Tag Archives: Persimmons

To Intervene or to Not Intervene, that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer, as Simple Minded and Disobedient Canvey Folk suffer, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles.

Much will be read and disclosed over the next year or so, when it will be wondered whether the June 2018 decision by Castle Point council, to rush into a Local Plan schedule, with the prospect of a New Local Plan approved by Council for publication by November followed by submission to the Inspectorate in April 2019, or alternatively to face the prospect of Government Intervention, is the best path to tread, especially where Canvey Island is concerned.

“sometimes orders given to the simple-minded have to be reinforced with a threat, a suggestion that something terrible will happen to the disobedient,”

And so it was, when the cpbc chief executive, the council leader and his deputy, stated the case for cpbc seeking to retain control of its Local Plan making, rather than allow Intervention from the Government Planner.

The councillors and residents were not permitted an address from the Government chief planner, choices and their consequences were expressed only third hand delivered by the cpbc triumvirate.

But whilst keeping control of the Local Plan process is in the very best interests of parts of the mainland, is it also in the best interests of Canvey Island, a reasonable question to ask?

Harking back to the Core Strategy we exposed a Plot by the “Ruling” mainland party to sacrifice Canvey’s Dutch Village Green Belt site, as the sole Green Belt site released for development, so as to appease their mainland concerns and allow publication of a cpbc Core Strategy, local plan!

We remember well, the mainland residents Green Belt campaign group, during the council Task and Finish group meeting, standing to address council members confirming that they agreed and supported the Plan “in its entirety!”

Where was the “united” Borough then?

When the Core Strategy was rejected by the Examining Inspector due to the unreasonable Housing Growth Distribution and the Dutch Village site being, a Green Belt site within a Flood Risk Zone, the cpbc ceo made sure that the Dutch Village remained within the list of Green Belt sites for development, whilst adding some mainland sites to meet the Housing Need of the Borough, within the 2014 daft Local Plan!

Of course the retention of the Canvey Dutch Village site, despite the Inspector’s opinion, meant that one large mainland site would be saved from development.

Now by returning to the 2014 draft local Plan as a starting place for the 2018 Local Plan, concerns return as to whether it is intelligent and responsible for Canvey residents to put their faith, as we are being told and advised so to do, within the “Ruling” party’s successful motion to Control the 2018 local Plan.

“sometimes orders given to the simple-minded have to be reinforced with a threat, a suggestion that something terrible will happen to the disobedient,”

The threat has been delivered and something terrible may still apparently happen!

We are reminded that the Dutch Village site is owned by Persimmon, implying that this would speed the process through Planning resulting in an early supply of Housing, For The Borough!

Meanwhile, the more lucrative development sites elsewhere in the Borough would, following this logic, remain undeveloped for longer, especially when the ongoing development of approximately 900 Sandy Bay Park Homes, also on Canvey Island, are put into the equation!

This may encourage some conspiracy theory, has the call for sites from cpbc entailed dealings between officers members and developers as to which site or sites would be released in which order, specifically if the developer were to agree to initially focus on Dutch Village first?

As it stands in practise cpbc focus on applying constraints on development in the so called “virgin” Green Belt areas of the Borough. Canvey Island Flood Risk is also applied to the constraints so as to limit numbers, but that constraint is applied to housing Need numbers across the whole Borough, rather than Canvey Island in particular!

Making cpbc’s approach to the application of the Sequential Test simply contrived and, a Farce!

But can Canvey residents be certain that the Government Planner would apply to Canvey Island, the supposed Constraints on Housing Development such as Flood Risk, the threat to what remains of its Green Belt and the Hazardous Industrial sites any less fairly than the cpbc “Ruling” party and officers?

Especially going by their proven Local Planning track record!

Under Cllr Riley’s regime Canvey fared better than during any of the previous attempts at Plan making.

Now Cllr Riley has been side lined by the Triumvirate now in control, and previously chiefly responsible for the 2014 daft Local Plan, despite two of them apparently also claiming to support the 2016 Plan’s attempt to constrain the borough’s Housing Numbers!

To mainlanders these thoughts may sound pessimistic and overly cautious, however being fed rumours and not having the access to decision makers that some residents appear to have, however furtive, leads to a lack of an Open and Transparent Local Plan process.

Faith in Leaders must be Earned, Blind Faith is a dangerous option.




Could it Be? Spade Ready – Persimmon Up for a Win Double in Castle Point?

Could it be that with the recent activity around the Canvey Dutch Village area that Persimmon see a potential for developing Canvey Island and Benfleet’s Green Belt off of the Constraints Map?


New paperwork added to the CPBC planning portal for the Dutch Village site and the pending Appeal Inquiry decision on Jotmans Farm indicates no let up ahead of the CPBC Local Plan Examination.

Jotmans Magaret March Benfleethistory.org.uk

Jotmans Farm

It is indication that Persimmons will be one of the strongest critics of the Local Plan2016.

No doubt having two major Green Belt development proposals will put Persimmon in a seemingly strong position should the LP2016 falter.

The apparent lack of a 5 year housing supply to back up LP2016 may also be a factor. Persimmons are positioning themselves in a way that would appear to suggest to the Examining Planning Inspector, that they are “SPADE READY”!

Most appealing to CPBC will be the possibility that persimmon could, handling 2 sites at the same time, devote the Dutch Village site chiefly to affordable homes, leaving the Jotmans Farm venture as entirely market value housing!
Our controllers at cpbc might see the advantage of sweetening the taste for the mainland electorate in that, should it be suggested.

Local Plans are likely to require updating in whole or in part at least every five years. Should the Local Plan 2016 not fulfil the expectation to “boost significantly the supply of housing” during this initial 5 year period Castle Point residents could expect to face having to fund planning appeals! And the likelihood of further appeals in the subsequent years cannot be disregarded should the reliance on the Blinking Owl site H11 be unfulfilled.

The necessity for a 5 year housing supply, is a rolling, never ending requirement of a local authority. An insatiable requirement of land!

How often should a Local Plan be reviewed?

To be effective plans need to be kept up-to-date. Policies will age at different rates depending on local circumstances, and the local planning authority should review the relevance of the Local Plan at regular intervals to assess whether some or all of it may need updating. Most Local Plans are likely to require updating in whole or in part at least every five years.  Reviews should be proportionate to the issues in hand. Local Plans may be found sound conditional upon a review in whole or in part within five years of the date of adoption.

The National Planning Policy Framework makes clear that relevant policies for the supply of housing should not be considered up-to-date if the authority cannot demonstrate a five-year supply of deliverable housing sites. Local planning authorities should also consider whether plan making activity by other authorities has an impact on planning and the Local Plan in their area. For example, a revised Strategic Housing Market Assessment will affect all authorities in that housing market area, and potentially beyond, irrespective of the status or stage of development of particular Local Plans.

Of late this requirement has seen pressure from those in authority at cpbc to approve all development proposals on Canvey Island, except those few that fall into a similar category of the LP2016 policy to protect mainland Green Belt sites from development.

This has seen proposals approved, despite having Holding Objections from the Lead Flood Authority! This level of disregard to important constraining issues underlines the depths our local authority are prepared to stoop.

Once again we venture to suggest that without a Neighbourhood Plan, Canvey Island is defenceless against the power and deviousness of developers.

Conspiracy strategy, and sacrificing children in the fight against Green Belt Campaign Groups?

Now, if I were a conspiracy theorist, it would be easy to suggest that Castle Point Council had employed a strategist.
Let me take you back….
In the Olde Dayf of ye Olde Core Strategy a level of new development in the Borough was proposed by the now defunct Regional Agency.
The numbers came as a shock to the residents and a problem for the Local Authority.
A growth distribution plan was drawn up and discussed by the political groups.

The mainland Lead Group rejected the proposed growth sites and threatened to reject the plan.
Officers suggested that if they were to propose the Dutch Village as the main new housing site, would the Lead Group Councillors support the Plan?

Yes was the reply and forward went the Council with the Core Strategy, despite much opposition from Canvey Islanders.

“I have a problem with this” said the Planning Inspector!
“You will need to balance the housing growth across the Borough.”

New sites were considered and just prior to the Council meeting to consider them, the Leader cllr Challis gave a very brave interview to the Echo accepting the idea that development was actually needed on the Mainland.

Mainland residents protested and the full Council threw the Core Strategy out of the Chamber on a raucous evening.
The process of a new Local Plan began.
Problem number one the housing need figures are unaltered.

What to do.

It appears the Mainland Councillors have been convinced that by including “previously developed” Green Belt land at London Road and Felstead Road in the first 5 years of the Plan’s housing supply other Green Belt sites in the Borough will be protected.
Alongside the 99 units at the Point on Canvey plus the 600 dwellings, plus 300 static caravans plus Residential Care Accomodation blocks at Thorney Bay, an Inspector will accept this as reasonable distribution.

The problem now for the Cabinet, because I understand that back bench Lead Group Councillors have yet to be consulted, is how to satisfy the remaining 10 years housing supply of the Local Plan!

Pressure mounts.

In the meantime Persimmon’s have proposed a development at Jotmans Farm, giving birth to another protest group for the Council to concern itself with.

Followed by the County Elections.

On the Mainland a slap in the face to local Councillors was firmly delivered by the UK Indepence Party!

Now, more recently, the Deanes School it has been suggested may close. This is due to falling attendances!

Obviously difficult decisions need to be made.
What to do, and how to do it?

Councillor Stanley has, on a couple of occasions, spoken of the “silent majority” when putting the case for building on Green Belt land.

He suggests that whilst Mainland Green Belt Groups have organised large petitions, the majority of residents haven’t signed them.
The problem is, how to propose unpopular housing development so that it can be voted through at Council and accepted by the general public?

Employ a crowd of school children and their parents!
Make it known that the County Council are the ones threatening to close the school and concentrate the residents minds on the fact that there are not enough youngsters in the area to support keeping it open.

Photograph courtesy of the Echo Newspaper

Photograph courtesy of the Echo Newspaper

After all we are an aging population and figures suggest that the numbers attending Deanes School will only fall even more in the future unless something is done.

On one side young families with school children, on the other side the blue rinse Victor Meldrew brigade.
Use it or Lose it, simples!

Now what land is nearby to the Deanes School in Daws Heath Road, that a developer has proposed, and is the most sustainable site in the Borough?

Making sense now?

Taking us Full Circle to where the whole Core Strategy / Local Plan problems began all of those years ago.
Draw up the battle lines!