Tag Archives: Pegasus

Canvey Island Nimbyism? RTPI attack on Ageism amounts to Stereotyping – who else to “Watch this Space”?

Protest against Green Belt development in Castle Point, is definitely not the sole domain of Canvey Islanders.

Whilst we feel we have more to protest about than most, despite being considered to be “not living in the Real World”, even by some of our own representatives, it cannot be argued that issues facing Canvey Island are not unique.

Whether it be the fact Canvey Island is the most densely urbanised part of the Borough, the removal of Canvey’s Rapid Response Vehicle, the 3rd access Road saga, the broken drainage system, the Roscommon Way Racers, lack of street lighting on unadopted roads, or living alongside 2 major Hazardous Industrial sites, concerned Canvey residents are often greeted with a “them again?” luke-warm welcome!

But that is not to exclude our mainland neighbours who are equally willing to object against planning issues where Green Belt and other supposedly worthy development proposals are concerned.

Now it appears it has been recognised that the majority of those willing to get involved in the planning process are of a certain age group.

“Currently, the majority of those who engage in planning are over 55 years. Response rates to a typical pre-planning consultation are around 3% of those directly made aware of it. In Local Plan consultations, this figure can fall to less than 1% of the population of a district. Yet planning decisions are based upon this sample.
Well-managed consultations start early, seek a more balanced engagement and encourage the ‘strategic’ thinkers to engage, but they too frequently fail to engage with the younger age groups – yet we are planning their future. What other organisation would base important decisions on this level of response without checking to see if it was ‘representative’. Yet this is what happens in planning decisions.”

So says Sue Manns, the Regional Director of national planning consultancy Pegasus Group, in an article for the Royal Town Planning Institute. Pegasus being the planning group involved in the Jotmans Farm development Inquiry.

The article appears to suggest that through the lack of engagement with a “younger” consultee audience, modern development plans struggle to be adopted through the objections from those more senior amongst us residents.

“We need to start a nationwide conversation around the spatial impacts of technology change, embrace young and dynamic thinkers and those who see change as exciting, and let’s rebalance the objection-driven engagement culture which has dominated planning over the past 50 years.”

Whilst Canvey residents may not be considered by cpbc, and perhaps Sue Manns, to be dynamic thinkers, they would be wrong in their assumption to consider us as not recognising change when it is exciting, as long as it is realistic!

The cpbc promise of the grandly titled “Canvey Island Town Centre Regeneration Masterplan” is a case in point. Unfortunately scepticism was well founded, as the lack of tangible progress alongside the failure to incorporate the proposed Dutch / seaside architectural features into new proposals, has led to blandly designed and cramped Flatted and Retail developments to pass approval!

 

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Building materials to reflect the overall palette, drawing on the Dutch, Coastal Town and Art Deco influences to create a scheme with a unique identity.
Colours should be vibrant to establish the new retail area as a destination. Shop front improvements along Furtherwick Road should be designed with the distinctive features of an English Seaside Town.

With prose being used, similar to that above, to encourage support for aspirational design schemes, it is hardly any wonder that Sue Manns has identified a failure of the industry to engage with a younger audience in planning consultations. The lack of younger generation involvement may be true, but that is not a reason to support the thought that adult and senior views should be ignored simply to support any particular development plan that may indeed, not be suitable for a particular area.

We on Canvey Island have seen the value of “local knowledge” within the Plan making process!

When the 2009 cpbc Core Strategy attempt at a local plan was published the Canvey Green Belt Campaign, through “local knowledge” recognised the attempt to mislead the Examining Inspector with its “inappropriate housing site selection” policies, which “commits to Green Belt release in an area of potential high flood risk”, as well as it being obvious he would not be “convinced that maintaining the current distribution of development across the Borough is justified given the existing constraints”.

This despite cpbc officers being party to the clear intent of the mainland lead group to allow themselves to be influenced by, and produce a local plan driven by, what the Inspector politely described as “Local Factors”!

In this light, of course we HAD to get involved, despite being within the age bracket that Sue Manns and her planner colleagues have an issue with!

Committing to attending a 2 week Examination following production of a lengthy consultation submission is not achievable by all, however when your own local authority have schemed and approved such a discreditable document, it must be challenged and exposed for what it was. Not everybody is in a position, or willing to commit to taking part in plan making process, as it bound to require taking unpaid leave or using holiday periods. Something those with young families for instance may be unwilling or unable to commit to.

Perhaps Planners and developers would prefer that no residents, whatever age bracket they fall into, take part in the planning process? One thing we did find was that the Examining Inspectors appear to welcome local input!

The feedback from our Referendum equally challenged Sue Mann’s assumption that a younger demographic would automatically give the different response that she and her  planner colleagues would hope for, by achieving “a more balanced engagement and encourage the ‘strategic’ thinkers”.

Castle Point council gave evidence, indeed if it can be considered of value, that they extended their consultation to specifically target established groups of youngsters as part of the Core Strategy consultation.

What the Canvey Green Belt Campaign witnessed however, was perfectly clear. By calling on residents at their homes and putting to them our Referendum question, it was absolutely clear, that the loss of yet more Canvey Green Space to the Borough’s Housing Need was indisputably opposed across generations!

Planners may begin to achieve the respect they crave if they were more driven by an local area’s actual needs. Aspirational architectural computer imagery with green spaces screening dense urbanisation deceive nobody.

Equally the promises of Affordable Homes, later challenged as being unviable, is a deception we are getting more and more familiar with, especially in the light of Green Belt release and sky high housing prices.

RTPI and Sue Manns, nice try, but must try harder!

ps Lets not feel too much sympathy for the industry: “The chief executive of housebuilder Persimmon has insisted he deserves his £110m bonus because he has “worked very hard” to reinvigorate the housing market.” (Guardian)

A link to the Canvey Island Town Centre Regeneration Masterplan can be found HERE.

The full blog post by Sue Manns can be found via this LINK.

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Canvey Dutch Village, Green Belt development back on the Scene!

For those Canvey residents that believe either the CPBC Local Plan consultation is not worth bothering about or that Large Development has gone away, you should be aware that our local council officers and Persimmons have been very busy behind the scenes working on the next Big Spanner in the Works in the Local Plan process!

Whether our “professional” officers should be spending time at our expense continuing to work on planning issues that, at least at present, appear to be clearly outside of the Local Plan 2016 proposals and Planning Guidance, is open to conjecture.

Those that believe a Neigbourhood Plan is too expensive, hard work and time consuming may have also missed an opportunity to have planned for Canvey’s future.

So whilst the Local plan 2016 may show just 760 new dwellings planned for Canvey, let us not forget those other flats and houses on the many small sites across the Island, PLUS whatever other plans that Developers, certain councillors and officers have for our Green Spaces, Plus the two large Industrial developments!

Those that believe the traffic issues have been bad these last few weeks, may need to think again.

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This email was added to the CPBC Planning Portal this week. It indicates that Persimmon have ditched Pegasus as Agents and have taken the East of Canvey Road, Dutch Village 275 dwelling project, back in-house!

From: Woodger, Mark

Sent: 7 Jun 2016 14:58:04 +0000

To: Kim Fisher;Steve Rogers;Keith Zammit

Dutch Village Canvey Island and Planning Application CPT/15/496

Good afternoon Ms Fisher.
I mail with reference to the above planning application.
As a brief introduction I work as a Senior Planner at Persimmon Homes Essex and have been in post since January.
In the last few months I have been dealing with your colleague Keith Zammit and Steve Rogers but I now understand that you are the lead officer who will be taking this application to Committee.
We’ve also had an organisational change here at Persimmon and we are no longer using Pegasus as our planning agents, it now falls to me to deal with our application. My objective is to see that all technical constraints can be mitigated as part of our proposals. There are currently 2 outstanding issues – Flooding, which has an outstanding objection from the EA and Highways, which have not commented on the application.
We are moving towards resolving these issues and wanted to offer you an update on both matters:
Flooding We have been working with our consultants in consultation with the Environment Agency to overcome what is shown on your website as an objection from the EA on the grounds of flood risk at this time.
It will be known to you that the EA have also recently published some new flood modelling data. This has meant that we have had to do a considerable amount of work to assess and model what impact this has had on our proposals. We have had to look at what mitigation we can put in place to ensure that the site is safe in terms of flood risk, and that our development does not prejudice flooding on any neighbouring sites.
We hope to have the additional details to you within 10 days and this will give you the opportunity to then consult the EA before making your recommendation with all the facts available to you. We have had verbally received approval from the EA for the changes to our proposals following the publication of the new modelling data and are therefore confident that we overcome the current objection.
Highways ECC have yet to issue their consultation response. We are continuing to chase this and have been verbally told they have no concerns and will not be objecting to our proposals.
These works are nearing completion and I would be grateful if we could agree an extension of time now to allow for the application to be presented at the August committee.
Persimmon Homes are committed to the application and your consideration of the above would be of value to us.
Kind regards.
Mark Woodger BSc, Cert Man, MRTPI Senior Planner