Tag Archives: Nathaniel Lichfield

Opportunity Knocks for Canvey Island, whilst Castle Point mainland left Neglected again?

Lucky Canvey Island appears to be at the Opportunity End of Industrial Employment Opportunities!

Planning to Neglect the mainland part of Castle Point in favour of Canvey Island, despite consultants challenging evidence, cpbc look intent on giving the green light to employment planning proposals for large scale development.

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An investment opportunity

This should be seen as a Good News Story not only for the employment opportunity but also the status quo protection of land on the mainland.

The cpbc Annual Monitoring current report indicates Extant permissions for Industrial growth proposals distributed across the Borough thus;

Canvey Island: 45,724 square Metres

Mainland: 3,380 square Metres

Admittedly this may mean a loss of open green space.

Signs so far also indicate that with cpbc promising a high end retail element of take up, minimum wage employment and high traffic usage by deliveries and visitors causing some air pollution and road congestion, may result.

However cpbc must be commended for their bravery in insisting that Canvey Island is the place to develop!

This in the face of their consultants guidance and recommendations;

The main supply of industrial sites is in Canvey Island, away from strategic roads and the areas of stronger demand. Castle Point also has very limited provision for small, start-up businesses compared with adjoining boroughs.

….around 72% of the employment land area is located within the Canvey Island area, with some 27% in Thundersley, and less than 1% within the South Benfleet and Hadleigh urban areas.

Over 90% of the borough’s allocated employment land is in Canvey Island with limited supply elsewhere to meet future demand. The Borough’s two allocated sites South of Northwick Road and Roscommon Way appear reasonably suited to meet future needs although their proximity to the Thames estuary, relative remoteness and potential drainage issues may deter development.

….there may be a qualitative need for some more sites that are readily available and better located to strategic roads and population centres in the north of the Borough.   Such sites might also have better prospects of attracting developers.

It would appear difficult to achieve any sizeable reduction in out-commuting in Castle Point. However, various approaches could help avoid the situation worsening These would include providing some more immediately available industrial sites in the north of the borough, near strategic roads.

….it is not obvious that a new road access to Canvey Island could enable the area to benefit to a much greater extent from the major port and distribution development at London Gateway in Thurrock.  The cost of such infrastructure would also need to be weighed against the scale of economic benefits likely to accrue to Canvey Island, and the extent of these do not appear likely to be major.

The main supply of industrial sites is in Canvey Island, which is away from strategic roads and the areas of stronger demand.

It would appear difficult to achieve any sizeable reduction in out-commuting in Castle Point. However, various approaches could help avoid the situation worsening…. These would include providing some more immediately available industrial sites in the north of the borough, near strategic roads

 

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Further Canvey Green Belt offered to developers, highlights Flood Issues!

Monday evening 19th May the Canvey Town Council Planning Committee met and considered the renewal of Outline planning permission for a large tract of Green Belt employment land south of Northwick Road opposite Morrisons.

The original application was granted approval back in March 2002, and remains undeveloped in Outline planning stage!

An investment opportunity

An investment opportunity

Despite there already being large tracts of Green belt land allocated, but as yet undeveloped, for “business” purposes in the west Canvey area, a further proposal is awaiting consideration by Castle Point Council development committee.
14/0707/OUT is Land South of Roscommon Way, Canvey Island.
Like others parcels of Canvey land before it, the Green Belt in this area is seen as speculative opportunity.
Obviously, to support a Local Plan, the opportunity to allocate land for employment use will appear opportune, whether the land is developed within the Local Plan period or simply land banked for further speculative purpose.

After all, land allocated for business development, should eventually the local economy dictate a site surplus to requirements, can always revert to Housing Development.

A very useful status to fall back on, I think you would agree!

Current rear of Charfleets

Current rear of Charfleets

This blog has previously referred to the CPBC commissioned Employment and Retail Needs Assessment document included as part of the Local Plan Evidence Base. This is one of many commissioned documents our local councillors and officers appear to prefer not to refer to.
The report considers;

“Of the sites assessed through this study, around 72% of the employment land area is located within the Canvey Island area, with some 27% in Thundersley, and less than 1% within the South Benfleet and Hadleigh urban areas.”
“The Borough’s two allocated sites South of Northwick Road and Roscommon Way appear reasonably suited to meet future needs although their proximity to the Thames estuary, relative remoteness and potential drainage issues may deter development.
Over 90% of the borough’s allocated employment land is in Canvey Island with limited supply elsewhere to meet future demand.”
“Despite this surplus (of allocated land), there may be a qualitative need for some more sites that are readily available and better located to strategic roads and population centres in the north of the Borough. Such sites might also have better prospects of attracting developers.” “One or two sites of up to 5 ha in combined area may be adequate.”
“A specific issue considered was how the borough could achieve economic growth even if the Council plans for a modest rate of housing growth (e.g. 200 dwellings p.a.). This approach would result in a future decline in local labour supply and may constrain growth of local firms.”

Many of the existing units at Charfleets are taken by retail outlets that would under different circumstances be better suited to be located in the Town Centre, making that more vibrant!
So it appears these development applications may be the wrong proposal at the wrong time in the wrong area! But locally with the existing “Local Factors” the location serves a purpose!
However the proposal for the Land South of Charfleets has fortunately drawn focus upon existing Flood Risk issues.
Both the Environment Agency and the Lead Local Flood Authority, Essex County Council have issued “Holding Objections” against the proposal.
It appears the inexpensive, regardless of side effects, proposed method of overcoming flood risk is Land raising.

The Environment Agency draw attention to the raised levels of flood risk caused by the proposed development and interestingly point out that whilst “Paragraphs 100, 102 and 103 of the NPPF do not discuss impacts in terms of property only; all 3 paragraphs state there should be no increase in flood risk “elsewhere”. Therefore it is irrelevant that some of this land is undeveloped. The proposal to raise land for development means that the proposed “less vulnerable” development will increase residual risk for the existing “more vulnerable” development on Canvey.”
The EA submission goes onto state that they consider there is an onsite Residual risk of Tidal Flooding and refer to Canvey being at Actual Risk of fluvial flooding.

The Canvey Green Belt Campaign have an issue with Land Raising as a principle means of on-site drainage.

Not only does this increase the potential of off site flooding but more importantly, has the potential to blight the value of residential properties on Canvey Island that are set at normal ground level.

Potential house and business purchasers will immediately realise an issue regarding potential flooding when they notice some developments set higher than ground level.

Castle Point Borough Council have failed to debate the issue.

It appears re-miss of our Canvey Island Town Councillors to not address this issue, on behalf of existing residents, and adopt their own Policy on Land Raising before it becomes the standard economic approach to development!

Food for thought for our Town and Borough councillors.

Industrial decline planned for Canvey Island’s Green Belt and landscape!

Emerging from the Castle Point Council draft Local Plan consultation is a proposal to further erode Canvey Island’s Green Belt.       

The proposal is to extend business premises off the back of Charfleets.

We understand that employment opportunities are valued, but this appears to be further to the promised “Business Park,” yet to show any signs of commencement.

 The new proposal is for a site 8 Hectares in size spanning North and South of Roscommon Way, of which:

6,300 sq metres will be for B1 Business use, 12,000 sq metres B2 General Industrial use, 6,300 square metres B8 Storage including open air storage, plus 700 sq metres A3 Food and Drink.

 Hardly the best use of Green Belt land!

 Given the poor economic climate, the issues with the slow regeneration of Canvey Town Centre, the stalled expansion at Morrison’s and, as mentioned, the stalled business park, also on Green Belt, this appears another case of land banking, with developers striking whilst the local authority are vulnerable, and the Borough’s land owners hoping to cash in.                              

Castle Point Council planners, in their paperwork, recognise:            

“The Application site is allocated within the extant and emerging Local Plans for employment. The site is designated within the Local Plan(s) as comprising the Canvey Village Marsh Local Wildlife Site comprising old grazing marsh, representing a scarce and declining habitat within Essex. The application site is also within proximity to the Canvey Wick SSSI and Brickhouse Farm Marsh Local Wildlife Site.”

 

 What you might call “Environmentally Sensitive” then!

 CPBC goes onto consider that:

 “There is no evidence that traffic attending the site could not be accommodated within the existing highway network; although some congestion may occur until such time as the Roscommon route is completed through to Thorney Bay Road.”

 The minimum requirement should this industrial development of Green Belt land come into fruition must be funding for the completion of Roscommon Way, making it a “Road to Somewhere!”

 Furthermore an examination of the viability of the new North Thames Link Road (NTLR), Canvey to Thurrock, should be conducted.

If this new NTLR is to be part of the infrastructure within the new Local Plan, Castle Point planners should not be making comments as though the road is totally un-necessary “There is no evidence that traffic attending the site could not be accommodated within the existing highway network”!

If the NTLR is purely aspirational then we the Canvey Green Belt Campaign can feel vindicated when we first cast doubt on the likelihood of it becoming a reality in an article here.

If Canvey’s Green Belt is to be subjected to two further business / industrial developments, the North Thames Link Road will need to be more than just political manouvering and made subject to conditions that provide funding from the two developers, otherwise more than “some congestion on the existing highway network” will be occurring!