Tag Archives: town centre

“A Really, Really Good News Story”! Street Market to act as “destination place” to draw more people to Canvey Town Centre!

Town Centre Master Plans

The validity of the Canvey Island Town Centre Master Plan, being signed off and used as evidence for the 2018 Local Plan, has not been questioned following the Cabinets decision to support a 3 year regeneration project consisting primarily of –  a street market!

The conclusion therefore now can only be, that there is no likelihood of the proposed comprehensive redevelopment of the Town Centre in the foreseeable future.

The delivery risks and obstacles that will have and impact of timescales have long been realised to be simply too great to be reliable or realistic.

Seemingly, there being no other realistic plan to regenerate the Hadleigh Town Centre, CPBCs Cabinet also supported a similar 3 year street market programme however the location of which is not known at this stage.

CPBCs aspirations for our Town Centres knows no bounds!

Town Centre

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Canvey Flats Approved and Death of the Dream of ‘Canvey Comes Alive’ whilst Never a Truer Word said! Foksville Road.

Once Upon a Time…..

There was a Vision for Canvey.

This vision was fuel injected by  Ad-man and Design-man’s gobbledegook, encouraged by “our” local authority to intoxicate us simple local residents that the Vision would become a Utopian reality.

This Vision went by the title of the “Canvey Town Centre Masterplan” leading to the destination of “Canvey Comes Alive!”

Phrases used in the extensive Masterplan Report included;

“achieve coherence and a comprehensive approach to the future” “Empower and activate the strong local  community” “Deliver exceptional and lasting quality in the streets, spaces and buildings to develop a legacy befitting Canvey” “Create strategic gateway spaces and announce arrival into the Town Centre” – “Provide strong linkages, both visually  and physically between destinations with clear instinctive wayfinding” – “Establish a unique character and identity for the Town Centre, encapsulating history and heritage in contemporary style” – “Create a pleasant, calmed Town Centre environment” – “Create gateways that are linked to the key arrival points” – “The preferred masterplan option is based on an overarching concept of creating character areas” – “A step change in the Town Centre offer” 

Or as Jim Royle might have said “My A*se!”

The block of flats proposed for Foksville Road will come as no surprise to you to learn, were approved at last evening’s castle point council planning meeting.

As long ago as 2012 CPBC backed down on Canvey Island Town Centre

“As a result of the withdrawal of the Core Strategy, it is not now possible to adopt the Canvey Town Centre Masterplan as a Supplementary Planning Document. It is however possible to adopt it as supplementary guidance.”

Unfortunately Canvey residents dreams of a Regenerated Town Centre, unlike Hadleigh residents, have been blown away, possibly forever. Officers Agenda paperwork makes the concede the dream is over;

“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” 

So the engagement with the Consultants, Canvey residents, councillors, cpbc officers and the Canvey Traders Association alongside the expense, has come to NOWT!

The desire to see new development, Retail and Housing designed in a Dutch themed style as residents wished or in the Consultants suggested Art Deco style, will be replaced by the piecemeal pre-designed offers from the architects back catalogue!

The Canvey Comes Alive “Dream” promised us:

“A number of interesting buildings in Canvey display characteristics of Art Deco / Modernist design. It is these buildings that the community highlighted as ones to save through the masterplan, and have features with the potential to translate into exciting modern forms.
Notable buildings of the Art Deco style in Canvey include the Monico, Rio Bingo Hall and Labworth Cafe. It is features from these and other art deco styled buildings that form part of the palette for the Town Centre”

Labworth cafe

“Canvey Town Centre should have local, Borough, County, Regional and National image. It is an opportunity to provide an iconic feature for Canvey Island and Castle Point as a whole The area should be a celebration of the sea, the elements and the people who use it. The theme in this case will be based on the history of the island as a seaside destination and with strong dutch heritage, and with connections to water as a coastal estuary environment. The following are principles that will inform a future public realm strategy and will ensure that the character of Canvey is expressed through the streets and spaces.”

The agreement amongst local politicians and residents that a “Dutch” themed design would be appropriate, failed to make it to paperwork stage for some reason!

Once again, where Canvey Island is concerned, the Applicant within his proposal paperwork is able to state, unchallenged, “There are no archaeological implications arising from this development.”

And we continue, through our development committee, to be provided with “piecemeal” new development leaving Canvey with less and less identity!

“At its meeting of April 2012, the Council’s Cabinet agreed to the adoption of the Canvey Town Centre Masterplan as a Supplementary Planning Document, to be considered when making decisions on planning applications for Canvey Town Centre”* see below

“A public realm strategy is needed to set out the aspirations and conclusions and is the first step in heightening awareness for the need of a quality public realm.”

And as a tempter to induce us to believe a prestigious Town Centre was nearing commencement we were encouraged to believe:-

“An initial viability appraisal of the Retail Core has been conducted to examine the financial prospects of the proposals in current market conditions. This analysis produced favourable results. For other masterplan proposals, the prospects of delivery are generally viewed to be good, and especially if property market conditions improve.”

“Additionally, there were two consultees who thought the proposals were a waste of money generally!”

Town Centre

The canvey independent party wish it to be known they voted against the development.

*Later downgraded to Supplementary Guidance

Canvey Island Population set to grow despite, ASPIRATIONAL Sea Defence improvements and Flood Re Insurance being unavailable!

A “proposed” new development of Flats for Canvey Island that WILL receive Approval from Castle Point Council reveals 3 serious issues.

Firstly it is correct to point out that the proposed Flats are in the Canvey Island town centre, and if anywhere is to be developed here is more appropriate so as to assist the regeneration of the town centre Retail outlets, under threat from out of town local authority preferences.

The first issue is the continued increase in population in the Flood Risk Zone of Canvey Island. Castle Point councillors and officers appear to be relaxed and show little moral concern in locating more and more people into an area at some risk of both surface water and tidal flooding.

Secondly a point given no relevance by the same Castle Point members and officers is that Canvey Island, being a FLOOD Plain is reliant on its sea defences.

 

sea wall damage

Previous damage acts as reminder of the Tidal power.

 

These sea defences will need to be raised and improved prior to the year 2100, as clearly explained by the area’s Strategic Flood Risk Assessment, to prevent potential over-topping! The potential for a breach in the defences remains.

Whilst the Environment Agency, recognising Canvey Island is a “special case”, emit the music to Castle Point’s ears “have no objection to the proposals”, however in this case feel it of the most importance to make very clear to our Local Authority the uncertainty that faces Canvey Island’s sea defence!

The EA warns;

“The TE2100 Plan is an aspirational document, rather than a definitive policy, so whether the defences are raised in the future will be dependent on a cost benefit analysis and the required funding becoming available.”

“When determining the safety of the proposed development, you should take this uncertainty over the future flood defences and level of flood protection into account.

This may require consideration of whether obtaining the funds necessary to enable the defences to be raised in line with climate change is achievable.”

Thirdly, much has been said about the benefits and protection that the Flood Re insurance scheme delivers. However this scheme will NOT benefit residential properties built post January 2009!

As a director of the Flood Re scheme pointed out to the Canvey Green Belt Campaign group, the idea of the insurance scheme is NOT to encourage development in Flood Zones!

Going by previous development committee meetings you will not hear these 3 matters discussed. Officers will make a strong point of informing members that the Environment Agency “have no objection to the proposals”.

Consequently, the level of population of Canvey Island at Risk from Flooding, continues to Grow!

Canvey Town Centre’s Future – threatened by Out of Town Growth?

CANVEY COMES ALIVE, the strapline of the Canvey Town Centre Regeneration.

Now, the future of the Town Centre will be more than ever reliant on those loyal residents that have supported businesses, in the light of the impending arrivals on the new development sites near Morrisons. Previously commented on HERE.

 

The Canvey Town Centre Regeneration team’s webpage is full of promise stating:

What have we done so far?

The project started in March 2009

Creating a new identity

The Town Centre will have a distinctive identity building on the wider Island’s character and heritage, based on the following principles:

Creating an exciting new destination through architectural quality

Retaining existing buildings with valuable character

Draw on local styles which include buildings from Art Deco and Modernist Eras

A consistent palette of styles, forms, colours and materials that define the Town Centre

Drawing on past connections with the seaside and English Coastal Towns

Reflecting Canvey’s Dutch heritage

Less optimistic are these cherry picked extracts from the Castle Point  Retail and Employment needs Assessment:

“… there may be a qualitative need for some more sites that are readily available and better located to strategic roads and population centres in the north of the Borough.   Such sites might also have better prospects of attracting developers.”

“It would appear difficult to achieve any sizeable reduction in out-commuting in Castle Point. However, various approaches could help avoid the situation worsening and may start to put in place long term steps towards greater self containment of jobs. These would include providing some more immediately available industrial sites in the north of the borough, near strategic roads and adopting measures (as in paragraph 1.28) to encourage their development and occupation”

“In terms of capitalising on major new economic developments in adjoining areas, 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.”

“Only two sites were assessed as low quality by the study. One lies in rural area of Thundersley and has poor road access, a Green Belt location and poor access to public transport and labour supply; it performs some employment function with limited potential for other uses. The second site is cleared, suffers from poor accessibility and has planning permission for residential uses, so that its release would not harm the local supply situation.”

“The masterplans for Canvey and Hadleigh town centres should be used to accommodate this additional floorspace.”

“Castle Point has a limited selection of large commercial leisure and entertainment facilities….. This reflects its relatively small catchment population and the proximity of larger centres in Basildon and Southend”

“…residents who work in the Borough earn much less, with workplace wages 23% below those in Great Britain as a whole and 23% lower than the East region average. This indicates the types of jobs available locally are much less well paid than elsewhere in the region.”

“Management Horizon Europe’s UK Shopping Index 2008 ranks retail centres across the country. Management Horizon’s ranking for centres in Castle Point and nearby centres outside the Borough are shown in Table 3.1 below.

Canvey Island,   405 Rank    82 MHE Score

Stadium Way Retail Park,  1095 Rank   33 MHE Score

Hadleigh,  1590 Rank   22 MHE Score

South Benfleet,  1660 Rank   21 MHE Score

The index ranks Canvey Island as the main centre in Castle Point and 405th out of all centres in the UK. This is followed by Hadleigh which is ranked 1,590th and South Benfleet at 1,660th, reflecting their relatively local role. The Tarports centre is not ranked within the survey.”

“When planning for growth in their town centres, local planning authorities should allocate a range of suitable sites to meet the scale and type of retail development needed. It is important that needs for retail and other main town centre uses are met in full and not compromised by limited site availability.”

“In terms of capitalising on major new economic developments in adjoining areas, 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.”

” A specific issue considered was how the borough could achieve economic growth even if the Council plans for a modest rate of housing growth (e.g. 200 dwellings p.a.). This approach would result in a future decline in local labour supply and may constrain growth of local firms. It should still be possible to attract some firms and facilitate growth of others locally by providing good quality, accessible employment sites close to areas of demand within the Borough and taking steps to encourage development on these. However, success may be more difficult to achieve if there are constraints on labour supply and it is likely to result in higher levels of in-commuting to fill any new jobs created.”

At a time of strategic Local Planning it is disappointing to observe delivered what may have been, in the short to medium term, a catastrophic blow to our local Town Centre.

Continued Development of Canvey is necessary, Not So the Mainland?

Contrasting the Canvey Island and the mainland development approaches by Castle Point Council.

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The next Castle Point Development Committee, Tuesday 6th September, will meet to consider two particular development proposals that are sensitive to the two parts of the Borough, it is interesting to note the contrasting recommendations by officers.

One is for a 24 flats and 2 retail units development on Canvey Island and the other in Thundersley for the construction of 2 storey block of six self-contained flats.

The Canvey proposal is on the High Street and nearby the Town Centre, so should raise little opposition except parking and any flood risk issues perhaps.

The development committee agenda paperwork contains;

Regarding flooding from Tidal Sources, a breach in the sea defences meaning a potential to flood the area with between 0.5 and 2.0 metres depth of flood water. CPBC’s approach to allowing development in the Flood Risk Zone relies upon;

“In a very broad sense the continued development of Canvey Island is necessary to sustain the local community and prevent the social and economic blight of the settlement.”

With regard to surface water drainage problems the Essex Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) considers that; “the submitted Flood Risk Assessment does not provide details on how the surface water runoff from the new development will be managed on site and not increase offsite flooding.  Canvey Island is identified as a ‘Critical Drainage Area.”

The LLFA concludes; “Having reviewed the Flood Risk Assessment, Flood Response Plan and associated documents which accompanied the planning application, we would like to place a holding objection to the granting of planning permission”.

Despite this Holding Objection regarding Flood Risk, CPBC officers conclude  “It is not therefore considered that the LLFA holding objection is fatal to the development of the site or the determination of this application.”

Inevitably where car parking is concerned CPBC standards leave much to be desired. Essex CC requirement is for 56 spaces including the retail requirement, against the proposed 24 spaces.

The need for housing on Canvey Island leads the CPBC officers to Recommend Approval of the development Application.

In the case of the Thundersley proposal for Flats, it is noted that the area is in part of the Green Belt. However the site contains an unused surgery at present – previously developed.

CPBC officers consider that there are no exceptional circumstances put forward to allow harm to this part of the Green Belt. Housing Need, does not constitute exceptional circumstances necessary to permit development. Whilst the officers summary refers to the Adopted 1998 Local Plan, it does not reference either the daft New Local Plan nor the Local Plan 2016.

In the case of the Canvey flatted proposal both the Adopted and the 2016 versions are cited.

The Thundersley proposal had previously been refused on 4 reasons, the officers consider 2 reasons have been overcome with another a achievable through conditions. This left the Green Belt issue.
Officers Recommendation is for Refusal.

A point of interest may be the lack of reference to any comparable need in Thundersley, and the mainland in general, to sustaining the area, in direct contrast to any Canvey development proposals.

Also on the agenda is consideration of the re-updated Plans for the King Canute ex public house building and site. Once again CPBC officers recommend Approval for the proposal and again site that “the continued development of Canvey Island is necessary to sustain the local community and prevent the social and economic blight of the settlement” in defence of their findings.

Locals will be aware that the junction where the Canute is sited with the adjoining retail premises block, traffic lights and the Haven Road extension of Roscommon Way already causes congestion problems. The creation of more flats, houses, veterinary practice and more retail premises will only add to the congestion problems especially with those wishing to leave the Island at this particularly busy area.

The CPBC officers have listed 35 conditions should the councillors approve the Canute proposal.

None of these conditions refer to retaining and protecting the front aspect of the King Canute building.

Locally the loss of the Bell Hotel in Leigh was reported by the Echo “Workmen have been renovating the long-empty landmark and replacing it with flats but earlier this week, the roof caved in.”

The unfortunate loss of the Light house during the demolition / construction works at the Oyster Fleet, should also serve as a caution.05-jg-lighthouse1

Essex Heritage in their Historic Urban Characterisation Report of Canvey Island consider the Canute, Canvey Village village area as already having traffic issues and being a Heritage Asset, thus;

“It is important to preserve the character of Canvey Village and in particular its historic assets. A high volume of traffic passes through this area along the A130 Canvey Road accessing other parts of the island.”

” An interpretation board outside the King Canute is well researched but is easy to miss and is located at the busy Canvey Road / Haven Road junction, not an ideal place for visitors to linger.”

“Historic assets should be preserved and enhanced with more interpretation and much has already been done towards this aim. There is however a sense of being unable to enjoy the area as the volume of traffic is heavy along its main thoroughfare and parking is limited. More could be made of the Heritage Centre if the parking issue could be addressed.” 

And finally:- “King Canute Public House. Located on Canvey Road in the Village area. Of no architectural importance but important historically.”

Oh but for a Canvey Island Neighbourhood Plan perhaps!

Perhaps the Canvey councillors should insist that the Borough is considered in planning matters equally, rather than in the preferred isolationist method that is currently employed!

“In a very broad sense the continued development of Canvey Island is necessary to sustain the local community and prevent the social and economic blight of the settlement.” REALLY?

Light house photograph copyright of CanveyIsland.org the Canvey Community Archive group

Castle Point’s “Make it Up as you Go Along” approach to development, not shared by the SoS!

Further to our suggestion that perhaps the expansion of the retail “area” around Morrisons at West Canvey may impact negatively on the Canvey Island Town Centre, we learn through planningportal.co.uk of a decision taken by the Secretary of State on a proposal in Devon.

CCA_news_img1_lrg

Photo Courtesy: canveycomesalive

Published: Thursday, 7th July 2016

Plans for the 17,000 square metre Moor Exchange development have been refused by the Secretary of State, largely because of its impact on Exeter’s city centre…

Proposals for a new district shopping centre at an out-of-centre location near Sowton off Exeter’s Honiton Road on the outskirts of the city have been rejected by Communities Secretary Greg Clark.

Developer CPG’s Moor Exchange scheme involved some 17,000 square metres of retail floor space and included a garden centre and drive-through restaurants. One retail unit was potentially 5,800 square metres in size.

The city council had refused the project largely on the grounds of its impact on the city centre. Both the inspector who held the recovered appeal and the SoS noted that Exeter’s bus and coach station site (BCS) which is currently earmarked for development was highly accessible and well connected to the city centre and was “sequentially preferable, suitable and available”.

Clark’s decision letter said that although the 3.2-hectare appeal site was generally well-located for public transport it was in a “less accessible location than the sequentially preferable BCS site. The appeal scheme would include a large new car park and ‘drive-through’ restaurants which would be likely to encourage rather than deter the use of the private car”.

He concluded that the benefits of the scheme did not outweigh the conflict with the development plan and the environmental harm. The proposals also failed the town centre first sequential test provisions of the National Planning Policy Framework.

Obviously Canvey Island is “small fry” in comparison, however it warrants both of our local authorities adopting a Position, any Position.

The majority of Canvey residents would like a regenerated Town Centre with a wider range of stores and good parking facilities. The likelihood of this diminishes with every expansion made by the out of town option.

Canvey stores have a limited number of population to attract, shoppers do not travel to Canvey due to it being off the beaten track and the larger shopping attractions nearby.

Surely everything should be done to support the existing Retailers.

With and out of date Local Plan and no Neighbourhood Plan, Canvey is like a ship without a rudder. Castle Point council are in the dire position of needing to encourage and seek development of any kind on Canvey Island to support the Local Plan 2016.

The position could be fast approaching where, if the current situation is not addressed soon, the Out of Town centre may in the future raise objections to proposals to Regenerate our Town Centre!

Canvey Town Centre Masterplan

Canvey Town Centre Masterplan report will be heard, discussed and likely be recommended to Cabinet at  the Special Policy Development Group Meeting on Thursday 22nd March at the Council Chamber.

It was hoped that this meeting with it’s implications for Canvey would indeed be held on Canvey, but that was not to be. Since the last meeting input will have been gained from a meeting with the local traders. The public consultation had closed prior to the previous meeting.

There remains some conjecture over the number of dwellings proposed for the plan as the 1st Feb. meeting minutes stated “it was currently envisaged that less than 250 properties would be provided in the vicinity of the town centre.”, however amongst  recommendations is the expectation that “up to 400 additional homes to be provided.”

Cycling is to be promoted within the plan although the narrow roads and pavements approaching the town centre will impose restrictions on this aspiration.

Supermarket floor space will comprise of no more than 6,500m2 and other retail floor space will be increased to 12,500m2. The recent difficult years for retail trading have left Canvey town centre decimated, lets hope the extra floor space is warranted.

All development proposals will be required to contribute via Section 106 agreements. Should the Environment Agency enforce the contributions to the sea defences via the TE2100 scheme the cost of development within the Town Centre regeneration may well lead to shop premises rent being disproportionately higher than the existing levels, making for an even more difficult trading climate.

The Plan envisages a supermarket without a petrol station. Whether this is within the Council’s power to negotiate remains to be seen.

There also remains the little matter of 19 landowners to negotiate with.

New retailers will need to be attracted to the town centre and they will have to be of a type that can withstand competition from a large supermarket, as our local traders have failed to compete in recent times.