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