Tag Archives: previously developed land

Residents in Castle Point wait to hear the Up Side of retaining the Local Plan In-House, rather than facing Government Intervention! Oh and how much Green Belt to be Released!

The latest public “announcement” on the Castle Point council Local Plan will be made during the cpbc cabinet meeting on Wednesday 19th September.

Residents will learn exactly what cpbc spokespeople actually meant when they stated they must keep the Local Plan within the council’s grasp, rather than face Government Intervention and all that that entailed!

In a report compiled by the ceo D Marchant, that may more aptly be delivered by wearing the cloak of the Grim Reaper, members will hear in clear terms the penalties that will befall residents of Castle Point, if they were not to fall in line and endorse whatever local plan messrs Smith, Marchant and Rogers enforce into publication.

Obviously there will be the intention to release more Green Belt land than was previously agreed, otherwise there would have been little need to delay progress of the 2016 local plan.

Instead Bureaucratic measures by this miserable triumvirate have taken over what should have been a democratic and public exercise!

“Intervention by Government in any area of local government business is a last resort and follows poor decision making and failure to follow Government direction and advice.

We have been reminded by Government that intervention is a sanction and should not be considered as an alternative mechanism to deliver a Local Plan.

We are aware that the Secretary of State is still considering whether to intervene in the local plan process.”

There then follows a further threat to Cabinet members, and other council members in attendance;

“In terms of decision-taking, the Government will wish to make certain after intervention that the statutory development plan and policies for the Borough will be implemented and will not allow the local plan once agreed to be frustrated by the Development Control process.

Consequently as the Borough Council had no role in the preparation of the plan, indications from the MHCLG are that the Secretary of State will exercise powers available to him to direct that any strategic planning applications submitted pursuant to the plan will be referred to the Planning Inspectorate directly rather than the Borough Council,”

“As one of the very few planning authorities under intense scrutiny by MHCLG* the Council remains at great risk of intervention and this will lead to considerable reputational damage on a national scale.”

*Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government

BUT what if, this likely release of Green Belt and denser Urbanisation of previously developed land, fails to see Developers and Builders deliver the required Housing Needs of London and Castle Point?

It would be naíve to think that developers would build at a rate that would jeopardise the Market Price of Housing. What if the Governor of the Bank of England’s worse projection, a 30% fall in house prices following a bad Brexit, comes to fruition?

Will more land be required to be released because other developers have put forward alternative proposals to those in the Local Plan, which they suggest they are more able to deliver?

Government and local authorities cannot manipulate the market. previous delivery rates ARE relevant, especially when you remember that only Glebelands and part of Jotmans Farm have seen applications lodged and rejected in Castle Point for, a Total of 405 dwellings since 2010!

A cpbc Local Plan that proposes to Release anymore than the 100 Dwellings per Annum agreed by the local council in the 2016 local plan, will not only see protests by residents but will also likely lead to Polling day reaction.

We were promised Localism as the way forward in Plan making.

Instead we will likely see a Bureaucratic plan delivered by the leader of cpbc intended to satisfy the national government.

A Local Plan padded out with aspirational and undeliverable infrastructure and Sea Defence improvements AND a Plan that is Sequentially corrupt!

A new Report by  Lichfields warns of difficulties for local authorities in satisfying the Housing Delivery Test.

Lichfields write;

The housing delivery test (HDT) will become increasingly difficult to satisfy

“The HDT is a monitoring tool the Government will use to demonstrate whether local areas are building enough homes to meet their housing need. Based on the outcome of this monitoring, councils may be required to undertake further action in the near future.”

“In November 2018, the test will compare housing delivery (net additional dwellings plus communal housing) to housing need (the lower of the three years in an up-to-date local plan or household projections plus unmet neighbours’ need).”

The full Lichfield report may be read via this LINK.

Persimmons seek Change of Use of Canvey Island Green Belt Land, with Stable Block for just 3 Horses, whilst Profits impress and Residents unaware!

On first glance it might be puzzling to explain why Canvey Island should be the first choice for Persimmon Homes to expand their successful business interests into the world of Equestrian pursuits at the Dutch Village on Canvey Island!

Persimmon’s profits more than triple over five years to £782.6million in 2016.

And yet they have registered a Planning Proposal with Castle Point borough council;

18/0118/FUL | Erection of stable block with adjoining hay storage/tack room and associated landscaping, formation of access track together with the change of use of land.

Persimmon, this mighty developer, seeks to enter into Equestrianism with a 16+ Hectare site for just 3 horses!


Riding Roughshod through Planning Policy

Quite obviously the Change of Use of Land is tactical manoeuvring in preparation for their challenge to the next cpbc Local Plan, Housing Supply and its interpretation of Green Belt Policy.

Either way, should the Dutch Village site become developed with the anticipated 300 dwellings, the infrastructure issues on Canvey Island will be exacerbated.

Health Service, traffic, recreation and Flooding issues will all be worsened, affecting each and every Canvey Island and South Benfleet resident!

The Change of use of Land, should signify a warning to all of the Borough’s Green Belt site neighbours, many of the Borough’s GB sites have some Built Development on them.

CPBC needs to be working on a Red Line to define where GB land changes from their pristine, cherished “virgin” sites to, GB with limited development, before finally becoming Previously developed Green Belt with the same lack of protection as Brownfield sites.

The KEY to ANY Canvey Island development must be that it is, APPROPRIATE DEVELOPMENT!

Castle Point council must respond in the correct manner to this application. We should all make our thoughts known to the council officers, otherwise Green Belt Policy will be undermined and Canvey Island and Sth.Benfleet residents will suffer.

The Link to the Application to view documents and to make comment is HERE.

Reasons to Object or comment upon could include:

Green Belt Development

as a whole, it should be considered that the proposal represents inappropriate development in the Green Belt. The NPPF identifies that such development may only be permitted under Very Special Circumstances.
NPPF Paragraph 83 instructs “Once established, Green Belt boundaries should only be altered in exceptional circumstances, through the preparation or review of the Local Plan.”
It can be argued that the “Change of Use of Land” should also only be considered, through the preparation or review of the Local Plan rather than by individual applications.

“All permanent stables and field shelters will require planning permission and, if the land is not in use for the keeping of horses, an application is unlikely to be acceptable.”

The term Very Special Circumstances implies that a desperate “Need” for this facility must be Obvious and Proven, or that there are very few similar facilities in the area.
It should be noted that there are many similar facilities in the local area.

The “facilities are small scale” indeed accommodating a maximum of 3 horses only. This will have no tangible impact on any suggested unmet need for such facilities, even if such need were proven to exist.

The applicant refers to the Purposes of the Green Belt and notes ‘to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas’;
The applicant points out that their intention is to construct “buildings in the Green Belt will give rise to built development”

Archaeological Features

The field abutting the proposed Stable Yard contains the Roman Saltern, a scheduled Ancient Monument, 260m south east of Great Russell Head Farm. This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance.

Proposed Access

The current access is on a busy dual carriageway, Canvey Road.

The design plans indicate the intention to “set back” the gated entrance 6 metres from the footpath. Whilst this “pull in” may make the actual entry to the field somewhat safer, other Canvey Road field entrances, with similar “pull in”design, have been the subject of serious “Fly Tipping” problems. This has been notably recorded at the entrances to the Canvey West Marsh RSPB site, directly opposite.

Vandalism and the protection from Harm of Horses

The Stable Block would likely act as a “magnet” for vandals being, unlit, housing unattended animals over night, out of sight of passers-by view thereby “secret”, and of wooden construction, containing feed and bedding, all potential fire hazards.*

*Extracted from the Canvey Green Belt Campaign group’s 4 page Objection document.

Illustration with apologies to Thelwell

Castle Point Development Record equally Unsound, whether on Flood Zone or Green Field Land!

Recently we read, through the Echo, how in Castle Point 48% of New Homes built between 2013 and 2016 were in the Borough’s 3A Flood Zone, namely Canvey Island!

The “latest” published Castle Point Annual Monitoring Report, supplied as Base Evidence to support the Local Plan2016 suggests that equally the Borough’s Green Belt / greenfield land is equally open to abuse!


Figures from Castle Point Council reveal;

The Percentage of New and Converted Dwellings developed on Previously Developed Land has fallen Dramatically since 2013.

2005/06  99%

2006/07  100%

2007/08  97%

2008/09  94%

2009/10  96%

2010/11  82%

2011/12  97%

2012/13  99%

2013/14  61%

2014/15  52%

Coincidently the 2014/15 figures appear to reveal that 48% of new dwellings were sited on green field / Green Belt land, the same 48% figure that was built during 2013 and 2016 on the Flood Zone at Canvey Island.

Residents may, or may not be relieved to hear cllr Jeffrey Stanley’s opinion that “We as a council will look at every single planning application and ensure the developer has taken the steps to mitigate flood risk.

The risk of flooding from the Estuary is a one in a thousand year occurrence, and recent flooding has owed to (sic) unusual amounts of rainfall and inadequate drainage.

Anglian Water has taken some steps to try and rectify the issue.”

Whilst this statement is open to scrutiny, we wonder if comment will be forthcoming from our local council representatives purporting to be defenders of our Green Belt!

Figures taken from cpbc Annual Monitoring Report accompanying the Local Plan version 3 and statement from the Echo, link HERE. 

Castle Point Council approve yet more Green Belt land for Development!

13 dwellings were given the go ahead within the Green Belt at Brickfields, Great Burches Road, Thundersley on Tuesday evening.
The fact that there were factory buildings in a state of disrepair allowed the land to be deemed previously developed and so suitable for development.
It is the same argument being used by the Council for the Felstead / Bowers Road application, although it will not be restricted to the previous housing footprint in this case!
The Councillors had, as recently as September 2011, voted against allowing development on our Green Belt, thus preventing the production of a Core Strategy, and going as far as telling the Inspector to “go away he is not wanted here!”
Now the Lead Group members have done a U-turn and are voting to release some Green Belt sites regardless of whether these are the most suitable or sustainable in the Borough. The sites they have chosen to vote in favour of are all “previously developed” however are there enough “previously developed” sites to supply the following ten years of the Local Plan and beyond? And will the Council then resort back to the preferred selection method influenced by the “Local Factors” that have seen so much of the Borough’s housing development being located on Canvey Island?
I hear from restless Mainland Campaign Groups that they are dissatisfied with the U-turn performed by their Ward Councillor’s, their lack of objection to the Green Belt proposals especially as one of the Development Committee Members was previously the lead Mainland Green Belt Campaigner.
At the Brickfields Committee meeting only Cllr J.Govier joined the CIIP Group in raising any objection to the proposal.
These times call for some radical thinking and leadership. There are empty Homes in the District, not as many as in some areas, but all avenues need exploring if the Green Belt is to be protected.
452 dwellings have been estimated at being likely to be empty for a term of 1 year or longer. At the Council’s adopted rate of housing need, 200 per annum, this is equivalent to two and a half years supply.
It is recognised that developers prefer and will push to be allowed to develop Green Belt sites due to it being more economical and realising higher profit margins. The 106 Agreements and Community Infrastructure Levy imposed on development are a form of taxation to improve local facilities. As part of these improvements perhaps a condition, in relation to the value of a development, could be imposed that required a developer must bring a number of these empty homes back on the market. This could be by means of renovation where the homes may be in poor condition or funding where the ownership of the empty home may be in a delicate position such as a bereavement or where an owner may be hospitalised or in a care home.
Whilst this may be considered insensitive or complicated, these homes probably realise no Council Tax.
Castle Point Mainland residents have now had to face up to the potential loss of Green Belt.
The attempt to produce a Core Strategy, and more recently a Local Plan, has drawn a strong reaction from Canvey Island residents in the form of our Green Belt Campaign Group plus the identification by the Planning Inspectorate that it is bad practise to impose an in-balance of housing distribution onto an area at potential risk of Flood is unsound practice.
Castle Point Council are now in a difficult position, with the need to identify acceptable housing numbers and development sites, whilst at the same time producing a Local Plan capable of halting development in other areas. It does not help their decision-making by some of these defended sites being located in some of the most sustainable areas or apparently the most politically sensitive.