Tag Archives: The Paddocks

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!

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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.

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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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The Paddocks Future remains in the Balance. Residents appear unconvinced by Cabinet Assurances!

Canvey Island Residents were treated to an explanation of the future intentions for the Paddocks Community Hall by the cpbc cabinet member for regeneration  during a Community meeting on the 9th October.

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The Paddocks community centre, Canvey Island

Apparently all options are open and a report from consultants is awaited.

Promises to approximately 150 residents in attendance, were given that a Hall would remain on site as would the war memorial.

The underlying prospect is that there appears an unwillingness to commit £1,600,000 on a refurbishment. This figure appears to be an update on the cpbc estimate of March this year of £500,000.

A substantial figure of £4-5 million was mentioned for a new Hall and the impression given, albeit unconfirmed, this is the preferred choice of direction. A new smaller Hall funded by development of Housing (Flats) and the relocation of extra Health Service facilities into the existing NHS building already on site.

Residents should be aware that other local authority owned building and land in the Borough, especially on Canvey Island, will also be examined as to how best to release assets and improve the broken Housing Market. The Government scheme to encourage this land release was covered by the FT in a 2016 article;

Councils to sell £129m of land and property

Thirty-two authorities identify land to build 9,000 homes in first phase of Cabinet Office scheme. Councils will sell £129m of land and property in the early stages of what the government hopes will become a much wider push to raise cash from assets, helping to mitigate budget cuts. In England, 32 local authorities have identified land to build 9,000 homes in the first phase of a Cabinet Office scheme to encourage public sector bodies to reassess their land and property holdings to cut running costs and raise money from sales. Another 100 councils have recently signed up to the scheme.

Photograph: Copyright John Rostron

 

Echo ‘Why press freedom is vital in our democracy,’ except where Castle Point Council is Concerned?

Are Castle Point Council preparing the first steps to demolish the Paddocks?

Could it also be that Canvey Island residents are being Censored by the Echo Newspaper on Behalf of Castle Point council?

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Following the exhaustive Leveson judicial public inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press,  the Echo Under a banner Headline proclaimed; 

‘Why press freedom is vital in our democracy’

“Imagine a world where newspapers were unable to challenge hospitals over care and councils over spiralling costs.”

“Imagine a world where newspapers were fearful of taking their MPs to task over government policies.”

We must wholeheartedly support their dedication to democracy on this issue, especially on many occasions the Echo’s investigative journalism has in the past exposed many important issues.

However it has been brought to our attention that perhaps all may not be quite so transparent!

A Canvey resident has informed us of a letter he sent to the Echo regarding his concerns over Castle Point council’s approach towards certain issues.

The Resident apparently persisted with enquiries as to why the letter had not been published, and only following contact from the Echo to verify his credentials, did the letter eventually appear in the Letters column!

Why would the Echo delay in publishing a Canvey resident’s letter on a Castle Point matter, rather than reproducing at the time the information was topical?

This is not the first occasion, as at least one of the Canvey Green Belt Campaign group’s letters was also only printed following re-submission.

Now we learn of  yet another Letter from a different Canvey resident that has also been delayed from publication.

This time querying Castle Point council’s intentions for the Paddocks!

The Canvey Resident’s letter explained fears that, despite the reassurances of cllr Smith, concern remained for the continued existence of the Paddocks Hall, the number of Car Parking spaces already shared with the Health Centre and the possibility of the partial release of the site for more Town Centre Flats!

Once again this resident has not had his letter published, and has needed to write again, And then a third time, to ask the Echo staff to explain, WHY NOT?

We appreciate that what the Echo publish, or chose to omit, is entirely their perogative, but surely the Echo do not have to run a letter’s content past the powers that be at Castle Point council!

We note there is never a glut of Letters from Canvey residents printed in the Echo columns, whilst there are certain contributors that appear to find it easy to have their letters approved on a regular, often too regular, basis, despite many topics verging on being considered banal, or even more suited to a National Publication!

Maybe there is even a “Sensitive” Warning Alarm Bell that rings on the Echo Letters Desk when a Letter is received from a Canvey Island address?

The Echo asked us to “Imagine a world where newspapers were unable to challenge …councils.”

Is there a Transparency issue regarding Echo Editorial content and Castle Point Council?

We sincerely trust not!

If certain contributions from Canvey residents are becoming too sensitive for the Echo editor or Castle Point council for immediate publication, then there needs to be a closer inspection of what is considered “challenging” and yet fit for publication in Print, weighed against what appears on the Echo website!

The Echo allows, and fails to remove spurious, damaging and possibly libellous accusations of the receipt of “Brown Envelopes” and Back-handers, aimed at our Castle Point councillors, published under pseudonyms, to remain visible on the newspaper’s website!

And yet Canvey residents have difficulty in legitimately calling into question Castle Point council cabinet decisions, through the Echo Letters column!

Image credit: Shutterstock