Once Upon a Time…..
There was a Vision for Canvey.
This vision was fuel injected by Ad-man and Design-man’s gobbledegook, encouraged by “our” local authority to intoxicate us simple local residents that the Vision would become a Utopian reality.
This Vision went by the title of the “Canvey Town Centre Masterplan” leading to the destination of “Canvey Comes Alive!”
Phrases used in the extensive Masterplan Report included;
“achieve coherence and a comprehensive approach to the future” – “Empower and activate the strong local community” – “Deliver exceptional and lasting quality in the streets, spaces and buildings to develop a legacy befitting Canvey”– “Create strategic gateway spaces and announce arrival into the Town Centre” – “Provide strong linkages, both visually and physically between destinations with clear instinctive wayfinding” – “Establish a unique character and identity for the Town Centre, encapsulating history and heritage in contemporary style” – “Create a pleasant, calmed Town Centre environment” – “Create gateways that are linked to the key arrival points” – “The preferred masterplan option is based on an overarching concept of creating character areas” – “A step change in the Town Centre offer”
Or as Jim Royle might have said “My A*se!”
The block of flats proposed for Foksville Road will come as no surprise to you to learn, were approved at last evening’s castle point council planning meeting.
As long ago as 2012 CPBC backed down on Canvey Island Town Centre
“As a result of the withdrawal of the Core Strategy, it is not now possible to adopt the Canvey Town Centre Masterplan as a Supplementary Planning Document. It is however possible to adopt it as supplementary guidance.”
Unfortunately Canvey residents dreams of a Regenerated Town Centre, unlike Hadleigh residents, have been blown away, possibly forever. Officers Agenda paperwork makes the concede the dream is over;
“whilst the Canvey Town Centre Master Plan is an adopted policy document it is at an embryonic stage and something of an aspirational document with limited commercial commitment. The proposals within the plan will not be delivered in the short or medium term and are unlikely to come to fruition in their current form”
So the engagement with the Consultants, Canvey residents, councillors, cpbc officers and the Canvey Traders Association alongside the expense, has come to NOWT!
The desire to see new development, Retail and Housing designed in a Dutch themed style as residents wished or in the Consultants suggested Art Deco style, will be replaced by the piecemeal pre-designed offers from the architects back catalogue!
The Canvey Comes Alive “Dream” promised us:
“A number of interesting buildings in Canvey display characteristics of Art Deco / Modernist design. It is these buildings that the community highlighted as ones to save through the masterplan, and have features with the potential to translate into exciting modern forms.
Notable buildings of the Art Deco style in Canvey include the Monico, Rio Bingo Hall and Labworth Cafe. It is features from these and other art deco styled buildings that form part of the palette for the Town Centre”
“Canvey Town Centre should have local, Borough, County, Regional and National image. It is an opportunity to provide an iconic feature for Canvey Island and Castle Point as a whole The area should be a celebration of the sea, the elements and the people who use it. The theme in this case will be based on the history of the island as a seaside destination and with strong dutch heritage, and with connections to water as a coastal estuary environment. The following are principles that will inform a future public realm strategy and will ensure that the character of Canvey is expressed through the streets and spaces.”
The agreement amongst local politicians and residents that a “Dutch” themed design would be appropriate, failed to make it to paperwork stage for some reason!
Once again, where Canvey Island is concerned, the Applicant within his proposal paperwork is able to state, unchallenged, “There are no archaeological implications arising from this development.”
And we continue, through our development committee, to be provided with “piecemeal” new development leaving Canvey with less and less identity!
“At its meeting of April 2012, the Council’s Cabinet agreed to the adoption of the Canvey Town Centre Masterplan as a Supplementary Planning Document, to be considered when making decisions on planning applications for Canvey Town Centre”* see below
“A public realm strategy is needed to set out the aspirations and conclusions and is the first step in heightening awareness for the need of a quality public realm.”
And as a tempter to induce us to believe a prestigious Town Centre was nearing commencement we were encouraged to believe:-
“An initial viability appraisal of the Retail Core has been conducted to examine the financial prospects of the proposals in current market conditions. This analysis produced favourable results. For other masterplan proposals, the prospects of delivery are generally viewed to be good, and especially if property market conditions improve.”
“Additionally, there were two consultees who thought the proposals were a waste of money generally!”
The canvey independent party wish it to be known they voted against the development.
*Later downgraded to Supplementary Guidance