of an age not too concerned with, the daily commute.

Now that the Canvey Bay Watch team have created such an attractive area of the promenade and beach front, this forms another selling point for potential Park Home buyers. I would have thought that the Canvey Bay Watch team should soon be knocking on the site owner’s door for financial support, should this development rumour come to fruition!

Thorney Bay 1

Photograph courtesy: Dave Harvey

The question for cpbc is whether these Park Homes should count towards the official Housing Supply.

On one hand these Park Homes “are suitable for residential use throughout the year and are built to last at least 50 years”! (Omar park and leisure homes). Although whether 50 years lifespan is considered permanent is challengeable, however, their success is, and there are people desiring to own them.

The Planning Inspector examining the Glebelands, Thundersley, Appeal did not consider the numbers at Kings Park should qualify for inclusion in building numbers, but that may have been due to cpbc being unable to clarify how many caravans were replaced by Park Homes.

We do know that of the caravans at Thorney Bay the Inspector concluded;

“But that does not necessarily mean that the Households now occupying caravans would have chosen that type of accommodation, in preference to bricks and mortar.”

Well, “bricks and mortar” these Park Homes ain’t! But the appeal of Park Home life is generally popular across the UK, so if people are choosing to buy into this type of accommodation, then there is an argument for these dwellings to be included into the Canvey Island Housing Supply count.

With our “Broken Housing Market” leading to the apparent need to revisit Pre-Fabricated Housing, these Park Homes may well have some scope.

Whether or not any Affordable Home supply can be squeezed into the equation will be upto the negotiating abilities of cpbc, so we won’t hold our breath on that one!

What could be expected is for some Canvey Island “bricks and mortar” dwellings to become available, for local young families hoping to get on the property ladder, as older Canvey residents move into the Park Homes.

It may be doubtful , should the development come into fruition, whether the Housing Need in the mainland part of the Borough be part satisfied, as it will be difficult to argue that this type of dwelling satisfies the cross market “bricks and mortar” Housing Need. In fact it probably increases the pressure on mainland site supply.

I remind you this is only speculation.

As a reference, below, I include part of the text of the cpbc Report on Residential use of Caravan and Park Home Sites 2013.

“It is clear from both Census data and from Council Tax data that an increase in the availability of caravans for residential use resulted in an increased housing supply of the order of 800 homes in Castle Point in the period from 2001 to 2011. This increase was largely as a result of the change of use of Kings Park and Thorney Bay Caravan Parks from holiday use to residential use.”

“To date, the Council has only included those caravans registering for Council Tax at Kings Park within the housing figures for the period 2001 to 2011. However, given that caravans at Thorney Bay were included as homes within the Census 2011 outcomes, and this will be reflected in population and household data moving forward, it is appropriate that the housing supply figures for the period 2001 to 2011 are appropriately adjusted to include these homes also.”

“The change of use of static caravans from holiday accommodation to residential accommodation has made a significant contribution to housing provision over the last decade (2001 to 2011). Approximately, 800 additional caravans moved into permanent residential use over this time period, primarily on the Kings Park and Thorney Bay sites. This is supported by evidence from the Census and from Council Tax records.”

“However, whilst some of this provision has contributed positively towards the community, in particular at Kings Park, the nature of the provision at Thorney Bay has had negative socioeconomic consequences both for the surrounding community and for the vulnerable families who have found themselves living at the site.”

“Due to these issues there is support for proposals to redevelop a significant proportion of the site for traditional homes. However, it is the intention of the owner to retain a smaller caravan park of 300 caravans for residential use towards the west of the existing site.”

“Assuming that the proposals to redevelop this site as proposed for traditional housing are delivered in full over the next 10 years, then it is unlikely that the number of households living in caravans in Castle Point will increase further between 2011 and 2021. Indeed, as a result of the development of traditional housing over this period, it is expected that the proportion of households living in caravans will reduce.”

“However, should the Thorney Bay site not be redeveloped as proposed, then there is the potential for a further 800 caravans moving from transient use into permanent residential use. This will increase further the number of households living in caravans, and the associated socio-economic issues arising from this. It is therefore imperative that the Council work alongside the site owners to encourage and facilitate the redevelopment of this site in an appropriate timeframe.”

Video copyright BBC

Local jobs for local people promise for Canvey folk!

There were we thinking this Blog was being referenced during the Planning Committee meeting, when all along the Castle Point officer was probably referring to the councillor reported in the Echo as saying that the Roscommon Way business development was Green Belt.

One of our recent posts on the subject had made the point of stating similar, but had made the important point of using lower case g’s and s’ !

Whilst the area under consideration is green and has environmental value and neighbours the SSSI area, it is not Green Belt. This should be of some concern to Castle Point residents as it indicates the fragility of the defensive mechanism of Green Belt status.

This status has already been challenged legally in Castle Point as the local authority chose not to save its Green Belt policy, relying on the Local Plan options map to protect the areas status, when re-saving parts of the 1998 Local Plan.

During the development committee meeting we were also treated to other less than correct, precise ramblings of members such as;

On the expected extra traffic congestion the Business Park will cause:

The councillor who has a trouble free commute to his work premises travelling down the hill onto Canvey, claiming right of way over the 4 lanes queuing to get out of Somnes Avenue, and then claiming similar rights of way over those commuters returning home along Canvey Way attempting to enter Waterside Roundabout saying, the development will not add to traffic problems!

Then again the same councillor stated these potential 500 jobs will be local jobs for local people.

Local houses for local people argument doesn’t appear to hold up in practise, but the same old rhetoric continues to be used.

Another councillor who told members that he moved to Canvey when he married and always commuted off the Island for work, as did his children, but now he expects his grandchildren to have the right to expect to work on Canvey.

We must now wonder whether residents in the mainland ward he represents will be interested where his priorities lie, when issues of local housing and local green space for local people are up for consideration.

The route of the two major accident hazard pipelines however, must remain a mystery. The committee, those that showed the slightest interest, were told the maps showing their positions were available, but apparently not for this committee’s viewing.

It was pointed out by the “professional” officers that the Roscommon Way business application sought permission in “principle.”

By approving this proposal we assume that as it approved permission to “Land Raise” the site by 600 mm, the principle of Land Raising was also established on Canvey Island “In Principle.” 

A case of the Development Committee creating Local Plan policies?

On the concerns of drainage at the approved site, there appeared a pre-meeting session between some members, officer and developers had effectively concluded that the proposed drainage model would not add to drainage problems faced by the Island.

Permeable surfaces would be used. The CPBC SFRA states that;

“Permeable paving prevents runoff during low intensity rainfall, however, during intense rainfall events some runoff may occur from these surfaces.”

Attenuation Urban Drainage techniques would be used to control the flow of water from the site into the drainage system. Little reference was made to this being in the form of a Pond.

On Canvey, with its high water table, the introduction of a pond may be of similar effect as lowering a bowl full of water into a bath of water, the overall water table will rise.

“Ponds and wetlands trap silt that may need to be removed periodically”, the recent report into the Canvey Island flooding of 2014 revealed that the lack of maintenance in the Canvey drainage system was a major factor in the level of flood damage caused.

The option of installing the more expensive option of a pumped system, similar to the one employed apparently successfully by Morrisons Supermarket, appears now to have been disregarded.

In conclusion I will reproduce an “opinion” from the CPBC Strategic Flood Risk Assessment copy in our possession;

“The results from the increased scope Level 2 SFRA have confirmed that the southern part of Castle Point, namely Canvey Island and the Hadleigh Marshes area are at significant risk of tidal flooding.

In the event that a breach in the existing flood defences was to occur, or a failure of one of the existing flood barriers (residual risk), significant depths of floodwater would be experienced on Canvey Island and the southern portion of the mainland.  Given the low lying nature of these parts of the borough, floodwaters would propagate rapidly across Canvey Island thereby reducing the time for warning and evacuation of residents.

In addition, it has been identified that parts of Canvey Island are at actual risk of flooding due to the level of protection of the existing defences”

No regard to this Flood Risk was expressed, the decision and responsibility for this Risk is entirely the development committee members concern.

It is clear that if this development realises the levels of employment suggested there will be an extra 1,000+ vehicle movements per day. Business development is of a lower category of flood risk than dwelling houses, however the levels of traffic created, if ever there was to be an emergency incident, would exacerbate the problems in carrying out an evacuation.

In the meantime let us all look forward to the new prosperity and work opportunities for Canvey residents.

 

Land Raising on Canvey Island – CPBC Councillors respond.

It’s time to report back to you, as promised, with the responses to our “open letter to Councillors” which we Posted on the 31st July and was also kindly reproduced in the District News.d-man-letter-delivery-open-mailbox-render-person-giving-enevelopes-andletters-inside-rendering-human-people-33288459

Now it could just be that, we at Canvey GB, have mis-judged the importance and level of impact that large development’s intention to use Land Raising as a means of alleviating the threat of flooding could have on the rest of Canvey and the residents.

Our first, and only response prior to us re-prompting our councillors was received;

Date: 2015-08-02

I have been giving the issue raised some thought and would like to say the following.

As a councillor I am given many things to consider. With limited time, resources, knowledge and experience I appreciate the work done on behalf of the community by support@canveygb.

You help me to understand the issues.

As for the matter in question I am concerned about land raising as an answer to possible flooding. It seems to me that it may well increase the risk to others. The two industrial complexes currently in the planning stages are both sited near the sea wall.

It would seem sensible to me that each location has its own reservoir for surface water with a pumping station to convey the collected water into the estuary as do the present Environment Agency pumping stations. In fact I believe one of the sites is very close to an EA pumping station and could link in.

The thought of 1000s of lorry movements bringing fill material on to the Island is extra traffic we could do without. The Basildon golf course experience is also a worry.

Making the industrial estates deal with their own surface water seems a simpler sensible solution to me.

Colin Letchford

Having received the single response we Posted this short “reminder”:

Today we have received, in response to our Open Letter to Castle Point Councillors, our first and so far only response! It may be that others are still considering how to respond so we shall hold judgement. Hopefully they are able to see the likely impacts and problems caused by Land Raising. The letter is an appeal for Canvey residents concerns to be represented and taken to the lengths the issue may warrant. Once the appropriate time has elapsed, response conclusions, should there be any Councillors who share our concerns, will be made public. We consider the contents of this letter concerns all who live on CanveyIsland. Hopefully our Councillors are willing to consider and take action. Responses and following actions will be posted

We then received the following responses:

3.08.15                                                                                                             I am waiting for the EA flood assssment report to be officially announced amd them read it . After that I ill reposed as I have always done to this group .          Bill Sharp

3.08.15

Thank you for update, as a Canvey Islander I follow the CGB page anyway, the contents of which are noted.
Regards
Colin MacLean
Cedar Hall Ward

3.08.15

Many thanks. Eoin Egan

3.08.15

Dear Editor,
Thank you for your open letter in regard to all CPBC Cllrs of which I am one, your concerns and points are noted.
Regards
Simon Hart Victoria Ward

9.08.15

I myself don t believe in land raising I think if the lands that bad it as many implications of a disaster, I also think that it would be likely to flood other homes nearby we have witnessed this in other areas, after all how many times must we flood before the consultees listen? The developers own technical document just about explains every reason not to go ahead with a very strong document of mitigation needed at the Dutch village development its an hornets nest in my opinion.

They would have to stick within the boundary’s they cannot fill in culverts and dykes there are so many reasons and possible problems.

Cllr  N.Watson

In our naivity we had hoped that some action may have been forthcoming. Perhaps Land Raising would not introduce the issues that we feared.

Land Raising – An Open Letter to Castle Point Borough Councillors.

Dear Councillors,

You will be aware of the large development proposals being promoted for Canvey Island through the draft New Local Plan.

It is apparent, through reading the CPBC Planning Portal documents, that there is a preference for developers to employ “Land-Raising” as their preferred drainage solution for large development proposals on Canvey Island.

Dependent on the area of Canvey Island that the proposed development is intended for, the Land-Raising will amount to between 40cm – 1Metre+.

This will likely have three detrimental effects.

1.  Off-site Flood Risk.

The Environment Agency consider Land-Raising on Canvey Island delivers “a negative off site impact from these proposals, which is not in line with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in particular paragraph 102, Castle Point Council’s Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA), or the Thames Estuary 2100 Plan.

Paragraph 102 of the NPPF suggests that once the Sequential Test has been satisfied there should be an aspiration to reduce flood risk overall:-

“ a site specific flood risk assessment must demonstrate that the development will be safe for its lifetime taking account of the vulnerability of its users, without increasing flood risk elsewhere, and, where possible, will reduce flood risk overall.”

Currently proposals are contrary to this, as they show that flood risk will be increased elsewhere.”

“The negative off site impact is also contrary to the TE2100 Action Plan, which states the following for Action Zone 7:-

     “To agree partnership arrangements and principles to ensure that the new development in       Lower Estuary Zone 7 is safe, and that where possible the application of the NPPF reduces the   consequence flood risk – particularly in the areas where there is aggregation of flood risk for people or industry.”  

2.  Negative Impact upon House Values.

The existing Canvey Island housing stock market may well suffer devaluation.  Prospective  buyers of  existing housing stock could not fail to notice a “new-build” being Land-Raised. The potential, existing housing stock buyer, will obviously be alerted to a flood risk problem facing Canvey Island generally. If they were to go ahead and purchase an existing house built at ground level, they would likely do so, only after negotiating down the purchase price. This effect would likely have a bigger impact upon single storey dwellings. The result being a levelling down of the overall housing stock.

3.  Contamination.

Whilst it may be possible to impose conditions regarding the Land Raising material, the quantities required would open up an opportunity for unscrupulous methods.

The material used, may likely be of some concern, the redevelopment of Basildon Golf Course was a case where use of potentially contaminated waste is an example. The Thames 25km “Super Sewer” and Crossrail 2 will both offer waste materials that will require disposal of.

These new Land Raising materials may react in an unstable manner on Canvey Island clay, already an unstable material through the annual seasons weather, flooding in winter and shrinking in dry summers.

There is also the possibility of mobilising contaminants within the Land Raising materials. These contaminents have the potential to enter the drainage system. Reach the drainage pumps and be discharged into the Thames Estuary and the Benfleet Marshes.

The Thames Estuary water quality is already sensitive, given the expected large increase in cargo vessels  from around the World serving the new container port DP World.

The Benfleet and Southend Marshes are SPA and Ramsar sites. The potential for harm to these sensitive sites is obvious.

The Canvey Green Belt Campaign feel that the weight of these 3 Factors warrant discussion at Council level, and that a Castle Point Borough Council Policy should be adopted that prohibits Land Raising on Canvey Island, for the reasons stated.

Yours Faithfully,

The Committee Members

Canvey Green Belt Campaign Group

Canvey’s Flood Apathy will bite us in the Wallets!

Canvey Island is facing plans from developers that may have a direct impact on the value of their homes!

ostriches-head-in-sand

New large developments on Green Belt and Green Field’s are being proposed that intend to raise land levels in the region of 1 1/2 metres above neighbouring land levels  so as to mitigate Flood Risk.

The effect this will have on existing property is two-fold. One, it may well increase flood risk to neighbouring properties and secondly will undoubtably have an negative effect on the neighbouring property prices.

Visitors will be unable to not notice new homes and business developments built on this raised land. Through this it will not take them long to realise that Canvey is liable to flood and in the circumstances it would be unwise to purchase properties at normal ground level. Consequently house prices could well fall.

This would actually cause the deprivation, that CPBC argue new development is required to prevent!

And yet currently our local Councils have no Policy in place to deal with the matter.

Instead it is left to the Developers to come to an agreement with the Environment Agency that Flood Risk issues will not be too badly affected.

Interesting how this can be achieved whilst absolutely nobody currently has any idea of the capability of Canvey’s drainage system to cope with a rain storm.

A breach of the sea defence would overwhelm the drainage system and these land raised areas would likely cause greater depths of flood than would previously be the case.

Why local representatives have not taken a lead on this is questionable. It could be argued that we must have confidence in the Environment Agency, however they only consider the actual proposal and any affect on land directly adjacent. They also expect our local authority to give the ultimate decision on any development proposal’s suitability.

The  fact that existing property prices would likely be affected by a land raised development, would not be considered a Planning Matter.

Why are Alarm Bells not Ringing ?

pic courtesy: ostrichheadinsand.com