Tag Archives: safe refuge

Fake News and the Paddocks, Canvey Island! The Viability of a 2 Storey Community Centre, acting as a Flood Refuge remains a Secret!

Let Canvey Islanders be clear, any fake news that concerns Cllr smith  regarding the Paddocks’ future, has stemmed from his own vague comments during the last Canvey Island community meeting!

The fact is the Paddocks community centre has been, for many years, left to deteriorate through lack of maintenance funding! That a municipal building should last just 5 decades indicates a scandalous and incompetent decision making administration that has been responsible for the centre!

Let’s be clear, the fundamental driver behind the Paddocks proposed rebuild is releasing space for more Housing!

Paddocks

The Paddocks community centre, Canvey Island

Castle Point council’s intent for the WHOLE Paddocks site is clear, as stated in the cabinet agenda paperwork;

“The conclusion of feasibility work reveals that the Paddocks Community Centre building has reached the end of its design life and is beyond economic repair.”

“The Paddocks site on Canvey Island is an important community asset, and it is therefore entirely appropriate that the condition of the asset and its potential are regularly reviewed.”

“The construction of a new Community Centre will be dependent on “enabling development” on other parts of the site.”

The move to alter the Paddocks site has 3 purposes.

First, and most important to cpbc, is the release of Canvey land for more Housing development to satisfy the Borough’s Housing Need.

Secondly, the intent of the local NHS group to close all GP doctors facilities and centralise into the Paddocks Health Service facility.

Thirdly, the desire to draw up a believable Local Plan for the Borough. This Paddocks scheme will in effect provide Brownfield Land for Housing development. The fact that it will assist in defending the equivalent number of housing units on Green Belt land should by its suggestion, be supported. The fact that the site is in a Flood Zone and a Critical Drainage Area however, indicates a level of cynicism.

The fact that cpbc prioritise development on Canvey indicates their lack of moral fibre. However be in no doubt, cpbc having made a decision to place housing development in a flood zone ahead of mainland sites may well satisfy a Local Plan Examining Inspector.

It is no coincidence that cpbc have seized upon the possibilities at the Paddocks is no coincidence, given the silence over the release of the Blinking Owl site in the north of the Borough. Plans for the Blinking Owl site appear to have stalled, which is most surprising as the recent Essex County Council Highways announcement of intention to upgrade the Fairglen Interchange and the Government’s Consultation on Strategic and, more relevant to Castle Point, Major Road Network.

Screenshot (9)

The lack of backing for the Blinking Owl site should concern mainland residents, especially as Basildon Council have increased the potential of the Dunton proposed development to 4,000 dwellings. If Basildon can achieve development in a new area, why are cpbc so reticent?

The precedent for the type of housing intended for the Paddocks has been set by the height and number of storeys of the Flats next door in Long Road. The number of dwellings will evidently need to be enough to support the building of new community centre in place of the Paddocks.

One thing is clear, a new community centre SHOULD be of two levels, so as to act as a much needed Safe Refuge area from flooding for the many bungalows and for the less able and elderly residents living  nearby! Any proposal for a community centre of a single level should be Rejected as a matter of Planning Principle.

It will be interesting to learn the viability of a suitable new Paddocks scheme and the necessary level of new housing to financially support the proposal!

At the moment the extended NHS services in the Paddocks grounds, the new housing development and the loss of the free town centre car parking spaces and the children’s pool and activity area appears to be receiving more support from cpbc members than the Hadleigh Town Centre Regeneration.

These are not our words, but words of someone far more influential in the process of Local Plan making, words which cpbc ceo and consulting officers appear willing to allow cpbc members to ignore;

I have concerns with the approach in relation to the Green Belt; and the consequences of this on the distribution of growth across the Borough

As we now know, Green Belt remains a Constraint, whilst Flood Risk is disregarded.

Canvey Island remains and will continue to be the most densely Urbanised part of the Borough, whilst the status quo of the balance of Power continues at cpbc.

 

 

 

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Neither Tidal nor Surface Water Flood Risk a Constraint on Development, where Castle Point Council are concerned!

The issue of potential Flooding remains a Hot Topic. That is as it should be, however as we have seen within Castle Point Council it only acts as a Development Constraint verbally, rather than effectively.

The responsibility on Flood Risk should fall squarely on the shoulders of council members, but other interests and “fear” of scaremongering, in effect mean that Flood Risk as a Constraint on Development is disregarded.

Floods 2014 pic via Police Helicopter

View of Canvey Island flooding from Police Helicopter July 2014

The Environment Agency adopt a position where residents safety over the lifetime of a new development is left to council members, Canvey Island and mainland residents Representatives.

The EA consider;

“The site is currently protected by flood defences so is not at risk of flooding in the present-day 0.0% (1 in 1000) annual probability flood event. The defences will continue to offer protection over the lifetime of the development, provided that the TE2100 policy is followed and the defences are raised in line with climate change, which is dependent on future funding.” 

The Island’s Flood Risk Assessment confirms over topping will be a concern prior to the year 2100!

There are no guarantees of this future funding and residents may be surprised to know that much of this funding must be raised locally. Councillors should be in a position to inform us of the sources of this funding and of the avenues in place for the collection of these monies, if they are confident that the sea defences will receive the necessary improvements so as to have confidence any new builds that they approve, will be safe over its Lifetime!

The EA give further warning;

“Although Canvey Island is defended to a high standard of protection, it is at risk should there be a flood defence failure” 

Of course the official position of cpbc appears to be that as long as there is space provided for safe refuge areas above the ground floor, development is acceptable.

A somewhat contradictory position in respect that if Canvey Island could not Flood, the safe refuge requirement would be un-necessary.

Government and Defra continue to fumble about giving residents no security whilst planners and developers take advantage of the lack of a clear position.

The BBC Report;

The Commons environment committee said ministers were not addressing what it called the fragmented, inefficient and ineffective flood management.

Areas of concern include flood impact home insurance, building rules and local authority planning decisions.

The government rejected the criticism, saying it had accepted many previous suggestions on flooding from the MPs.

The committee’s comments are the latest in a running tussle between MPs and the environment department Defra.

 The MPs admit that flooding has risen up the government’s priority list, and say “considerable work” on flooding is being done across Whitehall. But they complain that ministers are still ignoring reasonable demands.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP, acting chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (Efra), said: “People living in areas of flood risk need to be reassured that the government is acting to improve our disjointed flood management system.

“Defra has failed to give sufficient justification for its rejection of our recommendations for important new measures.”

Continued development also increases pressure on Canvey Island’s drainage system, already capable of failure through misuse and lack of maintenance. Housing and Business development means Roads, Parking areas and hard impermeable surfaces intensify this issue as development approvals continue unabated.

This move to develop more and more areas of grass land on Canvey must be considered in the light of it inevitably increasing the likelihood of Surface Water Flooding, a warning of this issue is contained in a Research paper by Dr David Kelly. Its relevance to Canvey Island should be considered Striking!

It should be remembered that, whilst the sea defences have some ability to stop the Tide from over topping, they have absolutely no effect in stopping the Tidal Water from penetrating the ground from beneath, and causing flooding and a High Water Table by that means!

Impact of paved front gardens on current and future urban flooding” Research Paper by Dr D.A.Kelly

The proliferation of paved gardens is putting the UK’s towns and cities at greater risk of flooding and, by 2080, the UK’s urban drainage system could be overwhelmed by ‘runoff’ equivalent to the volume of up to 100 Olympic-sized swimming pools.  

The potential impact that paved gardens could have on urban flooding in Edinburgh, Exeter, Manchester and London by 2050 and 2080 was examined by Dr David Kelly, associate professor in Heriot-Watt’s Water Academy. 

Many gardens in the UK have been paved by homeowners who want low maintenance gardens or off-street parking. Covering traditional gardens with hard paving, and the subsequent loss of green vegetation, reduces the amount of rainfall that can be dealt with naturally and significantly increases the rate and volume of runoff flowing to surface water drainage systems. 

Dr Kelly applied projected rainfall intensities for each of the four UK cities to simulated front gardens that reflect the trends for paving. 

Calculating the runoff contribution from new and existing paved gardens will help planners and policy makers identify areas of risk in their town and city – and decide whether to call for homeowners to depave. Additionally, data of runoff from individual paved gardens could highlight the need for behaviour change, and help encourage homeowners to take action themselves by depaving their gardens and enhancing green vegetation.

Dr Kelly, assistant professor in Heriot-Watt University’s Water Institute said: “Domestic front gardens cover almost 30% of our urban space and play a vital role in managing surface water runoff in towns and cities. 

“Existing urban drainage systems will be inadequate to cope with the level of increased runoff from paved front gardens. With runoff from all impermeable surfaces, including paved front gardens, likely to increase in future due to urban densification, the risk of urban flooding will increase unless substantial efforts are made to minimise runoff.”

Homeowners and policymakers need to focus on depaving gardens across the UK.

Dr Kelly’s research showed that the collective runoff by the 2080s from front gardens alone is expected to increase by substantial amounts during extreme storm events due to climate change. 

“In Edinburgh, considering only gardens that are currently at least three-quarters paved, during just one storm, runoff could increase to 29,000m3 across the city, equivalent to 12 Olympic swimming pools, by 2080.”  

“In London, the volume of runoff could increase up to as much as 278,000m3 (equivalent to 100 Olympic swimming pools). ” 

“But, if all of these gardens were depaved and had zero impermeable cover, then the runoff could almost be eliminated, particularly if combined with enhanced green vegetation solutions.”

 D.A.Kelly’s research paper; “Impact of paved front gardens on current and future urban flooding” can be found HERE

The full BBC Environment Parliamentary Report can be found HERE.

 

 

Responsibility and Caution unfulfilled in the relentless race to develop on Canvey Island!

It would be fair to say that the residents of Canvey Island are reasonably content with the protection that the sea defences offer.
However should there be a breach, as unlikely as that may be, the potential effects have been described as somewhere between very serious and catastrophic.
The house price market reflects these issues and Canvey Islanders appear content to weigh up the risk accordingly.

What is reasonable for residents to expect is that in the event of a flood the emergency rescue services and the responder agencies have adequate ability and capacity to cope with the consequences of an event.

The Environment Agency are a statutory consultee for any house planning proposal presented to Castle Point Borough Council. Their obligation is to consider whether an application is acceptable, as Canvey Island is regarded as being within a 3A Flood Risk Zone.
As part of their response they will point out that, should they find a particular proposal acceptable, it is solely the Council’s responsibility to research and consider whether they can commit to the future occupants’safety.

There is a big difference between the EA having “no objection” within their remit, and a proposal receiving full approval having considered all aspects.
Something the Development Committee would do well to consider!

The safety policy of Castle Point Borough Council in the event of a flood, whilst not widely advertised, is for victims to Go in, Stay in and Tune in.

The significance of this is that the potential effects of a flood renders the option of an evacuation as being outside of the realms of safe practice for Canvey residents!

In other words, too dangerous to undertake.

Clearly this would leave residents living in one of the many bungalows or static caravans on Canvey Island in a particular quandary
The Environment Agency suggest that advice is sought from the “blue light services and the Emergency Planner before the Development Committee approve new development.
From webcam footage of the Development Committee meetings it can be seen that possibly insufficient time is spent discussing this topic and Officers advice is, almost blindly, accepted in the drive to reach the housing targets required for the new Local Plan!

Whilst no objection should be forthcoming where a re-development of an existing brown field site is concerned, intensification of sites appears to be equally acceptable.

This is despite the Council considering “The need to maintain the population living in the flood risk zone at current levels or lower;” as a part of it’s sustainability responsibilities.

You may be aware that the “golden thread” running through the National Planning Policy Framework is the presumption in favour of sustainable development.
Incrementally increasing the population of Canvey Island suggests an inconsistency with the NPPF.

In the event of a flood on Canvey Island the residents living in ground floor accommodation with no place of refuge must receive immediate assistance for their safety.
Other residents with safe refuge but with concerns for their own well being or special need or circumstances would prove a distraction to those giving assistance to residents without safe refuge.

The Essex Fire and Rescue Service are unable to support housing development proposals for Canvey Island due to limited resource issues.

This raises questions on the ability of responders’ abilities to cope with the possible extent of the problem.

However pressure is on the Council to prove that a 5 year housing supply exists to satisfy their new Local Plan.
Therefore the responsibility rests entirely upon the members of the Development Committee to ensure that a cautious approach is taken towards housing proposals for Canvey Island.