Castle Point pledges to cut housing target in new local plan

A masterplan for Castle Point featuring 5,325 homes will be withdrawn to be replaced with one with a lower housing target.

All three parties on Castle Point Borough Council have agreed to work towards a new local plan with a housing allocation lower than the 5,325 home target imposed by the government 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While voting against its previous version in March, the council made it clear it was not being withdrawn altogether. Among the major concerns for the plan was to allocate land in Canvey Island for housing.

But a motion passed by full council on June 15 calls for the unadopted local plan to be scrapped altogether and a new one started with a lower housing number “that reflects local need”.

Councillor Dave Blackwell leader of the council said concerns of the numbers being allocated for Castle Point as well as over-reliance on green belt development had meant the council was now looking to revise its whole policy.

He said: “We are not anti-developers, we just don’t want them on our green fields. We do need housing but the idea of new plan is something we have all got to get involved in. look at our town centres. There is an opportunity to regenerate our town centres with some properties among them.

“Do we really need 5,000 homes in a small borough like ours. It’s very unlikely.

“There are encouraging signs coming from government. Boris Johnson keeps saying don’t build on green belt and in fact he said don’t overdevelop the south east but that is what is happening at this time.

“Michael Gove has said about not pushing numbers onto local authorities and let them decide the type and number they need and I believe this is an opportunity to do all that.

“And I believe with members working together with our community we can achieve an excellent outcome without destroying our green belt.”

A motion to the council said: “The Local Plan examination has now been completed and the local plan has not been adopted.

“We call on the council to withdraw the local plan immediately and start work on a new local plan that reflects the central government stated aim to protect and preserve the precious green belt in our local area.

“A priority of this new local plan would be to produce a target housing number that genuinely reflects local need.

“As this housing target will be lower than previous proposals this must be supported by robust evidence.

“All housing developments should prioritise brownfield development. We hope that in the interests of our borough this motion is supported on a cross party basis.”

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.

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter