Tag Archives: local plan

Castle Point Local Plan clear hints that Green Belt and Greenfield Land to be sacrificed! Household Projection and Development Delivery doubts mean it’s time for local MP’s involvement?

The Outlook is Bleak for Canvey Island and Castle Point residents, regarding the levels and locations of the raft of new development, both Housing and Business, planned for the borough!

Conversations between “informed contacts” over the Local Plan have confirmed an extremely pessimistic outlook, especially where Green Belt, safety, commuting, policing, health services and general Infrastructure is concerned!

The likely proposed Housing Need numbers will propose eating into the Green Belt and green fields. This will quite rightly raise residents concerns and focus thoughts as to whose Housing Needs are being fulfilled.

this especially following the latest Household Growth Projections being lower than previously estimated. The most recent effect of this has prompted the North Herts local authority to revisit their Housing Need projections at the behest of the Local Plan examining Inspector!

The latest housing projection figures have emerged as being significantly lower than the proposed number of homes to be built in the North Hertfordshire Local Plan, with the district council criticised for “sweeping the numbers under the carpet”. Article may be viewed HERE.

The question raised is whether the substance of the Government’s drive for 300,000 new builds per annum, is to match actual Housing Need, or to fulfil an aspiration.

In the case of the North Herts Local Plan the Inspector has suggested that the LA’s Housing target should be revisited despite the suggestion the Housing Minister, having commented on the general subject;

Kit Malthouse acknowledged the impact of this (Household Projection levels being lower), and advised plan-making authorities should not “take their foot off the accelerator”

Surely if the Policy of Green Belt and its permanence, plus other accepted physical Constraints are to have any Credibility at all, an aspirational drive for a Housing Target that is beyond Need should be challenged.

Is this not time for our MP Rebecca Harris, to not be asking and providing answers ahead of the Castle Point “Special Council” meeting, part of the rigid Government Timetable set only to avoid Intervention?

A Local Plan solely drawn up to a rigid Timetable, rather than being supported by the latest Evidence Base documentation, Risks being found Unsound!

“In July 2017, the Leaders and Chief Executives of the South Essex Authorities (Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point, Rochford, Southend-on-Sea, Thurrock and Essex County Council) initiated an approach of collaboration to develop a long-term place-based growth ambition.
South Essex Joint Strategic Plan.

It is set to deliver a minimum of 90,000 new homes and 52,000 new jobs by 2038.”

Note the date July 2018, well ahead of Household Projection changes, Castle Point leader and ceo, have fully engaged on behalf of Castle Point in this venture, that has also set Housing Figures ahead of the Household Projections, knowing full well that we will not see Highway Infrastructure improvements in the Borough.

Whilst, the 3rd quarter 2018 New House Builds numbers are 15% up on last year, much of this may be influenced by Housing Association involvement in large projects.

Housing associations are involved in a number of big London developments, including Swan Housing Association’s £300m project in Poplar with 1,500 planned homes, half of which are slated as affordable.
Developer Countryside Properties and London & Quadrant (L&Q) Housing Trust have teamed up to redevelop the former Ford factory site in Dagenham with up to 3,000 homes, half of them affordable. Housing associations also play a big part in the north-west of England, where L&Q has gone into partnership with Trafford Housing Trust in Manchester.
Full report HERE.

Castle Point appears to hold more appeal to developers of Market Priced Housing, rather than Affordable builds.

Generally speaking the target of 300,000* new builds per Annum, apart from being an unsubstantiated target, also appears to be out of reach, at least for this year. Whether this is down to the economic background, especially where the current high deposit required for a mortgage is concerned, or the doubts over the Building Industry workforce in the uncertainty over Brexit**, is concerned should not influence to great an extent, the cpbc Local Plan.

What must be considered is how will releasing Green Field land affect the Borough without improved Infrastructure first, as we were promised.

CPBC leader cllr smith said;

Any development has to have infrastructure and that is the whole point of us having control of our plan. All of these issues will be taken into account, when we put forward our plan.” “Roads and the number of homes built are being considered because if we do not do something about it now, the Government will.”

Now it appears, following feedback, there may be little gained by Castle Point Borough council avoiding Intervention!

smiff

  • More about falling short of the 300,000 target by 50,000 HERE
  • More on Brexit and Building workforce HERE

 

 

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Local Housing Need, Calculations due to change, in light of significant reduction in Numbers!

The approach to assessing Local Housing Need, in the light of the present method of Calculation resulting in Lower Housing Need numbers, is due to change.

The Government has entered a period of Consultation.

The Consultation is due to end on the 7th December, just 9 days after Castle Point Council are due to approve a draft copy of their 2018 Local Plan.

The publication of new household projections by the Office for National Statistics has led to a significant reduction in the overall numbers generated by the standard method for assessing local housing need.

This consultation sets out proposals to update planning practice guidance on housing need assessment to be consistent with increasing housing supply.

This consultation also proposes clarifications of national planning policy on:
housing land supply
the definition of deliverable
appropriate assessment

A Link to the Government Consultation can be found HERE.

Aspirations, Fairy Tales and Disappointments, the Joys of Being a Canvey Island Resident! “Good News” delivered, conveniently, ahead of Local Plan!

Canvey “Good News” Stories

Canvey Town Centre Regeneration!

Canvey Paddocks Redevelopment!

Canvey Seafront Regeneration!

It can be no coincidence that Canvey’s Paddocks, Seafront and Town Centre were the focus of the Castle Point council’s cabinet’s discussions, available to view either in  the public gallery, on cpbc webcast or read, faithfully recorded in the Echo newspaper.

Ably presented as “good news” items by our leader cllr smith and supported by words of appreciation by doting cabinet members and lead group attendees alike.

For those more gullible, let us remember that the cpbc Local Plan is due for agreement for publication ahead of consultation during an upcoming council meeting scheduled for late November!

There is no doubt that these “good news” stories will make for an uplifting “Vision for the Future” chapter to the (hopefully?) new Local Plan2018, and even form some half convincing Policies.

What were we told during October’s cabinet meeting? 

The Town Centre Regeneration, that aspired, within the 2016 withdrawn Local Plan, to;

“Increasing the proportion of local comparison spend retained within Canvey and Hadleigh Town Centres by delivering 8,350m2 of additional comparison floorspace in these locations; and Increasing the range of other economic and community activities in town centres”

Even though in the meantime cpbc have encouraged and permitted out of town centre, greenfield growth, on the Island that threatens the whole existence of our High Street and Town Centre businesses!

Canvey Seafront, reference was made within the 2016 withdrawn Local Plan to; 

” the Government’s Tourism Strategy 2011 highlights the importance of tourism to the economy and is clear that good planning policies can support growth in the tourism sector.”

” the seafront area on Canvey is in need of regeneration. Despite some investment from the public sector and redevelopment of a key piece of vacant previously developed land, the area requires further improvements to the quality of the private and public realms, and the range of leisure services on offer.  Due to the decline in these a front area, there are pressures emerging from convenience retailers to occupy units within the seafront parade. This would undermine the seafront area as a leisure and tourism destination and prevent its rejuvenation.”

The biggest regeneration of the seafront has been at the hands of local Canvey residents. Cleaning of the beaches and footpaths, decoration of the Sea Wall, supply and fitting of benches have transformed the seafront, thereby encouraging more visitors, allowing Castle Point council to identify the possibility of boosting its income from car parking charges!

Latching onto this new income stream prompted further investigation by cpbc into attempting to secure a proportion of the £40,000,000 “prize” money on offer via the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund.

Castle Point council set up a committee, naturally, to engage with Bell Phillips, architects “to undertake a master planning exercise to ensure the future vitality of Canvey Seafront.”

Whilst Canvey Island will never become a holiday resort, those days are long gone, it can hope to be a day-out attraction for many.

The problem with the seafront masterplan was that it appears to sketchy and lightweight without indicating hard evidence that employment would be created, which appears to be the main driver, reasonably enough, of the Government’s Coastal Communities funding scheme.

Perhaps cpbc identified the opportunity of securing funds that could bolster their finances whilst they planned and consulted on ideas that might slowly come to fruition.  

As cllr cole queried, how long can it take and how expensive can it be, to install some toilets at the seafront?

What more needs saying about the Paddocks?

It appears that cpbc leader cllr smith has now become a tad reticent, having driven through the cabinet decision to demolish the community’s hall, but now less willing to reveal the Actual size of new hall, costings and sources of finances (Flats or Houses?) needed to produce a new building! 

Canvey residents can store the Paddocks, Seafront and Town Centre issues, alongside those of the 3rd Access Road and Roscommon Way, as Aspirations, Fairy Tales and Disappointments perhaps.

However, these dreams will be enough to form a few policies and fill a few pages of the Castle Point Local Plan 2018 to help fool an Inspector that Canvey Island is the sustainable growth area to distribute Housing to help fulfil the Borough’s needs.

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cpbc Coastal Communities Seafront Subgroup and Bell Phillips reps.

Echo Newspaper recent coverage of these issues can be read via the Links below;

Canvey Town Centre Regeneration

Canvey Paddocks Redevelopment

Canvey Seafront Regeneration

Photograph: Castle Point Borough Council

 

 

A Housing Gift Horse, Golf Course! Mainlanders can breath a sigh of Relief? Canvey Island to be flooded with a Sea of Concrete?

Following the Castle Point Golf Club (Canvey Island) operators issuing a message on social media, see below, the possibility for EVEN more Housing to be allocated to Canvey Island, through the Local Plan2018, becomes a distinct possibility!

The Golf Course, indicated as being within the Green Belt, has previously been mooted as yet another area that developers would like to see allocated for Housing. Despite it being next to the environmentally and ecologically sensitive Benfleet Creek area, and of course close by to one of the parts of the Sea Defence likely to be over-topped by Tidal Flood water!

The CPBC Local Plan2018 Technical Evidence summary document states only;

Golf courses
5.8 Both golfing facilities in the borough should be supported to ensure that sites are able to retain current members and users as well as, whereas appropriate, assisting them in capitalising on any untapped demand plus future demand generated from housing growth and population increases.

The possibility of the Golf Course capitalising on Housing Growth in other ways, had “apparently” not occurred to cpbc officers nor members.

Let the same business argument used by the owners of the King Canute and the Admiral Jellicoe public houses, of if the business and property are not viable, then other uses must be found, be a Warning!

Yet another Blot on the Canvey Island landscape beckons?

Golf Course

 

Dancing Queen? “PLEASE RELEASE ME” by Englebert Humperdink would have been more Appropriate, where Green Belt protection is concerned!

The morning following PM Teresa May’s Conservative Party Conference speech and her “dancing” onto the stage to the ABBA tune Dancing Queen, alarming figures regarding the Loss of Green Belt Land were released by the Telegraph!

So alarming that a far more appropriate song to take to the stage to would have been Englebert Humperdink’s “Please Release Me”!

Such is the level of Green Belt released for development during the last year, 12,000 Acres, we are at a loss to explain what the Government, Local Authorities and Developers now consider to be “Very Special Circumstances”!

GB Loss

T.May“Opportunity” for Developers some might suggest.

Certainly Nothing to make a Song and Dance About!

 

Info flagged up by: Basildon Residents Against Inappropriate Development (Dunton Garden Suburb)

Photo Credit: Guardian

Castle Point Local Plan, who is Playing whom? Time for a little more Openess and Transparency?

Castle Point Local Plan has been, and remains a Mess!

During March 2018, in Parliament regarding CPBC and the apparent need to Intervene in the Castle Point council Local Plan process, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government announced;

“In three areas, Castle Point, Thanet and Wirral, I am now particularly concerned at the consistent failure and lack of progress to get a plan in place and have not been persuaded by the exceptional circumstances set out by the Council or the proposals they have put forward to get a plan in place. We will therefore step up the intervention process in these three areas. I will be sending in a team of planning experts, led by the Government’s Chief Planner, into these three areas to advise me on the next steps in my intervention.
I have a number of intervention options available to me which I will now actively examine. As it may prove necessary to take over plan production, subject to decisions taken after the expert advice I have commissioned, my Department has started the procurement process to secure planning consultants and specialists to undertake that work so it can commence as quickly as possible.”

Given the apparent strait jacket position that the Government have clamped council members into, as they strive to avoid Intervention and handing the cpbc Local plan over to our less than sympathetic neighbours to produce for us, it could be expected that the Government’s hands would be more than spotless.

But no, complications have arisen by the admittance that the Office of National Statistics (ONS) have found fault with the methodology of predicting Household Projection numbers and Population estimates.

Andrew Lainton on his Decisions Blog suggests;

“And now what will happen till at least March 2019, nothing, no one in their right mind will consult or submit, a local plan or JSP.”

Well, Castle Point are threatened with the wrath of the Secretary of State Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MCHLG), should the Gov. Chief Planner find that cpbc are falling behind with the Local Plan timetable!

As recently as the 19th September the cpbc chief executive gave stern warning;

4.5 Ministry officials and their consultants visited the Borough Council in May to complete a “diagnostic check” of the position with local plan work. As a consequence of that visit and subsequent advice Castle Point Borough Council agreed a new Local Development Scheme (LDS) in June 2018, committing the Council to the preparation of a new Local Plan for the Borough on an accelerated timetable, as well as continuing to support the preparation of the JSP.

4.6 The accelerated timetable described in the LDS committed the Council to a Regulation 18 consultation in July and August, which has now been completed. Publication of the Local Plan for Regulation 19 purposes will take place in January 2019.

4.8 Whilst the Borough Council is on course to meet the milestones in the LDS, as discussed with the Ministry, it is at this stage timely to draw the Cabinet’s attention to the potential consequences should there be any deviation from those milestones or the agreed programme.

5.1 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.

The Castle Point Local Development Scheme (LDS) stipulates the tight timetable to comply with the SoS’ Intervention requirements requires the cpbc Local Plan to be published by January 2019!

AND YET:

Andrew Lainton stated;

“And now what will happen till at least March 2019, nothing, no one in their right mind will consult or submit, a local plan or JSP.”

Perhaps in the light of the Chinese Whispers that are going around the mainland, regarding secret Local Plan meetings at Castle Point council, a little Openess and Transparency is Long Overdue from officers and councillors as to where they are with OUR Local Plan 2018 and whether the recent Household Projection and Population revelations will affect the cpbc LDS timetable and the Local Plan’s Objectively Assessed Housing Needs!

Councillors, officers feel free to Update your Residents!

Bewildered PIC

 

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.
maco