Tag Archives: Special Case

Now Claim Canvey Island as being a “Special Case!” Before CPBC Local Plan Revision!

Canvey Island – and – “The Special Case!”

Floods 2014 pic via Police Helicopter

View of Canvey Island flooding from Police Helicopter July 2014

Now, finally, a Court Ruling, relevant to Canvey Island that ALL RESIDENTS should now be seeking answers from those Castle Point Council members, who have long been purporting that, WHERE DEVELOPMENT IS CONCERNED – Canvey should be treated as a “Special Case!”

Shrugs, fob offs and “yes I know” are now no longer sufficient!

Answers are Due Now!

Since the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), the pair of leading cpbc officers, by leading their lesser minnows around by their noses, have recommended Approval of many inappropriate housing proposals for Canvey Island, some on Green Belt and ALL in a Flood Zone!

This under the officers insistance that the NPPF “must be read as a whole”.

Reading the NPPF as a “whole” is fine, PROVIDING it is being read correctly in the first Place!

Below is the relevant court ruling that should arm each and every Canvey Island councillor, and those members with the social conscience to stand as Borough councillors, in a position to influence Planning decisions and Local Plan making, with the tools necessary for a just society.

Yet again we, the Canvey Green Belt Campaign, reproduce and draw your attention to Paragraph 14 and Footnote 9 in particular;

14. At the heart of the National Planning Policy Framework is a presumption in favour of sustainable development, which should be seen as a golden thread running through both plan-making and decision-taking.
For plan-making this means that:

● local planning authorities should positively seek opportunities to meet the development needs of their area;

● Local Plans should meet objectively assessed needs, with sufficient flexibility to adapt to rapid change, unless: – any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in this Framework taken as a whole; or – specific policies in this Framework indicate development should be restricted.    9
For decision-taking this means:

10 ● approving development proposals that accord with the development plan without delay; and

● where the development plan is absent, silent or relevant policies are out-of-date, granting permission unless:  – any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in this Framework taken as a whole; or – specific policies in this Framework indicate development should be restricted.    9

Footnote 9 Reads;

9          For example, those policies relating to sites protected under the Birds and Habitats Directives (see paragraph 119) and/or designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest; land designated as Green Belt, Local Green Space, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Heritage Coast or within a National Park (or the Broads Authority); designated heritage assets; and locations at risk of flooding or coastal erosion.

The Court Ruling taken directly from the Local Government website Reads:

William Eichler 11 May 2017

Court delivers landmark ruling strengthening hand of local planners

Court delivers landmark ruling strengthening hand of local planners

A council in Cheshire has secured a ‘landmark ruling’ from the Supreme Court that will better protect green areas from speculative housing developments.

Cheshire East Council, along with Suffolk Coastal Council, argued guidance in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was being applied incorrectly.

The case arose from an application by Richborough Estates to build 170 homes on green gap land between Nantwich and Crewe at Willaston, which Cheshire East rejected.

However, the case went to court because the developers argued – drawing on the wording of the NPPF – that in some circumstances relevant policies for the supply of housing should be treated as ‘out of date.’

This they claimed included green gap land protection.

The judges upheld the developers appeal, but ruled that their specific argument was not legitimate.

The court judgement stated: ‘No one would naturally describe a recently approved green belt policy in a local plan as “out of date”, merely because the housing policies in another part of the plan fail to meet the NPPF objectives.’

Cheshire East Council said the judgement strengthened the hand of all local authorities seeking to protect green gap, green belt and other special sites.

‘This is a landmark ruling, achieved by Cheshire East, which will benefit planning authorities and town planners up and down the country,’ said council leader Rachel Bailey.

‘I am proud that this council had the courage to pursue this action.

‘This means that we can now better protect our local communities from speculative, unsustainable development by ensuring a proper approach to the application of planning policies.’

Flood Risk! Canvey Island – The “Special Case,” the Sequential Test and the time to Reconsider!

The Approval of Flats in Canvey Town Centre caused Canvey councillors to mention fears of flooding.

Usually levels of development in areas liable to Flood would be restricted through planning, by consideration of the Sequential Test. This Test proposes that inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding should be avoided by directing development away from areas at highest risk.

The effect of the policy approach of Castle Point council is to continue to increase the numbers of population at Risk of Flooding on Canvey Island.

CPBC justifies this by suggesting that “Canvey Island is a Distinctive Community. It has specific identified needs in terms of social, economic and physical regeneration, as well as housing.”

The result is that due to the 40% increase in population, since Canvey fell under the control of castle point council, there is a perpetual need for a never ending supply of Housing Development on the Island!

This is regardless that the Need for Housing is calculated as a Borough-wide figure.

The fact that it is admitted that there is “a need to maintain the population living in the flood risk zone at current levels or lower” on Canvey Island, has not deterred a reckless approach to the distribution of Housing Growth by the local authority!

This policy of increasing the numbers of population at Risk of Flooding and the deliberate manipulation of the Sequential Test stems from the efforts to label Canvey Island a “Special Case”!

Echo June 2008

DEVELOPERS seeking to build new homes on Canvey are being forced to think again because of growing fears about flooding.

The Environment Agency is resolutely pursuing its policy of recommending refusal of plans to build new homes on the island because Canvey is below sea level and therefore on a flood plain.

Castle Point Council is taking those recommendations to heart and rejecting applications for new homes, leaving some developers in limbo.

The council has pledged to continue upholding the Environment Agency’s recommendations until the results of a Government-initiated inquiry into flood plains publishes its findings.

The Government appointed Sir Michael Pitt to carry out the study, following catastrophic floods in Hull after heavy rainfall in June and July last year. It is likely the final report expected, this summer, will recommend tighter restrictions.

Ray Howard, Castle Point and Essex county councillor, said local authorities were reluctant to ignore the Environment Agency’s advice, while they are waiting for the results of the Pitt Report.

Mr Howard has received many letters from people struggling to build on Canvey.

He said: “It’s a big problem that needs to be looked at. We can’t have a blanket ban for building here.

“I believe Canvey is unique, as it has the best flood walls and flood water drainage system in the country.

“The flood plain rules should be relaxed for us.”

Last week localised flooding on the island, caused by heavy rainfall, affected hundreds of residents on the island.

But Mr Howard is convinced it is well protected against severe flooding from the Thames Estuary.

A total of £34 million was spent rebuilding Canvey’s sea walls in the 1970s and 1980s.

A further £6 million was spent last year on 14 giant pumps, spread around the island to force water back into the sea if the walls are ever breached.

Mr Howard said: “The reason Canvey is always considered high-risk is because of the 1953 flood.

“But back then the only sea defences were soil walls, built by the original Dutch settlers.”

Despite Mr Howard’s insistence that Canvey is well protected, the Environment Agency refused to budge from its policy of objecting to all new homes on flood plains.

Spokeswoman Rita Penman insisted the Environment Agency could not relax its planning guidelines for Canvey, even for special cases.

She said: “Although Canvey is well defended, the current understanding across the country is that if there are other areas not on the flood plains, they should be developed first.

“This is in the interests of everyone’s safety. We are therefore unable to recommend approval for any new developments on Canvey at the present time.”

Even if the Government report clears the way for new homes on flood plains, insurers are warning hundreds of thousands of homes built in high-risk areas may not qualify for insurance.

Nick Starling, the Association of British Insurers’ director of general insurance and health, said: “Poor planning decisions will lead to more homes becoming unsaleable, uninsurable and uninhabitable”

Consequently in 2007 a Planning committee meeting considered, and were asked to “Note” the freedoms of decision making that were pleaded for, and “seemingly” allowed by the Environment Agency, in considering Canvey a “Special Case” that has led to the abuse of the levels of development we continue to see proposed.

How things have changed, in such a short space of time!

Since then we have received a concerning Strategic Flood Risk Assessment for Canvey Island in 2010, and suffered two Surface Water Flooding Events during 2013 and 2014!

Whether a Planning committee should have the power to approve such a policy with the potential to impact Canvey Island, or whether members were all actually made aware of the policy’s implications, is dubious to say the least.

Whether the 2007 planning committee meeting decision to allow increasing levels of population at Risk should now be re-considered in the light of the ominous Flood Risk Assessment and the Flooding incidents, appears obvious!

Floods 2014

The Full text of the Echo article can be read HERE.

Proof that Canvey Island is indeed a Special Case! Death of the Regeneration scheme and (more) Flats set for Approval!

Yet MORE Flats for Canvey Island can be expected for Approval during next Tuesday’s, March 2017 meeting of the cpbc Development Committee.

The rights and wrongs will be the subject of some probably pointless discussion as flats and town centres seem to go together, yet some of the officer’s ramblings within the agenda paperwork are flimsy to say the least!

Using extracts lifted from the officers agenda paperwork, in italics:-

“Government’s clear expectation is that the answer to development and growth should wherever possible be ‘yes’, except where this would compromise the key sustainable development principles set out in national planning policy.”

Concerns around National Planning Policy are generally discounted where development and constraints of the type affecting Canvey are concerned.

There is a clear and recognised need for additional housing provision within the borough and as such a presumption in favour of the development of the site for residential purposes exists”

This makes a mockery of the Canvey being a “special case” argument. If it were truly to be treated as a “special case” the levels of development and population would have been examined, taking into account the Flood Risk, the location of the 2 Comah sites and the access / egress issues!

What “special case” means in Canvey’s respect is that development will be approved regardless of Constraints!

The site is within the town centre but not located within a primary shopping frontage. It is isolated from the nearby core retail area by reason of the busy one way road system of the town”

I am sorry I must be missing something here; I thought the site adjoined the High Street parade of retail premises, agreed it is a former dairy but since then has more laterly a DIY outlet.

CCA_news_img1_lrg

Photo Courtesy: canveycomesalive

However, whilst the Canvey Town Centre Master Plan is an adopted policy document it is at an embryonic stage and something of an aspirational document with limited commercial commitment. The proposals within the plan will not be delivered in the short or medium term and are unlikely to come to fruition in their current form”

This statement is quite some admittance from Castle Point council! After, what many residents claimed, many wasted years of council taxpayers money on maintaining a “Regeneration” shop in the Knightswick centre, it appears the Canvey Town Centre scheme is no further forward.

Used to support an ailing Core Strategy and Local Plan it is now accepted as an Aspirational, Long Term dream!

As pie in the sky as this scheme was, should not excuse the desire to improve the visual aspect of the Town Centre, contained within the Regeneration scheme.

Developers should be tied to providing a building design matching those contained within the regeneration scheme, before any development plans are accepted for consideration! A Plan of any Sort, in this case, would be better than None.

The development, along with the rest of Canvey Island, is located in Flood Zone 3 which has the highest probability of flooding. Whilst sequential testing aims to steer new development to the area with the lowest possible probability of flooding, it is an established principle that Canvey has development needs which need to be met on Canvey if the settlement is not to be economically blighted, therefore the sequential test is considered to be passed.”

The use of the term “accepted principle” as in the sentence above, is a Castle Point council preference used as a means to locate “additional housing provision within the borough” on Canvey Island rather than in more politically sensitive locations, it is not even a Policy!

“19 spaces are therefore required but only 12 are provided on site. However in town centre locations where there is good access to public transport and other facilities it would be appropriate for the planning authority to accept lower levels of parking provision.”

Records indicate that, whether in a Town Centre, or not, cpbc are content and consistent especially on Canvey Island, in permitting the under-supply of parking spaces.

This 3 storey development that could and should provide the perfect opportunity in a Flood Risk Zone, to use the Ground Floor as secure parking and utility space!

Canvey Island is indeed a “Special Case”!

Oh and by the way before you get too excited, an application for 10 dwellings need supply 0 (Zero) Affordable Dwellings.

 

 

 

Canvey Island “A Special Case”!

Whilst monitoring the lengths of effort being made by Persimmon to develop 275 houses on what is left of the Canvey Island, Dutch Village Green Belt, we came across an article from 2010, that puts these efforts into perspective.

Canvey_060309_1

Canvey Island, densely urbanised yet always room for more!

It refers to Flood Risk within the strategic planning of the Castle Point Council’s Core Strategy and reads;

At a special meeting called to give councillors (cpbc) a chance to scrutinise work on the document, Steve Rogers, head of regeneration and homes, said: “The ultimate decision will be with the inspector.

“We have asked him to acknowledge that Canvey is a special case.”

“The Environment Agency have acknowledged that the council has a point on that.”

He said the Environment Agency has acknowledged its negative position created a difficult situation of “preventing development on Canvey when we already have a population of 40,000 living there”.

Dave Blackwell, leader of the opposition Canvey Island Independent Party, questioned the council’s position.

He said: “It worries me that we are pressurising the Environment Agency to ease up on health and safety rules when it comes to flood risk, just to put more houses on Canvey.”

Mr Blackwell also asked if some of the caravans on Canvey’s Thorney Bay Caravan Park could be knocked off the borough’s 5,000 housing target after the Government’s Valuation Office Agency ruled last week 292 of the caravans are eligible for council tax.

But Mr Rogers said Health and Safety Executive rules about the proximity of the mobile homes to Oikos and Calor Gas meant it was not possible.

He said: “The reason is the nature of the dwellings and the location close to hazardous installations where normally residential development would not be permitted.”

Since this time the Dutch Village has been removed from the Local Plan2016 Housing Supply, despite this Persimmon’s persist in coercing the Environment Agency. Essex County Council the Lead Local Flood Authority, cpbc officers and councillors into allowing the development.

The site is within Green Belt and the 3A Flood Zone.

The Government state that the Green Belt is “absolutely sacrosanct”!

The Environment Agency comment; “Although Canvey Island is defended to a high standard of protection, it is at risk should there be a flood defence failure. This residual flood risk should be considered, as although the likelihood of it occurring is low, the consequences should it happen would be very high.”

The apparent determination of the developers and the latent support, from some quarters, for the continued planning of large scale development on Canvey Island is morally questionable in the very least!