Tag Archives: Sajid Javid

Politics preventing Intervention in the Castle Point Local Plan? Green Belt Development – IS A VOTE LOSER! Beware the Behind Closed Doors Meetings!

An Essex council threatened with intervention by central government for taking too long to prepare its local plan is unlikely to face Whitehall action, say observers, despite little apparent progress in the preparation of its development blueprint in the past six months.

In March 2018, Javid wrote to three councils, including Castle Point, saying they would face Whitehall scrutiny and possible intervention in their plan-making for failing to reach key “milestones” in their local plan timetables. With intervention in two of those – Wirral and Thanet – effectively ruled out in February, mystery has surrounded the status of the remaining plan being prepared by Castle Point Borough Council.

In November last year, councillors at Castle Point seemed to have brought the prospect of government intervention nearer when they rejected the latest version of their draft plan by the slimmest of majorities. The decision meant the council missed a deadline agreed with government to hold a public consultation on the plan. After the decision, commentators said ministers would feel under pressure to follow through on their threat to take over production of the plan.

However, eight months later, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has yet to announce any further action. When contacted by Planning, the MHCLG said it was sticking by the same line that it proffered in November last year that “an announcement will be made in due course”.

“The risks of any real intervention in local plans therefore seem very low” – “it will likely to take place in behind-the-scenes meetings with officials, rather than being played out in the public domain.”

It has also been quiet from the council on the plan-making front. The authority’s web page on the local plan has no update since last November’s meeting. It says that following the decision not to proceed with the plan, the council is “in discussions” with the MHCLG “in regards to the next steps”. A spokeswoman told Planning: “We are liaising with the department and continuing to develop a pre-submission plan. We are trying to get ourselves in shape to move forward.” Planning understands that Castle Point has agreed a revised timetable with government and will proceed with a slightly revised version of its draft plan, but the council was unable to confirm this or provide more details.

Unlike some other authorities, the May local elections has not threatened the plan’s progress. The council remains led by the Conservatives despite losing a couple of seats to independent candidates. David Scane, associate partner at Newgate Communications said the political make-up of the council could be a factor preventing intervention by the government. He said: “Politically, there will be very little appetite for a Conservative government to intervene in a Conservative-led authority in order to impose unpopular higher housing numbers as this would be an absolute gift to the opposition.”

Some sources suggest that Brexit has held up central government progress, with the eyes of the civil service focused on bigger issues. David Bainbridge, planning partner at property consultancy Bidwells, said a lack of capacity in the MHCLG could be playing its part. He said: “There should be plenty of appetite for this, but MHCLG hasn’t got the resources to parachute in a team to prepare a local plan. It needs an organisation to do this.”

He suggests that the only likely candidate to fulfil this role would be Essex County Council, with which former communities secretary Sajid Javid said in his 2018 letter that he had discussed such a course of action. However, rather than formal intervention by Essex, Scane said a less confrontational solution may be found. “My suspicion is that the issue will be slightly fudged and incorporated into the South Essex joint spatial plan process, the next stage of which is due for review at the start of 2020.”

Consultant Catriona Riddell, strategic planning specialist for the Planning Officers’ Society and an advisor to Castle Point and other south Essex authorities on their emerging joint strategic plan, said the threat of intervention seems to have evaporated. She said: “There does not appear to be any genuine attempt by the secretary of state to intervene over any local plans and we are nearly two years and three secretary of states on from the initial letter announcing the naughty list and intentions to exercise powers of intervention. The risks of any real intervention in local plans therefore seem very low.”

Scane agreed, saying he does not believe that there was ever very much appetite for intervention in any of the identified local authorities, with the initial letters “serving as a warning rather than a statement of intent”. He added: “If MHCLG does intend to continue with the local plan intervention programme, it will likely to take place in behind-the-scenes meetings with officials, rather than being played out in the public domain.”

“WATCH THIS SPACE”

Content: Planning Resource

With thanks to: Basildon Residents Against Inappropriate Development

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Fears Mount as Castle Point Council Election Candidates Concede loss of Green Spaces? Local Plan Intervention decision being Supressed?

Listen, don’t mention the Local Plan! I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it alright. (PA Photo/BBC)

With the threat of continued inappropriate Housing and Business development on Canvey Island and across Castle Point generally, we have to ask “Are our Local Politicians now less committed to Saving our Green Belt and green spaces?”

As the CPBC Lead group of prospective Councillors release their Election Addresses on social media, it appears they may well be!

Of the 10 Lead group Candidates, shockingly only 3 candidates have even mentioned Development on Green Belt!

This includes one candidate who has declared an interest and is excluded from participating in the Local Plan process! Even then, none mention fighting for Green Belt as a Constraint on Housing and Business Development!

The Commitment from just 3 of the 10 lead group candidates amounts to:

“I will continue to oppose any development in our Green Belt that doesn’t provide homes for our residents and Government Funded Infrastructure Support.”

“Overbuilding must never threaten our area or our beautiful undeveloped Green Belt land.”

And coincidentally, as if written by the same hand;

“Overbuilding must never threaten our area or our beautiful undeveloped Green Belt land.”

Our concern must be that while a Local Election fast Approaches, Bad News of the Government’s intention to Intervene in the Castle Point Local Plan, is being Suppressed from Residents!

In November 2017, 15 Councils including Castle Point BC were served notice that the Government had begun the formal process of intervention in their Local Plan. The letter to cpbc commencing, “Following your Council’s persistent failure over many years to get a Local Plan in place, on 16 November 2017, I expressed concerns about the lack of progress your authority has made on plan-making.”

Following on from receiving a letter from the CPBC leader,  SoS Sajid Javid responded by rejecting CPBC’s lengthy attempts to placate, by informing within a letter dated 23rd March 2018 “My officials will also begin formal discussions on the options of inviting Essex County Council to prepare a Local Plan for Castle Point and with the neighbouring authorities on the possibility of directing an accelerated Joint Plan, as part of considering whether to use my statutory powers and if so which ones.”

Twelve of the least tardy miscreant local authorities appeared to have done enough to fall off of the Government’s radar except, CPBC, the Wirral and Thanet local authorities.

Accordingly during January 2019, The Secretary of State, James Brokenshire, informed the Wirral and Thanet LA’s, that “Having considered Thanet and the Wirral’s performance against the Local Plan intervention criteria, I am satisfied that intervention action is justified.”

However Castle Point Borough Council, 4 whole months after Refusing to Approve the 2018 version of the CPBC Local Plan and 18 months after originally being served Notice, “appear” not to have heard whether Intervention will be imposed upon the Borough!

 It is highly concerning for Castle Point Council to “act” as though no word has been received from the Government as to whether Intervention has been imposed upon us. It may be perhaps convenient that no implementation of Intervention should be imposed ahead of the Local Elections, this would not make for a leader’s “Good News” story!

It may be a total coincidence that neither the Wirral nor Thanet are conservative controlled Boroughs. Come what may, the fact that the CPBC Lead Group, once so vociferous in their defence of Virgin Green Belt and Green Spaces against Development, now appear on paper to be less committed. The concern must be that those prospective Candidates, not wanting to be associated with Bad News so likely to be announced soon after the Election, are content with the level, or lack of, Development in their own neighbourhoods, and are resigned to being forced to adopt the 2018 Local Plan!

A Reminder, in the Graphic below, for prospective local Councillors of the importance that the Electorate places on Green Belt and its protection through the Election process.

Castle Point Local Plan Intervention – No Exclusion Zone! Are we being Misled ahead of May elections, or are we in Safe Hands?

The fear of Government Intervention over Castle Point Council, hangs over the Borough like some big Bogey Man in a Nightmare!

maco

I have seen it quoted on social media that “No Housing” is not an option for our Area.

The Secretary of State, having read cpbc’s explanation as to why they were amongst the 15 local authorities causing him most concern over their Local Plan replied, “In terms of the intervention criteria, Castle Point appears to have failed to make progress on plan-making, the policies do not appear to be up to date and there is high housing pressure. Given that your Council has said it will not produce a Local Plan until after the Joint Plan has been produced and that the Joint Plan is not due to be submitted until 2020 it appears possible that Plan production could be accelerated through intervention.”

And yet the cpbc leader Cllr riley suggests under the Echo introduction – NOT a single house in Castle Point should be built until plans for infrastructure has been in put in place, a council leader has claimed – despite the threat of government intervention looming over his head.

“We have never had the infrastructure contributions we should have had in Castle Point, and we are now in this position.” “They go hand in hand and we have been prioritising the infrastructure, and I think most of our residents would appreciate that.”

The previous attempts at a Local Plan, first saw Canvey Island basically stitched up to provide the Dutch Village Green Belt release for the Borough’s Housing Supply, then the Challis, Stanley, Smith 2014 Plan to again promote the Dutch Village release but this time to also include contentious mainland green belt sites.

There followed a massive reaction from Green Belt campaign groups on the mainland that came to a head at the local elections which saw a rise in ukip voting with the unseating of the then cpbc leader Cllr Challis.

Since then a 2016 Plan has been found to fail the Duty to Cooperate. Criticism has also been aimed at the lack of proposed Housing Numbers contained in the Plan. With some members of the Lead Group apparently suggesting that the officers failed to note the wish amongst some council members that the Blinking Owl should be released from the green belt so as to contribute to the Housing Supply.

This is an isolated site that is in need of infrastructure which may be what Cllr Riley had in mind.

The timing of the press response alongside the lack of information from cpbc as to the procedures of the Local Plan and the Intervention, may be an invite to speculate that Intervention is more likely than not.

What you make of the competency of the Local Plan makers is for you to decide.

Local Plan making is expected to:

“Local Plans should be aspirational but realistic. They should address the spatial implications of economic, social and environmental change.”

“Local Plans should set out the opportunities for development and clear policies on what will or will not be permitted and where. Only policies that provide a clear indication of how a decision maker should react to a development proposal should be included in the plan.”

“Local planning authorities should set out the strategic priorities for the area in the Local Plan. This should include strategic policies to deliver: ● the homes and jobs needed in the area;”

“the provision of retail, leisure and other commercial development; ● the provision of infrastructure for transport, telecommunications, waste management, water supply, wastewater, flood risk and coastal change management, ”

“Local planning authorities with Green Belts in their area should establish Green Belt boundaries in their Local Plans which set the framework for Green Belt and settlement policy. ”

” When drawing up or reviewing Green Belt boundaries local planning authorities should take account of the need to promote sustainable patterns of development.”

Given the concerns of some Castle Point Residents and Green Belt campaigners fearing that Intervention would remove local interests, concerns and input from the Planning process, it is good to hear this official message regarding the current situation:

From the Horses Mouth:

“Castle Point has failed to convince the Secretary of State that they are doing enough to get a Local Plan in place.

A final decision is still to be made and will be made once the Chief Planner, Steve Quartermain has provided the Secretary of State with further advice on the current status of Local Plan production and what can be done to speed it up.

If intervention were to occur then a Local Plan that meets all of the necessary legal and procedural requirements would be produced which would include consulting with members of the local community.” 

Link to the Echo article is HERE.

Are Castle Point Councillors booked in for Castration? Are Nimby’s going into Extinction alongside Dinosaurs? CPBC Planning, 2018 version!

With Castle Point council indicating no Development Control meeting scheduled for March 2018 and confusion over the April meeting, there could be an indication that all is not well where Planning is concerned at our local authority!

Housing

Luckily our local newspaper, the Echo, has not picked up on this as cpbc may well have been made to reveal some difficult reasoning as to, not only, what is behind these meetings being cancelled, but also why Residents involvement in the Planning Process is being censored!  (see the link HERE.)

Clearly there is a move to apply a level of Autocratic control over planning in Castle Point, whether this has come from instruction from the Government department or the back offices of Runnymede Towers, we await answers!

There is either plotting being undertaken to prevent Government Intervention in Castle Point council, and / or the cpbc Development Control committee are seen by the cpbc officers as being the Root of the Problem!

Previously the Regional Spatial Strategies were the root of all problems where Housing Need numbers were concerned, causing Castle Point council to put forward Canvey Island Green Belt as the only sites that should be unconstrained by the GB policy!

Now it appears that the Joint Spatial Plan, supposedly emerging via the Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA), is the New Driver behind the next New Local Plan.

However this appears less Open and Transparent, as little feedback from meetings and works carried out is made public.

Is it a case of if our representatives are cut out of the equation and work is carried out by officers and the Leader and his close colleagues, more planning is likely to be Approved and successful in Castle Point?

Where you might ask, the ECHO, and our local representatives, is the Castle Point council response to the Government threat of Intervention that was due to be delivered by the end of January?

In November 2017 Sajid Javid MP Secretary of State wrote to Castle Point Council to instruct:-

“The February 2017 Housing White Paper set out that we will prioritise intervention where:

* the least progress in plan-making has been made

* policies in plans had not been kept up to date

* there was higher housing pressure; and

* intervention would have the greatest impact in accelerating Local Plan production

My decisions on intervention will also be informed by the wider planning context in each area (specifically, the extent to which authorities are working cooperatively to put strategic plans in place, and the potential impact that not having a plan has on neighbourhood planning activity).” 

Now in March 2018 Sajid Javid follows up with further pressure on local authorities with these instructions, as interpreted by the BBC News:-

“Nimby councils” in England that fail to build enough new homes, or allow them to be built, could be stripped of planning powers, Housing Secretary Sajid Javid has warned.
Councils will be told how many homes a year must be built and inspectors will step in if that does not happen.
Mr Javid told the Sunday Times he would be “breathing down” the necks of local authorities to ensure targets are met.
However, Labour accused the government of “eight years of failure on housing”.
On Monday, the government will announce an overhaul of planning rules in an attempt to increase the rate of house building in England.
‘Market prices’
A new planning policy framework will contain new rules to determine how many homes councils must build – taking into account local house prices, wages and key worker numbers.
Higher targets will be set for areas where house prices outstrip annual earnings.
House price calculator: Where can I afford to rent or buy?
Your biggest financial decision – in charts
Reality Check: How does renting a home in the UK compare?
“For the first time it will explicitly take into account the market prices,” Mr Javid told the Sunday Times.
“If you are in an area where the unaffordability ratio is much higher you will have to build even more. It will make clear to councils that this number is a minimum, not a maximum.”
He said councils would also be held to account on house-building promises they make.
Mr Javid said councils that fail to meet targets will be stripped of the right to decide what is built within their boundaries, with inspectors making decisions instead.

Prime Minister Theresa May told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show the government would “release more public sector land” to facilitate more building of homes.
She added: “We’re saying to councils you’ve got to take local communities into account, you’ve got to ensure you’ve got a proper plan for your local area. If you haven’t got it the government will intervene.”
Nimby – short for “not in my backyard” – is a term that originated in the US but became popular in the UK from the 1980s to describe people who routinely object to any proposed development near their homes that might affect property values.
It is not often applied to towns or councils as a whole but Mr Javid said his new rules were designed to stop “Nimby councils that don’t really want to build the homes their local community needs” from fudging the numbers in their area.
“We have a housing crisis in this country. We need a housing revolution,” he added.
Mr Javid also revealed plans to build up to five new towns between Oxford and Cambridge.
“Along that corridor there’s an opportunity to build at least four or five garden towns and villages with thousands of homes,” he added.

Castle Point Leader drops Gov. Minister Green Belt Bombshell! Whilst Canvey is Carved Up and expected to put trust in behind closed doors meetings!

It would appear insensitive, lacking openness and transparency and disrespectful for Canvey Island Town Council, as representative of the largest Town in Castle Point, to have not been invited nor allowed representation, in even an observational capacity, at the “collaborative” local area Planning meetings being undertaken by cpbc,  Basildon, Brentwood, Rochford, Southend–on-Sea, Thurrock and Essex County Councils.

These meetings fall under the umbrella of work “to create a vision and sense of place for South Essex through the Association of South Essex Local Authorities”.

More fundamentally it is the South Essex Local Authorities attempt to fulfill their failed efforts to Cooperate within their Local Plan processes.

During last weeks cpbc Special Council meeting, we heard from the ceo that both the Local Plan work and the work of the Association of South Essex Local Authorities, or ASELA for short,  are Intrinsically linked.

Carving

Canvey Island on the Menu

BEWARE! 

If you find yourself at the Dinner Table, without having received an Invitation,

It is very likely that you will be forming part of the Menu!

With Canvey Island currently supplying the largest sites of both Housing and Business Development in Castle Point, it is requiring almost foolhardy trust, given the previous track records, for Canvey residents to simply accept their interests are being represented to the best of cpbc Leader and officers ability!

The Leader said during the Special Council meeting that up until ASELA commenced working, cpbc was considered as “small fish” amongst south Essex councils. Off the bottom of the list, and having to fight tooth and nail to keep, schemes such as, Fairglen Interchange in the frame.

In effect Islanders are having to put our trust in Cllr Riley’s word, in reporting back to his confidents at cpbc.

Remember that no updates of work achieved or fulfilled have been made public, nor updates on how any agreements will impact upon the intrinsically linked Local Plan, with its Housing Need and Distribution of Housing Growth causing concern to many.

With Cllr Riley’s calling for trust in council members and residents alike, it was most surprising then to hear him state during the council meeting, that he himself held no trust in the Government’s Secretary of State, Sajid Javid, of whom he claimed, he didn’t “believe the minister cares whether we build on our green belt or not”!

In fairness to Cllr Riley his concerns may have some “legs”, as despite the SoS dismissing the Jotmans Farm, Benfleet development Appeal, he did so only on the day of the commencement of the Period of Purdah ahead of the General Election 2017! *

Residents may remember that the Jotmans Appeal was conducted during September 2015, so the decision was with the SoS for likely over 18 months awaiting his decision. No doubt he would have had in mind the progress being made with the cpbc Local Plan before making his decision, however since then he has reacted by placing cpbc on his list of 15 most local authorities likely to face Government Intervention! More recently, Sajid Javid’s ministry has been renamed to that of “Housing, Communities and Local Government”!

In the meantime, we wonder what Wheeling and Dealing goes on at these ASELA gatherings, Canvey Island residents with no representatives present, if we were informed, would learn 3rd hand at best!

* LINK to Jotmans Appeal decision

 

‘Allo, ‘Allo, ‘Allo, what’s Going on Here Then? Castle Point Brownfield Register applying pressure on Green Belt Development? Every Little Counts!

Why, if there is such a Desire to Protect Green Field Land in our Borough, is Castle Point Council’s Brownfield Land Register nothing short of Paltry?

2017-12-16

Despite, yet another, “cross-party Member Working Group” having been established by cpbc cabinet to prepare and consult on the Brownfield Register prior to its publication the outcome of the working work, is a List of just 20 sites capable of yielding upwards of 254 new Dwellings across the whole Borough!

This Register doesn’t even indicate 1 Year’s worth of sites towards the Borough’s Housing Need!

AND yet, we learn via news in the Echo, that cpbc were in receipt of a Planning Proposal for the Benfleet High Road, Police Station site two weeks prior to the Council meeting in which the Brownfield Register was considered and approved by members!

The police station site was not recorded in the Brownfield Register, nor was the proposed housing numbers added to the total!

The cpbc meeting’s Agenda paperwork also indicated;

“This report provides the Council with a summary of the work undertaken following that resolution and recommends that Part 1 of the Castle Point Brownfield Land Register be published.

It also explains why there no sites to be carried forward into Part 2 of the Register which would then have benefited from “Permission in Principle”.

With typical cpbc Lack of Transparency little explanation as to why none of the, Castle Point Brownfield sites with potential for development, were entered into Part 2 of the Brownfield Register, those the “working group” considered able to grant Permission in Principle.

Whilst those sites listed in Part 1 of the Brownfield Register mainly have yet to receive development applications, the reasons given as to why no sites were even considered for Part 2 and given permission in Principle for development appeared to be down to;

(cpbc) “must also carry out consultation, notification and publicity in accordance with regulations”

And that,

“Furthermore, Canvey Island is within Flood Risk Zone 3a, and as such planning applications for residential development normally require a Flood Risk Assessment. Advice is awaited from the Environment Agency as to if and how the Council could go about addressing this requirement before proceeding to consider any sites on Canvey Island for inclusion on the Part 2 of the Register”

The reliance and the preference for Canvey Island as the part of the Borough preferred for Land released for Development, appears clear!

However past record suggests that cpbc will not allow Flood Risk of any type to be a Constraint to development where Canvey Island is concerned.

Unusual then that work on Part 2 of the Brownfield Register was not undertaken.

The question as to why the Police Station site in High Road Benfleet had not been entered onto the Brownfield Register, part 1 or part 2, especially as the police have indicated they will no longer have use for it with their drive for cut-backs, may seem especially puzzling.

An explanation may lie in the Agenda paperwork which announced;

“A Government grant of £14,600 was received late in the last financial year (2016/17) for Brownfield Register and “Permission in Principle” work.

This grant has not yet been allocated and could therefore be applied to fund the consultation costs”

Every little £ Helps indeed, especially when it appears not to be ring fenced monies.

The cpbc Brownfield Register indicates possible development sites capable of developing between 1 and 54 dwellings, in direct contrast to a report by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) which indicates that local authorities “Brownfield Land Registers are failing to record smaller sites that could collectively accommodate nearly 200,000 new homes across England.”

It appears that cpbc have, with the minimal amount of work and effort, undertaken a process to fulfil a commitment as required by Government, rather than an exhaustive effort to indicate preferred sites for development.

On the face of it the Register due to inconsistency and scope provides ammunition suitable to be used to suggest that Castle Point Green field and Green Belt land is required to fulfill housing needs.

Yet another cpbc Local Plan Assessment lacking effort and commitment?

The full CPRE report can be read by following the Link below:

CPRE LINK HERE.

Photograph: Copyright Google Earth

Castle Point Councillors – Intervention and Fear, should they continue defying Logic! Local Planning under Duress. UPDATED

Fear and Intimidation appeared to be the message to Canvey Island and Castle Point councillors as they come to consider in Secret, the implications of being listed by Secretary of State Sajid Javid over their lack of progress on a Local Plan, and being  in danger of Government Intervention!

At the December 2017 council meeting the cpbc Chief Executive made clear that unless either good progress is being made regarding the Duty to Cooperate, or clear constraints are recorded in the reply to the Secretary of State as to why progress isn’t being made, Intervention is likely.

The CEO stated that he neither wished to, nor expected to be put in the position of drawing up the new Local Plan, whichever version is now being worked on.

Instead Intervention would likely be taken by an outside body, for instance the Planning Inspectorate, a specialist organisation or perhaps even those south Essex councils working collectively on the Duty to Cooperate.

If it doesn’t already this should Ring Alarm Bells for those Residents living on the mainland!

You may ask why those Residents in particular?

Well, during the cpbc Core Strategy process, during 2009 Baker Associates appointed to consider the Sustainability Assessment on the Housing Site selection process drew attention to their being puzzled, as to why cpbc should overlook choosing for development, the Borough’s Highest Scoring Sustainable site. They wrote;

The review of the outcomes of the site assessment revealed the site scoring highest against the assessment sustainability criteria has not been allocated.

This site is greenfield land to the east of Rayleigh Road.

Neither the DPD or site assessment process gives a justification for this site not being allocated. 

The Sustainability Assessment suggests that the allocation of this site could have preferable implications for sustainable development than other “mainland” allocations.

This Appraisal extract gives clear indication of how a planning consultant, and most likely the Planning Inspectorate would apply a logical approach to Housing Site Allocation, should they be appointed as a Local Plan Intervention measure!

Similarly, as Baker Associates were responding to a cpbc report, one must consider it most likely that a similar approach would be taken by cpbc officers if they were appointed to undertake compiling the next version of the cpbc Local Plan!

An Inspector, should one be required to Intervene and produce a Local Plan may likely produce one completely undesirable to mainland councillors preferences. Remember these comments from an Inspector;

Additional material…

“An exercise was then carried out to objectively assess these sites against a number of criteria. I have reservations about the methodology employed and the way in which it appears to have been used, leading to inconsistent and inappropriate site selection. For example, the Council’s own Sustainability Appraisal is unclear as to why the most sustainable Green Belt site was discounted.”

“I therefore consider the Council needs to revisit its assessment of Green Belt locations paying particular regard to the five purposes of the Green Belt as set out in PPG2. I accept that other considerations will also influence the choice of sites but potential locations should not be dismissed because local factors are given too much weight. This appears to have happened previously.”

“The Council’s desire to protect its Green Belt areas is understandable but its approach has also had a considerable bearing on the overall distribution of growth promoted in the Core Strategy. In this respect, I consider it would be difficult to endorse a strategy which commits to Green Belt release in an area of potential high flood risk at Canvey Island….”

“While I accept some development at Canvey Island may be required to meet local needs and to support services, I am not convinced that maintaining the current distribution of development across the Borough is justified given the existing constraints.”

The above comments highlight the desired distribution of Housing Growth across “certain” parts of the Borough of lead group members and is indicative of the perceived use of Canvey Island to their retention of control of cpbc.

The latest drive is to seek out Brownfield sites to supply the new Housing Allocation.

The Brownfield site list drawn up by cpbc and included alongside the council meeting’s Agenda paperwork indicated a minimum of 254 dwellings on sites achieving the required criteria.
This supply was contained in Part 1 of the Brownfield Register.

No sites were put forward as being eligible for Part 2 of the Register, those having been granted by cpbc, Permission to develop in Principle.

The chief explanation given for this being;

“Canvey Island is within Flood Risk Zone 3a, and as such planning applications for residential development normally require a Flood Risk Assessment. Advice is awaited from the Environment Agency as to if and how the Council could go about addressing this requirement before proceeding to consider any sites on Canvey Island for inclusion on the Part 2 of the Register”

img_0802

It appears that behind the scenes there remains a refusal to apply development Constraints equally across the Borough, the focus has been and remains Canvey Island, where development is concerned!

Interestingly no specific reasons for sites in other areas of Castle Point not being granted Permission in Principle and inclusion in Part 2 of the Register were given. Presumably they were covered by the caveat “a decision on whether to grant “Permission in Principle” to a site must be made in accordance with relevant policies in the development plan unless there are material considerations”

For the record the Brownfield list may, just, fulfil one years development supply of Castle Point’s required 5 Year Housing Supply requirement!

The Paddocks site, was not included in the Brownfield site Register, possibly because, as we were informed by Cllr smith, all options are open and no decision has yet been made whether to demolish or carry out much needed work on the building!

Interestingly during the council meeting a question about the total sum estimated to renovate the Paddocks was raised by Cllr Campagna, to which we the council leader explained that the £1million+ is a figure estimated to be required spending over the next 20 Years, and NOT as we were allowed to believe by Cllr smith at the Canvey Community meeting, required immediately!

The Blinking Owl site, seemingly the answer to the mainland’s Housing Supply requirement is excluded from the Brownfield Register.

This site first made public during March 2014 appears yet to have had a firm development application proposed to cpbc.

A Local Plan Examiner would be more likely to take the Blinking Owl venture seriously, should there have been some development proposals for parts of this site already on the table, but there is not!

Duty to Cooperate work is ongoing with cpbc being represented by the council leader, his deputy and senior officer/s. It appears that officers are applying the results of the DtC work into a newest Local Plan.

Should the efforts of this cpbc delegation be found worthy and Government Intervention be avoided, in the least the cpbc Local Plan will represent a localised extract of a South Essex Regional Plan. Ironically Regional Spatial Strategies were abolished after 6 years in 2010.

The newest Local Plan version may bear severe repercussions should the cpbc council choose not to approve, given the Duty to Cooperate work being carried out by cpbc leader and officers.!

A meeting will be held in secret at cpbc, to presumably inform councillors of the Duty to Cooperate progress and the Fears of Intervention, during this week.

Castle Point is not the only local authority failing to find enough Brownfield site to fulfil their immediate Housing Needs. More can be read via this LINK.