Any Canvey Island Resident ground down by the daily commute off of the Island, be prepared for Disappointment!
The latest attempt by a now desperate Castle Point Council, to produce a Local Plan under the close scrutiny of the Government Chief Planner, dangles the usual carrot of Highway improvements for Canvey Island within the Consultation questionnaire.
We are asked:
29a. Do you support dualling of the northern section of the A130 Canvey Way in the vicinity of Sadlers Farm?
33a. Do you support a new junction on the A130 Canvey Way to provide access to the west of Benfleet?
Beware the Sting in the Tail!
You will note at best, only Limited Carriageway Dualling of Canvey Way is aspired to, with a junction for traffic from a New and vast Housing Estate at Jotmans Farm converging with the already congested traffic leaving and heading to Canvey Island!
This short length of dualling of Canvey Way, is not a measure remotely likely to improve congestion on Canvey Way, one only has to look at the amendments at Sadlers Farm to see that. Sadlers Farm, sold as an improvement for Castle Point motorists, was intended as a “cheap” fix for the A13 / A130 transport to avoid the notorious Sadlers Farm roundabout!
The aspiration to relieve traffic congestion of Canvey Island formed part of the Transport Policies of the long out of date 1998 Castle Point Adopted Local Plan!
A130 Canvey Way dualling – Upgrading of Canvey Way to dual carriageway standard between Sadler’s Farm and Waterside Farm roundabouts and the creation of a grade separated junction at Sadlers Farm Roundabout.
Despite the proposed improvements, the Council remains concerned in respect of highway infrastructure in Castle Point, and will continue to press the Highway Authority for improvements to the strategic highway network in the Borough, and in particular for the early dualling of Canvey Way.
POLICY T1 – STRATEGIC HIGHWAY NETWORK THE COUNCIL WILL URGE THE HIGHWAY AUTHORITY TO UNDERTAKE IMPROVEMENTS TO THE STRATEGIC HIGHWAY NETWORK IN AND AROUND THE BOROUGH, INCLUDING THE DUALLING OF CANVEY WAY.
No word then of the need for a “3rd Access” to Canvey Island!
Now in the latest Local plan Consultation we are tempted with:
32a. Do you support improved access to Canvey Island?
Note, not the long touted 3rd Access route to Manor Way Thurrock, just “improved access to Canvey Island”!
So should we assume this will infer to us all supporting the “dualling of the northern section of the A130 Canvey Way”, as in Q29A above, whether we do, or do not?
Because I would suggest that the dream of a true 3rd Access Route for Canvey Island remains an aspirational wish!
We have come across paperwork of a meeting in December 2013 that makes clear, not only is a 3rd Access Unlikely and definitely Un Funded, but also unsupported by any Evidence to suggest the benefits would warrant the vast Expenditure required.
The Castle Point Regeneration Team met with the then Secretary of State Patrick Mc Loughlan.
North Thames Link Road Proposal
On the 16th December 2013 a delegation from Castle Point Borough Council took part in a meeting with Mr Patrick McLoughlan. The Secretary of State for Transport to discuss the credibility of the above proposal.
A holistic overview of the above proposal and of the submitted supporting back ground documents was sought. This has resulted in the following preliminary observations designed to promote further work into the soundness and deliverability of the Councils aspiration.
The delegation consisted of Mrs Rebecca Harris MP, high profile CPBC Officers, Local and Essex County Councillors. The agenda was to seek support for a North Thames Link Road Proposal targeted towards the regeneration at the Canvey West Marsh area of the Borough of Castle Point Council, this being an aspiration of CPBC New Local Plan.
General observations for further discussion.
1. The most fundamental omission from the Background papers is the Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners Castle Point Borough Council commissioned “Employment and Retail Needs Assessment” final Report, completed as evidence for The New Local Plan in August 2012. Nathaniel Lichfield specialise in Planning, Design and Economics and their comprehensive report concluded, amongst other things:
“That the impact of improved access to Canvey Island by linking Canvey Island and Thurrock, that it was unclear on the basis of evidence currently available whether the positive economic effect associated with this would justify the significant infrastructure cost associated with providing a new highway, particularly within the context of strained public sector funding and ongoing road improvements elsewhere in the Borough (e.g. Sadlers Farm) which should improve accessibility generally.”
This report also states:
“That it is unclear whether supply chain linkages between Canvey Island firms and London Gateway would improve significantly as a result of a more direct route.”
The report points out a significant point at 7.53. “It is also important to note that four of the demographic/housing led demands estimates result in a negative requirement for employment space in future compared with the current position. This largely reflects an ageing population, which for the modest increase in housing proposed, produced a lower number of working age residents and hence a lower demand for future jobs and employment space.
It is understood that Castle Point Council may be inclined towards a scenario based on 200 dwellings being built per annum. If this were to be the case, it would imply less employment space being needed in future and fewer local workers to support economic growth in the Borough.”
2. The significance of the failure to identify within the North Thames Link Road supporting documentation, the work undertaken for the authority by Nathaniel Lichfield has had the effect of compounding further towards a poorly informed badly evidenced appraisal.
The following points need to be considered:-
3. Did those attending the NTLR regeneration meeting, who may have had an interest, declare that interest?
4. There are long outstanding uncompleted infrastructure issues within the 1998 Local Plan, such as the duelling of Canvey Way and the completion of the Roscommon Way. Was funding for these existing issues discussed if so? What was the Ministers response?
5. Calor Gas and Oikos are incorrectly identified as refineries!
6. For the CPBC NTLR proposal to mention that redundant contaminated Brownfield sites would benefit from becoming available, is somewhat short sighted. Contaminated Sites are not very desirable due to the expense of reclamation, having the effect of limiting the economic viability opportunities
7. The reference to Canvey Way is surprising given that there is no proposal for betterment, the CPBC NTLR proposal details the limitations of this route. The mention of the DMRB Design Manual for Road and Bridge specifications opens up a huge can of worms not only for this proposal but for the New Local Plan
8. With reference to the above guidance process the application would have been expected by the Minister to have the support of a VDM viable demand model as part of the preliminary assessment procedure. This is not evident in the submission.
9. The submission relates to a previous feasibility report which noted that the construction of a road in that area was not without
significant environmental and ecological SSSI constraints. It is difficult to identify within this background report how this will be averted.
10. With reference to note 9 the estimated cost at that time of the previously proposed road was between £45 and £70m which seems conservative given todays examples. However it would seem that to finance this project through private enterprise seems to call in the issue of viability.
11. Reference to the London Gate Way Port and Business Park as if the project would benefit from the access to the North Thames Link Road presumably being able to access Canvey Way should be the most significant reason as to why this proposal should not take place. The submission identifies capacity problems at the A1014 and the Canvey Way, Sadlers Farm junctions, this factor alone negates the benefits to any future employment areas needing to use the North Thames Link Road.
12. There is no evidence that the HCA Homes and Community Agency has disposed of the West Canvey Site into the private sector nor is there any evidence that 4,000 jobs will be created for local people. The trend has been the provision for low paid local employment this tends to multiply deprivation. This factor will not support the argument for large scale market price housing development in this area.
13. The reference to the fact that 100,000 tonnes of LNG Liquid Natural Gas being stored at the Calor Gas site is dangerously misinforming the Minister. This calls into question the integrity of the whole CPBC NTLR document with regards to the reliability of its content when much of it contains unreliable poorly researched evidence.
14. To suggest that the economics of the development of Canvey Town Centre is weak and in need of the potential impetus from the implementation of the Thames growth hubs to enable the town centre redevelopment to become a reality, is a damming indictment for the deliverability of the Canvey Town Centre regeneration aspiration.
15. The non-attendance of an Emergency Planning Officer or any mention of the benefit that this project could bring to the community of Canvey Island by way of assisting in its evacuation, has not been thought worthy as an argument to support the reasoning for a third
road. It can only be concluded from this, that the possibility of a Major Industrial Accident, Surface Water Flooding, Breach and Over Topping of our sea defences (ref: Scott Wilson CPBC SFRA 2010 document ) are sound reasons why not to support further urbanisation of this part of the Borough.
16. Unfortunately the aspiration for further large scale development on the Zone 3 flood plain of Canvey Island was not previously supported within the Planning Inspectors final report following the examination of the withdrawn Core Strategy. This fact has not been recorded in the submitted Back Ground documents despite being known to many of the delegation members presenting evidence to the Minister.
17. There has been very little if any consultation undertaken either with local elected representatives or the local community with regards to this proposal. It is strongly felt locally that once again development of Canvey Island will come forward without the appropriate supporting infrastructure and proper scrutiny.
It is undisputable that Canvey Island has not benefited from the previously identified necessity of the duelling of the Canvey Way or the completion of the Roscommon Way internal linkage route.
There has been no evidence brought forward, other than in support of further unwarranted development, that the duelling of Canvey Way is not by far the best option. This factor alone will support any future major repairs to the existing Canvey Way infrastructure once completed. Should this proposal in any way resemble CPBC previously outdated Local Plan policies, it is likely that material considerations in particular the emergence of the NPPF and also new evidence, will be afforded considerable weight in the decision of soundness following the examination of the New Local Plan.