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!