Castle Point 5,000-home local plan rejected

Castle Point Borough Council has decided not to adopt its housing blueprint which details where more than 5,000 homes should be built over the next decade.

It means the council may now have little more than 20 months to devise an improved version before the Government intervenes to decide where the homes should go.

While voting against it, the council has made it clear it is not being withdrawn altogether.

Among the major concerns for the plan sitting in front of councillors at a meeting last night was to allocate land in Canvey Island for housing.

East of Canvey Road has been allocated for 300 homes, land west of Canvey Road has been allocate for 199 homes and land at Thorney Bay caravan park has been allocated for 820 homes.

Councillor Martin Tucker (Canvey Island Independent Party, Canvey Island East) said he could not support a plan that designates more homes to the second most congested part of Essex.

He said: “We are now looking at putting two new roundabouts on major access routes to Canvey Island where the plan already acknowledges we have problems. What’s the answer?

“Well, put roundabouts on the roads. If the plans is good for the people I will vote for it but I am not going to vote for this because I have to face those people.”

Cllr Andrew Sheldon, leader of Castle Point Borough Council, admitted there had never been alternative proposals put to councillors, while drawing comparisons with someone sitting an exam with just minutes to go.

He said: “I find it interesting that the same sites that were being discussed ten years ago are the same sites that we are sitting here discussing now and I cannot remember when any of us have ever been presented with any alternative that we have been told was viable.

“This is an exam set by the Government, that is what a local plan is. It’s an exam and here we have an essay. There are ten minutes before the end of the exam and here we have an essay written with no outsourced material provided.

“We have a choice as to whether we put down the essay we have written or whether we start a brand new one with ten minutes to go.

“Personally I think it is worth a chance to start that essay again and I hope the secretary of state gives us that opportunity.”

Cllr Paul Varker, deputy leader, said: “It’s noted by the council by the government that they want a plan in place by 2023. That gives us 21 months from now.”

A decision was made to turn down the plan by 35 with one abstention.

A subsequent report will be compiled for councillors to decide on at a later date.

Where the plan had envisaged homes should go:

  • Land west of Benfleet 850
  • Land west of Benfleet Care Home 33
  • Land between Felstead Road and Catherine Road 125
  • Land off Glyders 30
  • Site of the former WRVS Hall,Richmond Avenue 39
  • Land east of Rayleigh Road 455
  • Land at Brook Farm 173
  • Land south of Scrub Lane 55
  • Land at Oak Tree Farm 55
  • Hadleigh Island 52
  • Land north of Grasmere Road and Borrowdale Road 30
  • Land at Glebelands 155
  • The Chase 430
  • The Chase Care Home 33
  • Land fronting Rayleigh Road 60
  • Land at Thames Loose Leaf 12
  • Land east of Canvey Road 300
  • Land west of Canvey Road 199
  • Land west of Canvey Road Care Home 32
  • Land at Thorney Bay Caravan Park 820
  • Land at The Point 100
  • Walsingham House 32
  • Land at Admiral Jellicoe 14
  • Land south of Haron Close 24
  • Land at Haystack car park 14
  • Land at Kings Park 50
  • 244-258 London Road 50

The remaining allocations are made up of completions, extant planning permissions and windfall totals.

Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter