We are currently preparing an Issues Paper on a range of topics such as housing, employment and environment which we will be seeking your views on in the first half of 2021.
This is being put together taking into account a broad range of specially commissioned evidence as well as that which was already publicly available. We will consult you to find out if we are covering the right things and if we have missed any key issues. We intend to ask for views on this in the first half of 2021. Comments received will inform the next stage of Plan making.
South Essex has been struggling to prepare its joint strategic plan for over three years and nothing has come out for public discussion. It has published some evidence base documents (some of which took over two years).
Issues papers are pointless, they are non statutory. They should be called duck the issues papers because they duck the key issue – realistic options for where development should go – which is a statutory requirements. They allways delay plan making by around two years as they are worthless woolly documents if you duck the issue of location (as West of England found). The only function they have is giving the illusion of progress to politicians who desperately wish to avoid real engagement and contriversy on potential controversial locations and who often think sites and issues can be avoided if you dont even consult on them.
We already know from the evidence base that major Green Belt loss is necessary – as South Essex is almost wall to wall Green Belt south of Shenfield. We already know from the Stantec Study where the main potential locations are – West Horndon, North East of SOuthend and several sites of existing and new stations. The issue is how much where. That an issues paper wont tell you as the populist answers to sptially blind questions 0 Brownfield ior Greenfield in teh abstract wont tell you where to release and where to build.
Clearly there are more general issues, such as restructuring the economy, impact of lower Thames crossing etc. but why not do these alongside a meaningful consultation of what, where and when.