Tag Archives: Sadlers Farm

Canvey Residents – Ignore the Castle Point Local Plan Consultation at your Peril! Changes – Development – Pipe Dreams and Promises are Afoot!

Whether you Bother to Answer, and How you Answer, the CPBC consultation questions, will have a direct bearing on how much Canvey Island changes in the immediate Future! Council Leaders and officers will have appeasement from the Government threat of Intervention in the cpbc Local Plan, uppermost in Mind!

Paddocks

The Paddocks community centre, Canvey Island

Make no Mistake, Development, both Housing and Business, on the most easily accessible large Green Field sites is the likely outcome of Castle Point’s Local Plan consultation!

Once the Local Plan consultation period is over the “Tricks of the Trade” of those charged with “interpreting” the responses come into play.

Previous consultations have seen many objections against cpbc proposed Local Plans, this has led to cpbc council Leaders suggesting that the “non responders” views mirrored those of the council Leaders, despite them having no evidence to suggest they did!

It is for this reason that Canvey Island residents should not only take part in the Local Plan consultation, but also be very careful how the questions are responded to!

Your responses may well be construed to mean something very much different in the hands of cpbc!

An eagerness for infrastructure, may be construed to indicate that residents are in favour of more large developments on Canvey Island. Whilst the Infrastructure improvements amount to pipe dreams, be sure that, the developments will be forthcoming!

Consultation Question 9, for example asks;

Which approach described below in providing new development is most suitable for the borough?

A Intensify existing built up areas with new development and increased density
B Create new settlements in the borough
C Disperse developments to the edge of the built up areas

Before you Answer A, we should remember that Canvey Island is already the most densely Urbanised part of the Borough!
Answer C flies in the face of the Purposes of the Green Belt, that is, “to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas”
Answer B would appear to have implications for residents elsewhere in the Borough.

Answer Question 11 without an explanation and you will be considered to support large site development on Canvey Island!

11. What type of housing do you feel is best suited to your area? (tick all that apply)
Affordable rents, Buy-to-let, Elderly care homes etc, etc.

None of which can be provided without Private Investment, likely off the back of large scale, market price, private development!

Housing allocations
“The new Local Plan 2018 will revisit all potential sites considered within the 2014 and 2016 Plans and assess their future suitability through technical studies,”

No they will not! All Canvey sites, with the exception of the “Triangle Site”, behind the Dutch Cottage Canvey Road, for some reason, were considered to be developable whether Green Belt or Brownfield, or in a Flood Risk zone or Critical Drainage Area, which incidentally the whole of Canvey is!

The Constraints on development revealed in the Technical Studies are all dismissed by cpbc where Canvey Island is concerned!

13a. Do you support the potential residential development at land at Thorney Bay Caravan Park, Canvey Island?

Absolutely irrelevant Consultation question. The owners have permissions in place for a Park Home site and are successfully developing one. CPBC have no jurisdiction over the likely loss of the Roscommon Way final phase land.

14a. Do you support the potential residential development at land at Point Road, Canvey Island?

The Business site was first proposed as a housing development, then returned with a vastly inflated figure of Housing, drawing many, many objections from local residents not least because of the reliance on the tiny roundabout access area and the Flats proposed. And, where would all of the current businesses be re-housed, well no doubt onto more Canvey Green field land around the Roscommon Way area!

20a. Do you support the potential residential development at land west of Benfleet?

Ask ourselves, can we really take more traffic on Canvey Way? And by the way, this is Jotmans Farm if you didn’t recognise the site name.

22a. Do you support the potential residential development at land east of Canvey Road?

Do they really need to ask? This is the Dutch Village Green Belt site, the one that out of the 6,534 Referendum Votes cast, just 56 Canvey Islanders said they were comfortable with persimmons developing!

23a. Do you support the potential residential development at land fronting Canvey Road?

This is beside the Dutch Cottage, Green Belt site, I am sure the extra traffic filing down from Sadlers Farm to Thorney Bay Road every evening, is something we could do without.

26a. Do you support the extension to Roscommon Way?

Given that there is no funding, and that Essex Highways do not wish to burden themselves with future maintenance costs, and that the Thorney Bay part of the land required may not be available for development anyway, this appears simply an unlikely aspiration.

27a. Do you support widening of Sommes Avenue?

Of course we do, but wouldn’t the installation of the cycle way along the North side of Somnes Avenue by ECC, mean that there is no space for the widening of Somnes Avenue by ECC?

29a. Do you support dualling of the northern section of the A130 Canvey Way in the vicinity of Sadlers Farm?

Or put another way, do you support development of Jotmans Farm with access an access onto Canvey Way.
Really?

32a. Do you support improved access to Canvey Island?

Well of course we do, but it will be at the likely expense of much more land released for development. Thurrock Council opposition will not remove their objection and cpbc will have to overturn their own Local Plan Evidence findings that; “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.”

And Finally, as they say:

34. Do you have any additional comments on the new Local Plan 2018?

Not unless you feel the fact that Canvey Island, the whole of which, is a Critical Drainage Area, is also a tidal Flood Zone 3a area, and has 2 Top Tier Comah sites, meaning should there ever be a need to evacuate the Island, the Emergency Services would be unable to cope with the current levels of Canvey’s population, has some bearing on the Consultation that castle point officers appear to be overlooking or ignoring!

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Continued Development Necessary, for Canvey Island to Thrive Economically and Socially, despite the Hazards!

Is there a point where it becomes inconsiderate, down right fool-hardy or plain morally wrong, to Plan to continually increase the population of Canvey Island?

Or have we already reached the stage where Castle Point Council’s policies have left the Island over populated?

Currently the policy of Castle Point Council is clear, it intends to continue to develop Housing and Business properties on the Island as a necessity as, “it is considered that continued development is necessary in order that the settlement of Canvey can continue to thrive economically and socially.”

Canvey Island, as all residents, prospective and current, should know, is at Actual Risk of Tidal Flooding, suffers from Surface Water Flooding and is home to 2 Top Tier COMAH sites, Oikos and Calor.

In addition to this OIKOS have permission to expand its facilities having had this proposal approved; Construction of a new deep water jetty facility consisting of the refurbishment of and extension to the existing OSL Jetty, refurbishment of an existing 12 tank storage compound and the undertaking of related operational and site infrastructure works.

Calor currently have gas import facility via its own jetty.

Entry and Exit of Canvey Island is possible from just one point, Waterside Farm Roundabout.

Should there be an incident of any type the Council wish Residents, in the first instance, to Shelter.

Sheltering, “is normally the preferred option. This involves residents being asked to stay in their homes, close all doors and windows, tune into local media sources and await further instructions, or the all clear from the emergency services.

The evacuation of residents is normally a last resort, however should the emergency pose a significant risk, then it may be the only viable option.”

So before any reader gets too carried away with us being Scare-mongerers, the possibility of an incident that may require Evacuation of the Island exists and cpbc recognise it!

However the only examination , albeit some years ago, into the logistics of an Evacuation found that the timescale could involve taking over 19 hours! This was prior to the introduction of Traffic Lights at Sadlers Farm Roundabout and the increase in population recorded in the 2011 Census!

It must be assumed that the 19 hours estimated would have been for an orderly evacuation exercise.

In practise the Summer Floods of 2014 gave a clear indication of the capacity of the Escape Routes. In particular Canvey Way became blocked, as per usual. This in turn actually stopped the Emergency Services, in this case the Environment Agency, from attending the Drainage Pumps that were either malfunctioning or had lost electrical power!

The Environment Agency reported to ECC “The flood water on the Island made conditions difficult for our engineers to move between pumping stations, this in turn made the response to the ongoing problems at the pumping stations more challenging.”

Essex County Council concluded;

” As such, the impact on flood risk of any new proposals for development (on Canvey Island) or alterations to permeable land, for example the paving of gardens, needs to be considered very carefully and impermeable surfaces avoided where possible. .”

Many moons ago our local authority made an effort to communicate to each household, measures to be taken by Residents should a Flood occur, this has long since ceased!

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The 2005 Buncefield incident is relative to Canvey Island. Canvey’s 2 Hazardous Industrial Sites in liaison with Essex County Council have their own Emergency Plans. That  only certain limited information is shared with just the absolute closest of neighbouring residents, highlights the lack of Preparedness of the vast majority of Islanders. The potential for the whole of Canvey to be badly affected by an “accident” at either Hazardous Site exists.

The Hertford Police updated Buncefield Residents;

“Whilst this operation is ongoing there will be increased settlement of dust and soot particles as the temperature cools under the plume of smoke over the Hemel Hempstead area. We would remind residents of messages relayed yesterday that these dust and soot particles are an irritant which can cause coughing, irritation to the eyes and nausea – particularly to elderly, those with existing respiratory problems and young people. Wherever possible, people in the Hemel Hempstead area should continue to ‘go in, stay in and tune in’ to media bulletins and avoid all unnecessary journeys.

Those people who work in the area were also asked to make contact with their own companies and not to go anywhere near the area until advised it was safe to do so.

Warnings were also issued through the media that slowing or stopping to film the ongoing incident on mobile phones or other devices was not only a possible danger to the safety of road users but was also likely to constitute a criminal offence.

At this time, the advice remains to people in the affected area to stay indoors, close windows and watch/listen to news bulletins for updates. This advice is especially relevant to people who have some form of respiratory condition such as asthma or bronchitis.”

It is apparent that there is a strong case for an open and transparent engagement with Canvey Residents, so that it is clear what actual At Risk Register, dangers exist and the responses required of Residents. Being unaware is a Recipe for Panic!

“In COMAH, there is a requirement to share information between
site operators and Category 1 and 2 responders in order to fulfil the requirements
of the duty for risk assessment, warning and informing the public and the
preparation of on-site and off-site emergency plans.”

The argument that keeping Residents in the Dark so as to protect property  prices and encourage further development, is a Reckless Policy!

We are reminded that Castle Point has an ageing population, many Residents can be considered At Risk. There is a need for an At Risk Register. There is a need for an Able to Assist Register.

An Informed Community, can be better Prepared to React and Respond correctly and. those able, be in a position to assist.

However the Castle Point policy; “that continued development is necessary in order that the settlement of Canvey can continue to thrive economically and socially” appears to ignore any possibility that any incident or “accident” could endanger Residents and property, or that there is adequate resources on standby ready to respond to any eventuality without Residents assistance.

Meanwhile Castle Point council have published their new Emergency Response Plan.

We have added a link to the document HERE.

Canvey Way extra Lane – Music to Jotmans Farm Developer’s Ears?

How often have we heard “put infrastructure in place, ahead of planned housing and industrial development”?

This is how the “promise” of the extra lane / dualling of Canvey Way will appear and appeal to developers.

pic courtesy of Echo News

pic courtesy of Echo News

The “draft” New Local Plan purported to be an “officers plan” proposes a large industrial development alongside the existing Charfleets Estate,  the Dutch Village Green Belt development, development on Green Belt at the old Castle View School site, regeneration including Flats at the Canvey town centre, new dwellings at Thorney Bay plus the re-development at The Point!

Further to the Canvey Way widening is a short stretch of dualling from Waterside farm to just past the Sports Centre along Somnes Avenue.

Money is not set aside, but that may be another matter. A new road off of the Island is desirable, but according to Castle Point appointed consultants is unlikely to be supported by “value for money” evidence in support of it proceeding.

Roscommon Way remains incomplete and in all probability any improvement of Canvey Way will only speed traffic up to the next congestion point, going south, onto Canvey’s poorly laid out and narrow road network, or northwards to the Sadlers Farm junction.

That appears a lot of overdue infrastructure for little or no return.

However added to the mix is the Jotmans Farm proposal. “Officers” have proposed that in the region of 800 dwellings could be realised in the Local Plan.

Access to this site is of course limited, however should the initial phase of 265 dwellings be approved either at Appeal or through the New Local Plan, a new access road filtering onto Canvey way makes the remaining phase up to the 800 dwelling capacity far more achievable.
A new access point onto the publically funded widened Canvey Way would become economically viable to Persimmons as all that would be required for access onto Jotmans is a slip road entering the south bound lane of Canvey Way! Jotmans traffic would then join the flow onto Canvey, and using Waterside roundabout for either the journey to Sadlers farm or Benfleet station and beyond. The extra lane would help cope with the current Canvey traffic as well.

In future years we are likely to see far more lorry movements from the two hazardous sites, Calor and OIKOS as the pipelines age and deteriorate. The existing pipework already beneath Roscommon Way will likely prove impossible to gain access to.
Together this makes a compelling argument to achieve the widening of Canvey Way. In return the aspiration of the National Planning Policy framework for sustainable development could be achieved. At what cost to the residents of the south of the Borough is open to conjecture.

A balance on the potential returns will be made by decision makers, whether the potential that a new access road would bring in releasing Canvey land to the west, for industrial purpose, over the less costly Canvey Way widening which is claimed would ease congestion with the “bonus” of making the whole of the Jotmans proposal feasible.

My money, for what little it is worth, says that mid Local Plan there may be a widening of Canvey Way and then possibly 25 -50 years onwards, once the potential of the inner Thames Gateway area especially Thurrock and Basildon have reached their full potential, then west Canvey will become an economically viable proposition to business to warrant a new access road.

Something for us all to think carefully about.

The link to the Echo article announcing the Canvey way proposal can be located HERE.

 

Chickens, Eggs and Railroading – Green Belt now under threat from Business development. Councillors apply a dash of realism!

At last there appears to be an attempt to challenge the Local Plan process by committee members of the Task and Finish group.

Members appear to have recognised the “inertia” of the Local Plan that I blogged about previously on the subject of Housing Need and the Constraints topics.

The debate on the Borough’s employment and retail needs was the latest topic.

It is clear to residents and the Borough’s consultants that the roads infrastructure is a major constraint discouraging medium and large enterprises locating to our area.

The congestion in Castle Point deters new business from venturing into the Borough. The Sadlers Farm “improvement” serves  commercial traffic wishing to “skirt” the area on the way to the M25 in one direction and Chelmsford and beyond, in the other. East of Castle Point boundary and onto Southend the only arterial road is the A127 which is about as free flowing as the A13 through Benfleet!

Strategically, use should be made of the improvements along the A130.

The holdups caused by the Sadlers Farm and Waterside Farm junction as well as Tarpots and to a lesser extent the Rayleigh Weir junction, cause enough lost travelling time to discourage new business relocating to Castle Point.

cute-chicken-eggs-19857065

Development is encouraged, whilst infrastructure is only promised.

The Task and Finish group officers spoke of the need to have a Local Plan in place with new employment sites indicated so that a presentation for funding for new road infrastructure could be made to local enterprise agencies.

The current 1998 Local Plan, albeit now considered out of date, as well as the draft New Local Plan indicates new employment sites on Canvey Island. No doubt these indicators were used when a delegation led by our MP, chief executive, officers and lead councillors made a bid for a new access road for Canvey Island.

The bid was rejected.

The 1998 Local Plan indicates an “improvement” for Canvey Way, this also hasn’t materialised.

Castle Point Council’s consultants’ assessment of Employment and Retail needs, saw little chance that a new road would be a high priority in the near future.

“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.

While some 32.7 ha of undeveloped land was identified with potential for employment development, not all of this is necessarily available or certain to come forward for such uses within a reasonable timescale.

Taking account of potential constraints, the amount of land which would have realistic prospects of coming forward for future employment needs amounts to about 21 ha, almost all of this on just two large sites.

Despite this surplus, 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.”

“In terms of capitalising on major new economic developments in adjoining areas, 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.

In addition, it is clear that sites in Canvey Island may not be attractive for firms based elsewhere in the Borough, some of which may choose to move out instead.”

It was noted that none of the Task and Finish group members were required to declare an interest before discussing the employment areas and new road access possibilities.

Fledgling office development.  

The consultants referred to the low level of office based employment currently in the Borough:-

“In terms of creating more local office jobs, providing more sites would not necessarily achieve this, as local demand is low and the office market is undeveloped.

It would therefore be important to start trying to build up a local office market through more start-up facilities to accommodate small firms that may, in time, require larger office premises.

A better approach, therefore, may be to seek elements of modern office space within mixed use developments in the larger town centres and in residential schemes near such centres.”

In effect making the regeneration of our two town centres more likely and more sustainable due to lack of competition from out of town centres.

The Council’s aspiration to release green field land for a large Business Park office development appears un-supported by their own consultants.

Out Commuting:

Out commuting: some 62% of Castle Point’s economically active residents out-commute to work elsewhere.”

There is nothing in the Report to suggest that the possible levels of employment in the Council’s Local Plan’s aspirations will alter the percentage level of out commuting.

Therefore it is apparent that 62% of any extra economically active population growth realised from the housing development proposals, will continue to out- commute, thereby adding to the numbers affected by the daily congestion of traffic and crowding on trains.

The Task and Finish officer spoke of the danger of the Plan being found unsound if growth was not planned for.

The Local Plan will also be found unsound if it proves to be unrealistic!

Lower the expectation levels, and keep it Real!

Photo credit: Dreamstime

Fight for Canvey’s 3rd Access Road, not popular with Thurrock neighbours. New infrastructure promised!

The potential 3rd access road for Canvey Island appears to have not been best received by Thurrock Councillors according to the Echo report here.
The long awaited 3rd road to be known as the North Thames Link Road, is linked to regeneration at the west Canvey industrial and business area and seen as a potential commuter relief road to relieve Sadlers Farm and Waterside Farm junctions.

However if as cllr Howard suggests in appeasing the Thurrock Council Leader “not everyone will use the road if it is built so I don’t know if it would be as busy as suggested” the road may be in some doubt as the cost / usage ratio will be critical for it’s implementation.

The new road is just one part of the infrastructure included within the new Local Plan (draft).
Other proposals include, a roundabout with segregated northbound carriageway (dualling northern part of Canvey Way) for the Jotmans Farm housing development, route improvements along the A129 between the Weir and Victoria House Corner, improved access arrangements at Woodmans Arms to ease congestion so as to facilitate the potential 430 new homes at Land East of Rayleigh Road Hadleigh, the widening of Somnes Avenue CI east bound only, prior to development at the former Castle View School CI, the Roscommon Way extension Phase 2 “will be extended across south Canvey” and finally the dualling of Canvey Way “there is therefore the opportunity to provide a dualled carriageway, potentially delivered in phases” as an alternative to the 3rd access road, the North Thames Link Road!
The Canvey Way dualling and the North Thames Link Road are qualified in the Local Plan by the explanation that “Both options (dualling of Canvey Way and the North Thames Link Road) would pass over open water and environmentally sensitive marshland, and significant investment is therefore required to secure their delivery.”

In contrast no road improvements are planned / necessary for the Dutch Village (Land East of Canvey Road) new housing development proposal other than a “promise” that “public transport waiting facilities and services must be improved on Canvey Road.”

The expectation is that new residents will be expected to cross Canvey Road’s dual carriageway, at its most busiest and fastest point to wait for buses travelling off the Island!

The extensive road network improvements are not matched by residents expectation of fulfillment. Promises appear to come easier than funding.

A chance to comment on Castle Point, roads, traffic congestion, loss of Green Belt, a third road and the quality of life. Part2

During the Development Committee meeting to consider the service road linking the Roscommon Way with the Calor Gas site on Canvey Island it was made clear by Calor that they were unwilling to supply funding to support the last extension to Roscommon Way as far as Thorney Bay Camp. Funding will now be more reliant on County Council Highways, this becoming even more apparent as the 106 Agreements for Thorney Bay were included in the Outline Planning permission for the site agreed during the same meeting, without mention to road extension funding.

So the expectation for local residents will be for 5 – 10 years of development and the accompanying lorry movements along Thorney Bay Road and Long Road whilst the site is developed.

Another application agreed at the meeting was for a prime industrial unit 48 x 63 Metres in size with a frontage onto Charfleets Road, being given approval for use as a Dance Studio!

The regeneration that the Roscommon Way was promoted as bringing to the Charfleets Industrial Estate appears to be no more than an aspiration.
Those of us queueing in the daily commute on and off the Island will be aware that as is the case on the homeward journey if a road is widened or improved traffic is only delivered to the “pinch points” more speedily.
The Five Bells towards Sadlers Farm junction can be quick, but for Canvey and Benfleet bound traffic, the pinch point that is the traffic lights at Sadlers Farm cannot disperse traffic any faster than the Tarpots and Waterside Farm roundabout allows.

The same will happen should the last extension to Roscommon Way be built. Traffic leaving the Island will be presented to the RSPB roundabout quickly and then will end up in a longer queue than at present along Canvey road for Waterside Roundabout.

Canvey is densely urbanised, the road network is based on what existed before the heavy development over the previous 50 years. The two large developments already proposed have not been strategically positioned.
No doubt the residents on the Mainland can point to their own commute issues.

There was a call from Canvey Councillors for a new traffic survey ahead of the Local Plan, this does not appear to be happening, as housing development sites have been allocated.

In the absence of official figures, Canvey Green Belt Campaign Group have held their own un-scientific survey.
This was conducted slightly ahead of the middle of the rush hour, morning and evening, along the distance between Waterside Farm and Sadlers Farm roundabouts.

A distance of 2.6 miles, taking in 28 journies.

The results showed the outward journey on average is faster than the inward journey, as can be expected. It did not take into account the time / speed taken queuing / to reach the roundabouts, just journey time between the two points. On no occasion were timings taken whilst an accident or breakdown had occurred.

Outward Bound: The average journey time took 7.74 minutes at an average speed of just 20.15 mph.

Inward Bound: The average journey time took 11.25 minutes at an average speed of just 13.86 mph.

Whilst the average times do not appear too long, it must be remembered Canvey way is a 50mph clearway.

What is very apparent is, in the unlikely event of an evacuation of the Island being necessary through a flood warning or an industrial incident, the potential for chaos bringing Canvey Way to a standstill is almost inevitable!

The potential for an accident or breakdown to cause gridlock is apparent and this would not go un-noticed by potential business investors in the area. There are many locations nearer to the M25 far more attractive for business location.

As has been recorded previously on this blog there is little likelihood in the medium term of Canvey Way being dualled. A similar timespan may be considered likely for the Roscommon Way extension. For the Thorney Bay development to be considered sustainable access needs improvement. 106 Agreements negotiated so far for Thorney Bay and The Point will go nowhere near providing any such road improvements.

It could be considered unreasonable for residents to be expected to absorb the proposed influx of population that the developments are likely to yield whilst infrastructure stagnates.