Tag Archives: Thurrock Council

Canvey Island – Congestion – 3rd Access Road – Daily Commute – No Sign of Relief as Major Infrastructure improvements remain, Aspirational!

Have you wondered why London hasn’t an Eastbound Motorway similar to the west of London.

East houses the business and production areas along with the urbanised towns, almost merging with each other, whereas to the west is a lot more land space and the holiday routes.

On the A127 it is difficult to measure the traffic level.

What I mean is that it is distorted by being just 2 lanes and has purposely retained slow down mechanisms, namely the fortune of war roundabout, and the poorly, and the economically designed short slip roads, which slows down traffic flows often to a Halt!

Chelmsford is looking after the mid and north of the county routes, intentionally leaving the south and thameside local authorities to seek other funding streams which are barely forthcoming.

Hence the piecemeal patchwork upgrades to the a13 and the lack of improvements to the a127.

Is it a deliberate ploy by Essex County Council to segregate us from them, in the knowledge that Thameside areas under the will of “The Association of South Essex Local Authorities” intends to become more and more intensely urbanised, acting as a buffer to keep mid and north essex leafier and more better funded off the back of us!

The “improvements” on the local major arteries have been piecemeal and catastrophic. The A127 being basically neglected for the last 40 years as for the A13 we need only to consider the sections of lane widening such as now only just commencing at Stanford at the same time as the seemingly continual repairs to the substandard construction of the Sadlers farm Junction.

Locally the incomplete Roscommon Way, the 2nd phase being completed to vastly reduced lifetime standards, whilst the continually promised 3 road off Canvey Island, remains after all of this time an “A”spiration. (Is that what they mean by an “A” road?).

Meanwhile Parliament got in on the act by holding a discussion on the road infrastructure of Essex in Westminster Hall.

Speakers included Priti Patel, Mark Francois, Graham Stringer chair, James Duddbribge, Will Quince, Rachel Maskell, Jesse Norman Min of State Dept of Transport.

Some of the debate included, with no names attached to quotations, but you will note the early emphasis on Mid and North of the County, and you can contemplate this as you sit in your nearest Traffic Jam, in the clear Knowledge that Nothing Will be Done Soon to Improve the Situation!:

“Over the past decade there has been a 25% increase in the number of enterprises across Essex. In 2010, that number stood at 61,540. By 2018 it had risen to 77,365.”

“it is not only individuals who depend on our transport sector, but businesses and everyone else. Essex has a strong advanced manufacturing and engineering sector that employs over 50,000 people in over 4,200 companies.”

“In the county of Essex, farming alone is worth over £400 million to our economy and employs over 8,000 people.”

“every year enough wheat to make 1.3 billion loaves of bread, enough barley to make 280 million pints of beer, and 150 million eggs. We also grow outdoor vegetables on 5,000 acres of land, so roads and transport are important”

we have 66,000 professionals in Essex, so it is important that we continue to grow and support them. We have a dynamic academic and educational sector, with Writtle University College, Anglia Ruskin University and the University of Essex”

“We have over 1,000 acres of port-adjacent, tri-modally connected logistics and distribution sites, which are the backbone of our economy, ​and we are connected by road, rail, sea and air to global markets. We have four major seaports—London Gateway, Tilbury, Harwich and Purfleet—with a fifth major port, Felixstowe, just over the border in Suffolk. There are also six port-side rail freight terminals and three key tri-modal logistic sites at London Gateway and the London distribution park.”

“our airports: Stansted, which is the UK’s third largest air freight hub by capacity, and Southend airport. Those airports are not just growing, but experiencing considerable passenger growth and, in the case of Stansted, benefiting from private sector investment to the tune of £600 million.”

“One statistic says it all: it is not surprising to learn that Essex is the local authority with the second-highest traffic level in the country, with 9.68 billion vehicle miles in 2017 alone. That is 2 billion miles more than in 1997, and if the unitary authorities of Thurrock and Southend-on-Sea are included, the greater Essex area has the highest traffic level by distance, with 11.2 billion miles.”

The Minister must understand that our main arterial routes—the A13, the A127 and the A12—are bursting at the seams.”

“The Government want more house building in south Essex and the rest of the county. I make it plain to the Minister that he has to pay for the infrastructure if he wants those houses built. If the Government will not come up with the money, for instance to make the A127 the M127, they can forget their housing targets.”

“Chairman “I remind Members that, although this is not a well-attended debate, interventions should be short, brief and to the point.””

The case for investment in the A12 and the A120 is compelling”

A12 “below standard slip roads and capacity problems which can result in tailbacks.”

“Minister, if this were legislation, I would suggest a very simple amendment: delete “A” and insert “M”. I refer, of course, to the A127. We want it to be a motorway. When I say “we”, I do not mean me, or a collection of a few random individuals; the whole of Essex wants it to be a motorway. In November 2018, a group came together—the south Essex A127 taskforce—led by Councillor Mike Steptoe, who is both of Essex County Council and deputy leader of Rochford Council. That group included Essex, Southend, Thurrock, Rochford, Basildon, Castle Point, Brentwood, Chelmsford, Malden, Havering, Transport for London and Highways England.”

The A127 carries more than 75,000 people every day.”

“we need to make sure that all incremental improvements to the A127 do not stand in the way of a future motorway—developments such as the Fairglen interchange between the A130 and the A127 need to be motorway-proof.”

“Although right hon. and hon. Members have extolled the economic opportunities for their areas and discussed the housing developments that are putting pressure on the infrastructure, which is clearly under severe pressure and needs to be redressed, I urge the Minister to take a more strategic view of how we develop our transport infrastructure. The reality is that we need to plan not just for the next decade or two, but for the long term.”

In December 2014 the Government launched the first road investment strategy, which outlined how more than £15 billion is to be invested in our strategic roads between 2015 and 2021. That is the biggest upgrade to strategic roads in a generation, and it will be exceeded in RIS2 from 2025, which is of the scale of £25 billion.”

“To zero-in on Essex, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witham pointed out that the first road investment strategy includes the widening of the A12 between junction 19 at Chelmsford and junction 25 at Marks Tey, where it currently joins the A120.”

“Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,”

“That this House has considered transport infrastructure in Essex.”

The complete debate can be read via this LINK.

Photograph: Yellow Advertiser
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Canvey the Answer to Castle Point’s Problems, now were in the Sights of Thurrock Council. A 3rd Access Road plus our own Railway Station? Don’t be Fooled!

Canvey Island long the Dumping Ground of local problematic development issues, has now fallen under the Radar of our “friends” in Thurrock!

The new Thames Crossing scheduled to be located within Thurrock, is proving understandably unpopular. So in an attempt, no doubt, to carry favour with the Thurrock electorate the local councillors, ignoring the financial impacts to the scheme, are seeking to have the Crossing moved further along the Thames to Canvey Island!

In turn, Castle Point Council’s eternal aspirational political golden nugget, the 3rd Canvey Island Relief Road, to Manor Way Thurrock, is kicked into touch!

So much for the Cooperation so highly lauded by CPBC and the other “band” of 6 South Essex Council, under the banner of ASELA, or “The Association of South Essex Local Authorities”!

This group of 7 local authorities, joined to plan a strategic approach to Development and Growth across the region, are also expected to assist each other in producing Local Plan’s.

The Duty to Cooperate being a major contributory factor as to whether a Local Plan may be successful or a failure. CPBC having already fallen at that hurdle may be more sensitive and aware of the Duty to Cooperates importance than most.

If such strategic issues such as the new Thames Crossing and a new access road to Canvey Island can prove to be such pitfalls and failure issues, then the other important issue of seeking assistance for taking some of CPBC’s Housing provision will appear to be likely to receive an absolute rejection from our neighbouring local authorities!

This Cooperation, or the lack of, is not apparent from the CPBC website, where a statement reads:

Councils across South Essex have agreed a common approach to supporting the development of housing and key infrastructure over the next twenty years.
The Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA) – which is made up of Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point, Essex County, Rochford, Southend-on-Sea, and Thurrock Councils – has drafted a ‘Statement of Common Ground (SCG)’.
Cllr Louise McKinlay, Leader of Brentwood Borough Council and Chair of ASELA, says: “We are working collectively and across our district borders for our vision for South Essex’s future.
“This is not just about providing more housing, it’s about much more than that. It’s looking at developing new and improved transport links and roads, new health, medical and care facilities, schools and creating business and skill opportunities across South Essex to support a growing economy. All of this needs to be part of the proposals very early on.”
“The Government is looking to local authorities to prepare Statements of Common Ground as part of a new Local Plan process, and more specifically, to provide the main evidence to demonstrate that strategic planning matters have been dealt with effectively and the legal provisions of the ‘Duty to Cooperate’ have been met. ASELA have been a national pilot for the new process and are the first collective of local authorities to reach this stage of the new process.

Reads well, but not so cooperative in practise between our local Thurrock councillors. it appears!

Thurrock councillor Peter Smith has claimed the crossing should be on Canvey instead. “I am not an engineering expert, but when we talk to the public and fellow councillors, they keep saying further east, towards Canvey on the Essex side.
“At that distance on Canvey, it can go straight under in a tunnel. That would alleviate the impact to the (Thurrock) local people.”

A better and more clearer example of a DOGMATIC approach, would be hard to find, and not suggesting the Duty to Cooperate is going too well, is it?

Of course a new Thames Crossing proposal for Canvey Island has been considered, and dismissed I must add, some years before.

Once again the promised, aspirational benefits to be bestowed on Canvey Island, despite the Crossing’s route being the most expensive, were to be beyond local residents dreams.

“Metrotidal Ltd believes that the capital cost of the plan will be £2–4bn, with the tunnelling part of the project thought to cost around £1bn. The tunnel is expected to be formed from concrete tubes immersed in the bed of the estuary along a trench dredged across the Thames.”

“and will give Canvey Island its own railway station for the first time and a third road access off the island.”

It would appear on that note a very good place to end the Blog for this year 2018, and to thank One and All for reading, following, contributing and supporting the Canvey Green Belt Campaign cause.

To everyone of you we Wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Links to the previous Thames Crossing, Canvey Island proposal, the press coverage of the Thurrock Councillor’s call for Canvey Island to be used for the new Crossing are below;

Canvey Crossing Link.

Thurrock Councillor’s Rant Link.

Should anybody wish to take part in the Thames Crossing Consultation, time is fast running out to do so as the consultation closes on the 20th December, the link is HERE.

Meanwhile to our Thurrock Councillor friends we extend a friendly:

Harvey Smith

Canvey Island in the lap of the Gods, otherwise known as Castle Point Council Leader and CEO! Better for CPBC to Control the Destiny of Canvey Green Belt, or the Government Chief Planner?

Canvey Island and Castle Point residents should be concerned to know that in exactly 4 weeks time, to the day, we will learn whether the desperate attempts by our councillors, and professional officers, to avoid Government Intervention over the debacle of the cpbc Local Plan has been worthwhile.

We were told that Intervention, “Takes away the ability for us (cpbc) to control the destiny of land in the Borough for our residents”

Previously in the Local Plan process Canvey Island was the ONLY area within the Borough that these, mainly, same councillors could agree to the release of Green Belt land for development, during the whole Plan period!

Obviously the Inspector rejected this idea, stating quite clearly “some development at Canvey Island may be required to meet local need”.

Plain to see then, that the level of land needed for Housing Development on Canvey Island, did NOT require the release of Green Belt!

BUT NO, cpbc chief executive, in his infinite wisdom, thought the opposite, and further proposed that, Canvey Island Green Belt, should remain the single area forming the nucleus of the Green Belt Housing Growth in the Borough’s Local Plan, whilst adding the mainland Green Belt sites for the 2014 version.

This belying the Inspector’s clear intentions, contained within his critical letter, addressed to cpbc Head of Regeneration & Neighbourhoods, strongly suggesting the Withdrawal of the Core Strategy plan!

Canvey Green Belt was only removed, gratefully, from the 2016 version of the cpbc Local Plan’s Housing growth sites, to add support to the politically driven protection granted to, selected sites identified as, “virgin” Green Belt land.

Now we have just 4 weeks to wait to learn how, and why, the Local Plan process, is better in the hands of our local councillors, rather than the government Intervention team.

In CPBC’s own words; “the Secretary of State wrote again to the Borough Council in March 2018, indicating that he was minded to continue with intervention since there was no clear timetable for preparing and adopting a local plan for the Borough.”

“Intervention by Government in any area of local government business is a last resort and follows poor decision making and failure to follow Government direction and advice.
Members of the Council will not be involved and will be excluded from the plan making process.
In terms of decision-taking, the Government will wish to make certain after intervention that the statutory development plan and policies for the Borough will be implemented and will not allow the local plan once agreed to be frustrated by the Development Control process.”

“As one of the very few planning authorities under intense scrutiny by MHCLG, (ministry of housing community and local government,) the Council remains at great risk of intervention and this will lead to considerable reputational damage on a national scale. This may cause other non-intended consequences such as the inability to attract staff”

The mood of Residents, particularly mainlanders, suggest that only if substantial Green Belt is protected from development, will it have been worthwhile staving off Intervention.

Canvey Residents can be sure that the extra Constraints that should have been applied to Canvey Island in isolation, would ONLY have been applied correctly by Government officials. History has proven that lead group councillors, in collusion with certain officers, have only sought to use these Canvey Constraints, to lower the OVERALL Housing Supply figures ACROSS of the whole Castle Point area!

In effect cementing the lead group’s controlling status quo in the follow up local election by quelling the mainland unrest by removing the contentious Green Belt sites from the 2016 local plan.

Look also at similar protectionist decision-making at Brentwood council, with their plan to develop a Garden Village at Dunton.

Note also the effects the Brentwood plans will have on Castle Point residents, with the amount of proposed housing development alongside the main A127 commuter route adding to the Basildon planned development.

Divided by the A127, Dunton Hills Garden Village will have little or no impact upon Brentwood. Those of us living south of the A127, especially in Castle Point and Basildon, will bear the brunt of the strain on infrastructure and commuting issues.

Dunton Hills Garden Village, which Brentwood Borough Council says could initially deliver about 2,500 homes, with the potential for another 1,500, has come under the most fierce criticism from Thurrock Council, that along with Basildon, borders the borough close to where the development would be built on 260 hectares of land south of the A127. *
Brentwood Borough Council is meeting on Thursday, November 8, at the Brentwood Centre to discuss the next stage of the borough’s Local Plan – principally how and where to cater for the 7,752 new homes the borough needs to find between 2016 and 2033. (yourthurrock.com)
*wasn’t we informed by cpbc that in the case of a Garden Village proposal at the Blinking Owl site, North Thundersley, that 8,000 dwellings would be needed to make the installation of infrastructure financially viable?

Look at these statistics, area, population etc and judge whether there is a balance of growth distribution across ours and Brentwood boroughs.

Brentwood: Area: 153.1 km², Population 73,600 (2011). 7,752 new homes.
Castle Point: Area 45.08 km, Population 88,011 (2011). new homes tbd (see below)

The expectation, is for cpbc to capitulate to the Government Chief Planner, and reintroduce the 2014 daft Local Plan with these implications for us;

The council has identified 13 locations for housing development, with 4,000 more homes required in the period to 2031 to meet growing demands of our community. This means around 200 new homes a year would be built across the whole borough. Without the plan, it is feared that there would have to be at least 7,000 more homes.

Don’t forget that the cpbc lead group and some independent councillors, agreed this daft Plan. Only under the threat of a Mainland residents backlash at the Polling Station, was this Plan rejected!

Below are Maps of the Brentwood and Thurrock boroughs, the implications on Canvey Island and Castle Point, by the population and Industrial growths of these two neighbouring areas, can be easily imagined if complimented by similar growth in Castle Point!

What of cpbc leader’s promise of infrastructure before development? With growth in the neighbouring areas and no realistic likelihood of Highway improvements, new access to Canvey, dualling of Canvey Way, Somnes Avenue widening, Roscommon Way completion etc, the likely announcement of many large developments sites bodes ill for Canvey Island!

Castle Point Residents will be eager to learn, the benefits of “control of the destiny of land in the Borough for our residents”, over the dreaded Government Intervention!

Screenshot (18)

Screenshot (19)

Canvey Island 3rd Access Road – Traffic Chaos set to Continue! Local Plan Carrot to Residents Mashed, Report exposes Credibility doubts!

Any Canvey Island Resident ground down by the daily commute off of the Island, be prepared for Disappointment!

The latest attempt by a now desperate Castle Point Council, to produce a Local Plan under the close scrutiny of the Government Chief Planner, dangles the usual carrot of Highway improvements for Canvey Island within the Consultation questionnaire.

We are asked:

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

33a. Do you support a new junction on the A130 Canvey Way to provide access to the west of Benfleet?

scorpions

Beware the Sting in the Tail!

You will note at best, only Limited Carriageway Dualling of Canvey Way is aspired to, with a junction for traffic from a New and vast Housing Estate at Jotmans Farm converging with the already congested traffic leaving and heading to Canvey Island!

This short length of dualling of Canvey Way, is not a measure remotely likely to improve congestion on Canvey Way, one only has to look at the amendments at Sadlers Farm to see that. Sadlers Farm, sold as an improvement for Castle Point motorists, was intended as a “cheap” fix for the A13 / A130 transport to avoid the notorious Sadlers Farm roundabout!

The aspiration to relieve traffic congestion of Canvey Island formed part of the Transport Policies of the long out of date 1998 Castle Point Adopted Local Plan!

A130 Canvey Way dualling – Upgrading of Canvey Way to dual carriageway standard between Sadler’s Farm and Waterside Farm roundabouts and the creation of a grade separated junction at Sadlers Farm Roundabout. 

Despite the proposed improvements, the Council remains concerned in respect of highway infrastructure in Castle Point, and will continue to press the Highway Authority for improvements to the strategic highway network in the Borough, and in particular for the early dualling of Canvey Way.

POLICY T1 – STRATEGIC HIGHWAY NETWORK THE COUNCIL WILL URGE THE HIGHWAY AUTHORITY TO UNDERTAKE IMPROVEMENTS TO THE STRATEGIC HIGHWAY NETWORK IN AND AROUND THE BOROUGH, INCLUDING THE DUALLING OF CANVEY WAY.

No word then of the need for a “3rd Access” to Canvey Island!

Now in the latest Local plan Consultation we are tempted with:

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

Note, not the long touted 3rd Access route to Manor Way Thurrock, just “improved access to Canvey Island”!

So should we assume this will infer to us all supporting the “dualling of the northern section of the A130 Canvey Way”, as in Q29A above, whether we do, or do not?

Because I would suggest that the dream of a true 3rd Access Route for Canvey Island remains an aspirational wish!

We have come across paperwork of a meeting in December 2013 that makes clear, not only is a 3rd Access Unlikely and definitely Un Funded, but also unsupported by any Evidence to suggest the benefits would warrant the vast Expenditure required.

The Castle Point Regeneration Team met with the then Secretary of State Patrick Mc Loughlan.

North Thames Link Road Proposal
On the 16th December 2013 a delegation from Castle Point Borough Council took part in a meeting with Mr Patrick McLoughlan. The Secretary of State for Transport to discuss the credibility of the above proposal.

A holistic overview of the above proposal and of the submitted supporting back ground documents was sought. This has resulted in the following preliminary observations designed to promote further work into the soundness and deliverability of the Councils aspiration.

The delegation consisted of Mrs Rebecca Harris MP, high profile CPBC Officers, Local and Essex County Councillors. The agenda was to seek support for a North Thames Link Road Proposal targeted towards the regeneration at the Canvey West Marsh area of the Borough of Castle Point Council, this being an aspiration of CPBC New Local Plan.

General observations for further discussion.

1. The most fundamental omission from the Background papers is the Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners Castle Point Borough Council commissioned “Employment and Retail Needs Assessment” final Report, completed as evidence for The New Local Plan in August 2012. Nathaniel Lichfield specialise in Planning, Design and Economics and their comprehensive report concluded, amongst other things:

“That the impact of improved access to Canvey Island by linking Canvey Island and Thurrock, that it was unclear on the basis of evidence currently available whether the positive economic effect associated with this would justify the significant infrastructure cost associated with providing a new highway, particularly within the context of strained public sector funding and ongoing road improvements elsewhere in the Borough (e.g. Sadlers Farm) which should improve accessibility generally.”

This report also states:

“That it is unclear whether supply chain linkages between Canvey Island firms and London Gateway would improve significantly as a result of a more direct route.”

The report points out a significant point at 7.53. “It is also important to note that four of the demographic/housing led demands estimates result in a negative requirement for employment space in future compared with the current position. This largely reflects an ageing population, which for the modest increase in housing proposed, produced a lower number of working age residents and hence a lower demand for future jobs and employment space.

It is understood that Castle Point Council may be inclined towards a scenario based on 200 dwellings being built per annum. If this were to be the case, it would imply less employment space being needed in future and fewer local workers to support economic growth in the Borough.”

2. The significance of the failure to identify within the North Thames Link Road supporting documentation, the work undertaken for the authority by Nathaniel Lichfield has had the effect of compounding further towards a poorly informed badly evidenced appraisal.

The following points need to be considered:-

3. Did those attending the NTLR regeneration meeting, who may have had an interest, declare that interest?

4. There are long outstanding uncompleted infrastructure issues within the 1998 Local Plan, such as the duelling of Canvey Way and the completion of the Roscommon Way. Was funding for these existing issues discussed if so? What was the Ministers response?

5. Calor Gas and Oikos are incorrectly identified as refineries!

6. For the CPBC NTLR proposal to mention that redundant contaminated Brownfield sites would benefit from becoming available, is somewhat short sighted. Contaminated Sites are not very desirable due to the expense of reclamation, having the effect of limiting the economic viability opportunities

7. The reference to Canvey Way is surprising given that there is no proposal for betterment, the CPBC NTLR proposal details the limitations of this route. The mention of the DMRB Design Manual for Road and Bridge specifications opens up a huge can of worms not only for this proposal but for the New Local Plan

8. With reference to the above guidance process the application would have been expected by the Minister to have the support of a VDM viable demand model as part of the preliminary assessment procedure. This is not evident in the submission.

9. The submission relates to a previous feasibility report which noted that the construction of a road in that area was not without
significant environmental and ecological SSSI constraints. It is difficult to identify within this background report how this will be averted.

10. With reference to note 9 the estimated cost at that time of the previously proposed road was between £45 and £70m which seems conservative given todays examples. However it would seem that to finance this project through private enterprise seems to call in the issue of viability.

11. Reference to the London Gate Way Port and Business Park as if the project would benefit from the access to the North Thames Link Road presumably being able to access Canvey Way should be the most significant reason as to why this proposal should not take place. The submission identifies capacity problems at the A1014 and the Canvey Way, Sadlers Farm junctions, this factor alone negates the benefits to any future employment areas needing to use the North Thames Link Road.

12. There is no evidence that the HCA Homes and Community Agency has disposed of the West Canvey Site into the private sector nor is there any evidence that 4,000 jobs will be created for local people. The trend has been the provision for low paid local employment this tends to multiply deprivation. This factor will not support the argument for large scale market price housing development in this area.

13. The reference to the fact that 100,000 tonnes of LNG Liquid Natural Gas being stored at the Calor Gas site is dangerously misinforming the Minister. This calls into question the integrity of the whole CPBC NTLR document with regards to the reliability of its content when much of it contains unreliable poorly researched evidence.

14. To suggest that the economics of the development of Canvey Town Centre is weak and in need of the potential impetus from the implementation of the Thames growth hubs to enable the town centre redevelopment to become a reality, is a damming indictment for the deliverability of the Canvey Town Centre regeneration aspiration.

15. The non-attendance of an Emergency Planning Officer or any mention of the benefit that this project could bring to the community of Canvey Island by way of assisting in its evacuation, has not been thought worthy as an argument to support the reasoning for a third
road. It can only be concluded from this, that the possibility of a Major Industrial Accident, Surface Water Flooding, Breach and Over Topping of our sea defences (ref: Scott Wilson CPBC SFRA 2010 document ) are sound reasons why not to support further urbanisation of this part of the Borough.

16. Unfortunately the aspiration for further large scale development on the Zone 3 flood plain of Canvey Island was not previously supported within the Planning Inspectors final report following the examination of the withdrawn Core Strategy. This fact has not been recorded in the submitted Back Ground documents despite being known to many of the delegation members presenting evidence to the Minister.

17. There has been very little if any consultation undertaken either with local elected representatives or the local community with regards to this proposal. It is strongly felt locally that once again development of Canvey Island will come forward without the appropriate supporting infrastructure and proper scrutiny.
It is undisputable that Canvey Island has not benefited from the previously identified necessity of the duelling of the Canvey Way or the completion of the Roscommon Way internal linkage route.

There has been no evidence brought forward, other than in support of further unwarranted development, that the duelling of Canvey Way is not by far the best option. This factor alone will support any future major repairs to the existing Canvey Way infrastructure once completed. Should this proposal in any way resemble CPBC previously outdated Local Plan policies, it is likely that material considerations in particular the emergence of the NPPF and also new evidence, will be afforded considerable weight in the decision of soundness following the examination of the New Local Plan.

QAJZU1 E12 PW SPEEDCAMERAS

pic courtesy of Echo News

Photo courtesy: scarymommy.com

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!

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

 

CPBC Local Plan2016 Duty to Cooperate Failed. Plan Withdrawal Recommended!

Much as had been predicted by far greater planning minds than ourselves, it has been announced that the Examining Inspector of the Castle Point Local Plan2016 has Failed the LP at the first hurdle – the Duty to Cooperate.

This will be a great disappointment for some, whilst no doubt others will take pleasure in proclaiming “we told you so!”

Given the somewhat aggressive nature of the other neighbouring authorities, especially Thurrock, it is difficult to guess how the position can be brought together.

One can only assume this may cause quite some delay.

From the Inspector’s remarks and conclusions it may be assumed that the hasty conclusion of the cpbc Local Plan Task and Finish group work contributed to the demise of the process.

Whether certain senior councillors should have been aware of this pitfall is open to conjecture.

Officer and councillor work on progressing the Local Plan2016 appears uncoordinated.

This in turn has cost residents some great extra expense.

Furthermore the Jotmans Farm developer may press for the Appeal Inquiry decision and the Dutch Village developer see a loophole in the Green Belt policy in the light of this Duty to Cooperate Failure.

Cherry picked copy and pasted extracts of the Planning Inspector’s letter appear below. The full letter is available on the LP Portal.

Taken as a whole throughout the preparation period from 2011 to August 2016 it appears that cooperation was structured and frequent. Whilst there may have been some loss of focus on strategic planning matters between 2014 and the early part of 2016, activity did not come to a complete stop.  There is no chronological record of what took place when but the picture painted by all those involved is one of active and more or less on-going engagement.

However the information provided is weaker in showing how cooperation actually influenced the New Local Plan.

The New Local Plan is based on an objectively assessed need for housing of 400 dwellings per annum.  Paragraph 13.22 recognises that the target for new homes does not equate with this but it reflects the capacity of the Borough to accommodate growth.  A subsequent updated Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) in May 2016 gives a range for objectively assessed need of between 326-410 dwellings per annum.  Be that as it may the draft New Local Plan proceeded on the basis of providing 200 dwellings per annum but this was reduced to 100 dwellings after the failure of the Task and Finish Group to reach agreement on the release of Green Belt land for housing in November 2015.

As far as the Council is concerned no amount of further conversations would have altered the difficulties in meeting its objectively assessed needs within its boundaries.

…….

  1. The questions of whether the strategy for housing is the most appropriate one and therefore justified and whether it is consistent with national policy, including paragraph 14 of the NPPF, are soundness ones. However, paragraph 179 of the NPPF provides that:

Joint working should enable local planning authorities to work together to meet development requirements which cannot wholly be met within their own areas – for instance, because of a lack of physical capacity or because to do so would cause significant harm to the principles and policies of this Framework.

……..

This is precisely the situation in Castle Point. Indeed, the officer report of July 2014 which set out the full document representations on the draft New Local Plan (CP/05/008) includes the following as an action point:

………..

Given that the Council has not been able to identify a sufficient supply of housing to meet its objectively assessed needs, it is also necessary to engage with neighbouring authorities under the auspices of the Duty to Cooperate in order to determine how the objectively assessed need for housing, and other strategic matters, will be addressed within the housing market area.

  1. However, notwithstanding the lengthy and detailed engagement across south Essex there is no formal mechanism in place to distribute unmet housing need. In order to comply with the duty there is no requirement for this to be done by any particular means.  Indeed, the outcome of joint working in this respect could take a variety of forms and it is not for me to say what they should be.  Nevertheless, the position is that there is simply nothing in the New Local Plan to indicate how the unmet need for housing will be tackled.  This is because the authorities have not yet deliberated about the matter in any meaningful way.  Therefore the question of how the objectively assessed need will be addressed, as raised by officers in 2014, has not been adequately grappled with.
  2. The Council is now anxious to ensure that the delivery of its objectively assessed needs is addressed with neighbouring authorities and intends to play a full and active part through the various DtC mechanisms that are now operating. There is no reason to doubt this but a failure to demonstrate compliance cannot be corrected after submission (PPG ID 9-018-20140306).

There is no duty to agree (PPG ID 9-00320140306).  However, whilst it might be firmly in view now, there is no clear evidence that consideration of this admittedly difficult issue was attempted as part of the preparation of the New Local Plan.  Within that process it has been treated as an ‘afterthought’.

all the indications are that in this respect the Council decided to ‘plough its own furrow’.  Failing to address the wider impact of its ‘last minute’ decision to lower the housing target by a considerable amount is the very opposite of cooperation in plan preparation.

the Council fell well short of making every effort to secure the necessary cooperation on the strategic cross-boundary matter of housing before submitting the New Local Plan for examination.  The engagement undertaken as part of its preparation was fundamentally flawed.

Whilst the Borough may not hold all or any of the answers to the shortage of (travellers) pitches in Basildon it should attempt to play its part.  Ultimately it might be that providing more traveller sites in Castle Point is not the best planned solution but there is a duty on the Council to try.  In preparing the New Local Plan it simply has not done enough in this respect and there has been a DtC failing.

In specific terms the housing policies have failed to address how unmet need will be dealt with across the housing market area.  This is exacerbated by the lack of consideration of this matter when reducing the housing target by 50%.

However, there have been fundamental shortcomings in the steps taken, or not taken, to secure the necessary cooperation on the strategic cross-boundary matter of housing.  In addition, the Council has not made every effort to consider how it might deal with the significant unmet need for traveller sites in south Essex arising, in particular, from Basildon.

Therefore my final conclusion is that the duty to cooperate has not been complied with.  Clearly this is not the outcome that the Council would have wanted and it is not a view I have reached lightly or without full consideration of the material put to me.

Nevertheless I must recommend non-adoption of the New Local Plan under Section 20(7A) of the 2004 Act. In this situation the PPG advises that the most appropriate course of action is likely to be for the local planning authority to withdraw the plan under Section 22 and engage in necessary discussions and actions with others.  That is the course of action I would favour.  The alternative is to receive my report but the content of this would be substantially the same as this letter.