Tag Archives: Local Plan 2018

Castle Point Borough Council, the Authority that uses Canvey Island Flood Risk as a Constraint to Limit Housing Growth, across the Whole Borough!

Canvey Island residents lay claim that they are treated unfairly by Castle Point Council. In turn CPBC claim they are being treated unfairly by the Government, by being threatened with Intervention due to their Tardiness with producing a Local Plan!

Apparent outrage from the CPBC leader and chief executive, at those Councillors brave enough to Reject the draft Local Plan, did not disguise the fact that the emerging Plan deserved closer Scrutiny and Challenge from Councillors, than those Reasons given for their votes of Rejection during the December Council Meeting.

Whether the Failure of the Local Plan 2018 is due to CPBC Incompetence, or whether some perceived levels of Immorality, or political corruption, is involved in the selection of the Canvey Island Green Belt sites for Housing Development, especially in the approach to the application of the Sustainability Tests involved, we leave the Reader to decide.

As you are probably aware, the whole of Canvey Island is regarded as being in Flood Zone 3a. Housing in this Zone is considered as being Vulnerable development.

The whole of Canvey Island is also considered to be a Critical Drainage Area.

For ease and to avoid confusion wording highlighted in Blue are those of CPBC whilst wording in Red is official Government Guidance.

The Castle Point Local Plan 2018 version at Paragraph 17.4 states “planning policies should take a proactive approach to mitigating and adapting to climate change, taking into account the long-term implications for flood risk, coastal change, water supply, biodiversity and landscapes and policies should support appropriate measures to ensure the future resilience of communities and infrastructure to climate change impacts”

Typically though, of CPBC, and despite their Officers and some members,  insisting that the NPPF should be “Read as a Whole”, the Local Plan 2018 version Craftily fails to include the final, and most Important part of the NPPF text of the above Paragraph 17.4.

That is; “ , such as providing space for physical protection measures, or making provision for the possible future relocation of vulnerable development and infrastructure.

CPBC Sequential Test Page 2

This Local Plan Evidence document almost immediately sets out to justify, carte blanche, large scale Housing development on Canvey Island.

Bear in mind that Housing and Residential care Homes are considered to be a “More Vulnerable” uses of Land in Canvey Island a Flood Zone 3a area.

“The NPPF recognises that following the application of the sequential test, it is not always possible, consistent with wider objectives, for certain development proposals/requirements to be located in lower ‘flood risk zones’. It therefore also sets out a test that needs to be passed if certain types of development are to be exceptionally allocated in a local plan”

Exception Test

All of the Canvey Island Housing Sites are considered by CPBC to Pass the Exception Test, “This site has significant positive impacts related to the sustainability objective concerning the provision of housing, including affordable housing.”

Affordable Housing being considered practically Unviable on all Housing Development Sites, even those not requiring the Surface Water Management measures, and Sustainable Urban Drainage schemes, and Raised Floor Levels that are now required on Canvey Island.

Additionally the CPBC Sequential Test found that, NONE of the 9 Housing Development Sites allocated for Canvey Island is considered to be “Within a Potential Surface Water Flooding Hotspot”, whilst 4 of the Mainland Housing Sites were within a potential flooding Hotspot !

Clearly the evidence found in the Reports, on the Canvey Island Summer Flooding 2014 and 2013, has been discounted, ignored and will be hidden from the Government Chief Planner and Planning Inspector examining the Next CPBC Local Plan!

Groundwater Flooding

“All the deliverable and developable sites assessed in terms of their risk of groundwater flooding were found to be appropriate for development, at least in this respect.”

We would ask CPBC “what Tests and Reports  were their Assessments based on?”

Once again only certain Mainland Sites were considered to be “Within an Area Susceptible to Groundwater Flooding”, NONE of the Canvey Island Sites allocated for Housing Development were considered to be affected!

This goes Against common local knowledge AND written evidenced Reports to be found on CPBC’s own website!

Recommendations

“Subject to other considerations, it is recommended that when selecting sites for development in the New Local Plan, preference is given to those sites within the highest preference ranking groups over those in lower groups. This will reduce the exposure of new development to flood risk.

It is recommended that housing sites on Canvey are only allocated as a means of providing flexibility to the housing land supply. If sites on Canvey are included within the New Local Plan, a sequential phasing requirement should be applied within their allocation policy to ensure other sequentially preferable allocated sites are brought forward first. Additionally, requirements in the allocations policies should include the provision of flood resistant and resilient design.”

Quite clearly the Housing Development Site Allocation process, of Castle Point Borough Council, applies considerably more Weight on Green Belt protection over that of Flood Risk. The local authority Actively Chooses to adopt this approach despite some sites on Canvey Island being both Green Belt, within a 3a Flood Risk Zone and a Critical Drainage Area!

Government Guidance in the NPPF continues to point out;

“11. Plans and decisions should apply a presumption in favour of sustainable development.

 For plan-making this means that:

b) strategic policies should, as a minimum, provide for objectively assessed needs for housing and other uses, as well as any needs that cannot be met within neighbouring areas, unless:

i. the application of policies in this Framework that protect areas or assets of particular importance provides a strong reason for restricting the overall scale, type or distribution of development in the plan area, see Footnote 6

Footnote 6 The policies referred to are those in this Framework (rather than those in development plans) relating to: habitats sites (and those sites listed in paragraph 176) and/or designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest; land designated as Green Belt, Local Green Space, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a National Park (or within the Broads Authority) or defined as Heritage Coast; irreplaceable habitats; designated heritage assets (and other heritage assets of archaeological interest referred to in footnote 63); and areas at risk of flooding or coastal change.”

“Incompetence”, perceived “Political Immorality”, or a “Corruption of Facts”, you decide, if not the Examining Planning Inspector most certainly will!

Canvey_060309_1

Canvey Island, densely urbanised yet always room for more!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jotmans Lane Tank.JPG.gallery

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Government have abolished top-down regional planning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Mayor was then instructed to close the Meeting!

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

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

16. VOTING

16.1 Majority

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

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

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

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

smiff

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!

 

Major Shock! Castle Point gives it’s verdict – Green Belt Not Expendable at any cost and CPBC Not Trusted where Sequentially Testing Flood Risk sites concerned! Local Plan Intervention a Definite?

The meeting to consider the future moves of the CPBC Local Plan 2018 produced a major surprise Vote this evening.

The council chamber and atrium were packed, standing room only.

The chief executive, leader and deputy all warned that a vote against would mean instant Intervention by the Government Inspector via a phone call Thursday morning!

Intervention, they all said, would lead to an increase in Housing numbers, more intensive development, flats etc and more loss of Green Belt.

Councillors spoke on how they were to respond. The majority of speakers appeared to back the Local Plan before them.

However a major surprise, given that 2 CIIP members were absent and cllr Dick was taken ill during the meeting, came about when the vote went 16 – 14 against passing the Plan!

So good was the vote that council officers insisted on holding it twice!

With the same result.

The CIIP members All voted Against.

Of the Canvey Tory members cllr Blissett voted Against, whilst cllr mumford was the sole Canvey representative in Favour.

Now we must wait to see the next steps. If the Government team do allow more time to adjust the Local Plan, or whether Intervention is administered immediately, as was threatened, a case can be put forward for the leadership of the council and the senior officers to either resign or retire.

They have led this Borough into near disrepute, putting Green Belt and areas at Risk of Flooding or Hazardous incident at risk of development, chiefly by failing the Duty to Cooperate with our neighbouring councils!

Residents, not being allowed voice to speak on the night, whole heartedly rendered a:-
Baroness_Trumpington_2011

to the CPBC Leadership and senior officers.

Residents from the south of the Borough particularly, including Canvey and Jotmans Farm must accept a neutral, non political Local Plan, which we hope the Intervention team will produce.

Whether other residents and councillors in the Borough are content with thatwe shall soon see.

Baroness Trumpington 1922 – 2018

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!

Canvey Island in the lap of the Gods, otherwise known as Castle Point Council Leader and CEO! Better for CPBC to Control the Destiny of Canvey Green Belt, or the Government Chief Planner?

Canvey Island and Castle Point residents should be concerned to know that in exactly 4 weeks time, to the day, we will learn whether the desperate attempts by our councillors, and professional officers, to avoid Government Intervention over the debacle of the cpbc Local Plan has been worthwhile.

We were told that Intervention, “Takes away the ability for us (cpbc) to control the destiny of land in the Borough for our residents”

Previously in the Local Plan process Canvey Island was the ONLY area within the Borough that these, mainly, same councillors could agree to the release of Green Belt land for development, during the whole Plan period!

Obviously the Inspector rejected this idea, stating quite clearly “some development at Canvey Island may be required to meet local need”.

Plain to see then, that the level of land needed for Housing Development on Canvey Island, did NOT require the release of Green Belt!

BUT NO, cpbc chief executive, in his infinite wisdom, thought the opposite, and further proposed that, Canvey Island Green Belt, should remain the single area forming the nucleus of the Green Belt Housing Growth in the Borough’s Local Plan, whilst adding the mainland Green Belt sites for the 2014 version.

This belying the Inspector’s clear intentions, contained within his critical letter, addressed to cpbc Head of Regeneration & Neighbourhoods, strongly suggesting the Withdrawal of the Core Strategy plan!

Canvey Green Belt was only removed, gratefully, from the 2016 version of the cpbc Local Plan’s Housing growth sites, to add support to the politically driven protection granted to, selected sites identified as, “virgin” Green Belt land.

Now we have just 4 weeks to wait to learn how, and why, the Local Plan process, is better in the hands of our local councillors, rather than the government Intervention team.

In CPBC’s own words; “the Secretary of State wrote again to the Borough Council in March 2018, indicating that he was minded to continue with intervention since there was no clear timetable for preparing and adopting a local plan for the Borough.”

“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.
Members of the Council will not be involved and will be excluded from the plan making process.
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.”

“As one of the very few planning authorities under intense scrutiny by MHCLG, (ministry of housing community and local government,) the Council remains at great risk of intervention and this will lead to considerable reputational damage on a national scale. This may cause other non-intended consequences such as the inability to attract staff”

The mood of Residents, particularly mainlanders, suggest that only if substantial Green Belt is protected from development, will it have been worthwhile staving off Intervention.

Canvey Residents can be sure that the extra Constraints that should have been applied to Canvey Island in isolation, would ONLY have been applied correctly by Government officials. History has proven that lead group councillors, in collusion with certain officers, have only sought to use these Canvey Constraints, to lower the OVERALL Housing Supply figures ACROSS of the whole Castle Point area!

In effect cementing the lead group’s controlling status quo in the follow up local election by quelling the mainland unrest by removing the contentious Green Belt sites from the 2016 local plan.

Look also at similar protectionist decision-making at Brentwood council, with their plan to develop a Garden Village at Dunton.

Note also the effects the Brentwood plans will have on Castle Point residents, with the amount of proposed housing development alongside the main A127 commuter route adding to the Basildon planned development.

Divided by the A127, Dunton Hills Garden Village will have little or no impact upon Brentwood. Those of us living south of the A127, especially in Castle Point and Basildon, will bear the brunt of the strain on infrastructure and commuting issues.

Dunton Hills Garden Village, which Brentwood Borough Council says could initially deliver about 2,500 homes, with the potential for another 1,500, has come under the most fierce criticism from Thurrock Council, that along with Basildon, borders the borough close to where the development would be built on 260 hectares of land south of the A127. *
Brentwood Borough Council is meeting on Thursday, November 8, at the Brentwood Centre to discuss the next stage of the borough’s Local Plan – principally how and where to cater for the 7,752 new homes the borough needs to find between 2016 and 2033. (yourthurrock.com)
*wasn’t we informed by cpbc that in the case of a Garden Village proposal at the Blinking Owl site, North Thundersley, that 8,000 dwellings would be needed to make the installation of infrastructure financially viable?

Look at these statistics, area, population etc and judge whether there is a balance of growth distribution across ours and Brentwood boroughs.

Brentwood: Area: 153.1 km², Population 73,600 (2011). 7,752 new homes.
Castle Point: Area 45.08 km, Population 88,011 (2011). new homes tbd (see below)

The expectation, is for cpbc to capitulate to the Government Chief Planner, and reintroduce the 2014 daft Local Plan with these implications for us;

The council has identified 13 locations for housing development, with 4,000 more homes required in the period to 2031 to meet growing demands of our community. This means around 200 new homes a year would be built across the whole borough. Without the plan, it is feared that there would have to be at least 7,000 more homes.

Don’t forget that the cpbc lead group and some independent councillors, agreed this daft Plan. Only under the threat of a Mainland residents backlash at the Polling Station, was this Plan rejected!

Below are Maps of the Brentwood and Thurrock boroughs, the implications on Canvey Island and Castle Point, by the population and Industrial growths of these two neighbouring areas, can be easily imagined if complimented by similar growth in Castle Point!

What of cpbc leader’s promise of infrastructure before development? With growth in the neighbouring areas and no realistic likelihood of Highway improvements, new access to Canvey, dualling of Canvey Way, Somnes Avenue widening, Roscommon Way completion etc, the likely announcement of many large developments sites bodes ill for Canvey Island!

Castle Point Residents will be eager to learn, the benefits of “control of the destiny of land in the Borough for our residents”, over the dreaded Government Intervention!

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Canvey Island’s Last Chance, Benfleet residents dictating the Development and Future Plan of Castle Point!

The Canvey Island pages on Facebook and Social Media will likely soon be red hot with the impact of what the CPBC Local Plan proposes. Increased Traffic Congestion, loss of Green Spaces and over subscribed medical facilities will give us all something to rage about!

Why then does it appear that Canvey Residents are shy of making their views known to the Council ahead of these decisions being made?

With a potential 342 new dwellings being planned for across Castle Point, you can bet a large majority will be built on Canvey and the southern part of the mainland!

Do we believe our voice will not be heard, or our views won’t be considered, or simply that Canvey folk are disengaged from Castle Point Council?

Why is there little press coverage and information, why are CPBC, with their own social media outlets silent instead of encouraging engagement?

With just a week to go, looking at the opening pages of the Local Plan Consultation website Portal, it is clear that Benfleet Folk, understandably concerned for their own environment, are up for the Battle!

There appear far more responses from the mainland than Canvey.

Many, not all, are objecting to all of the mainland proposed development, leaving Canvey Island development sites exposed, due to low objections from the Canvey Community! The Consultation is simply a tick box exercise with a space to add comments, the only tricky part may be registering to comment!

The Link to the CPBC Local Plan Consultation can be found HERE.

Where your first step is to look for the self explanatory line that reads; “In order to complete this form you must first log in or register if you have not yet done so already.”

Your view is important. So far entries do not bode well, the balance needs addressing!

Here are just a few entries on the Consultation:

WM Morrisons (Supermarkets) the “triangle” site (Canvey Road) should be identified as a housing allocation….
PLUS the football pitches to the east of the Morrisons Store on Canvey Island, and owned by Morrisons……. The inclusion of the site as employment land would also provide a valuable addition to the Charfleets Industrial Estate.

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Inner London Group seeks the enlargement of the land area allocated under Policy E4 (Extension to Charfleets Industrial Estate) to include contiguous land to the east of the existing allocation,bounded by the extension to Roscommon Way to the north and Haven Road to the east

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OIKOS (OSL) “As has been explained by OSL in its representation on policy T2, delivering this extension of Roscommon Way would require land which the current landowners and lessees (OSL) do not wish to give. For this and other reasons explained, the Roscommon Way extension is not considered to be realistic or deliverable.”

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Basildon Borough Council “raises questions regarding Castle Point’s land capacity for housing. The 2013 Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) identifies that Castle Point has capacity for around 7,300 homes.”

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Southend Borough Council conclude: “Further the approach taken in preparing the Plan does not fully meet the requirements of the duty to co-operate as outlined in the Localism Act 2011 and the NPPF.”

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Photo Courtesy: canveycomesalive