Ministry ‘Too Busy with Brexit’ to Intervene on Castlepoint Local Plan


CANVEY residents are being “left in the dark” over future plans for homes across the island and Castle Point, it has been claimed.

Almost 5,000 homes are due to be built across the borough in the next 20 years, with Castle Point Council initially threatened with Government intervention in December 2017.

A draft proposal was completed but voted down by councillors in December, when it was stated Government intervention would take place “imminently”.

And Canvey residents feel they are now being kept in the dark with no news on what’s happening next, with a Canvey Independent Party councillor admitting the party has no information to feed back either.

While Norman Smith, leader of the council, insisted it is chasing the Government for answers.

Joan Thomas, 55, of Long Road, Canvey, said: “We are told all these homes will be built, we are told all the green belt is at risk, we are told the Government would intervene and we would have no say, then it just goes quiet. We have heard nothing since that December vote, what have the council been doing? Working to get a suitable plan? Or sitting on their hands waiting for central Government to take control? Nothing at all seems to be happening.”

Locations for all the proposed sites were released, with 1,399 set for Canvey on nine sites, and 2,823 for the rest of Castle Point on 20 sites – with room needing to be found for at least 600 more. At least 4,800 homes are needed, as well as 90 residential care beds.

A number of green belt sites have been released under the plan, but the council has insisted it is attempting to keep the number of homes on green belt to a “bare minimum”.

Barry Campagna, of the Canvey independent party, said: “When we were voting on these plans, we were told “if it is not approved, Government intervention will begin tomorrow”, but that has not happened. The threat was made to sound very serious, but we have heard very little since.

“As a Canvey councillor, we are not being told anything by Castle Point council, and we have not heard anything from Government, so we have nothing to feed back to our residents, the public are in the dark and that is when vicious rumours start.

Government ‘too busy with Brexit for Local Plan’

Castle Point council leader, Norman Smith, insisted the council feels just as ill-informed, insisting it is pressuring central Government for answers – and soon.

He has previously warned that Government intervention into the local plan would be imminent, following councillor’s rejection of a draft plan in December.

But weeks on, Mr Smith claims he is still to hear from central Government, adding that he does not expect an answer until Brexit negotiations are completed.

He said: “There is no update on the local plan and we feel equally left in the dark by the Government who are busy with Brexit.

“It is likely the Castle Point Local Plan is lower priority compared to the Brexit negotiations.

“I do not think we will hear until the Brexit is out of the way. We are talking to them on a weekly basis to find out if there’s any update. We are definitely not keeping anyone in the dark.

“We don’t know any more than the residents. It would be wrong to assume and tell residents what we think will happen.

“But as soon as we know more we will let the public know.”

5,000 Houses on Disused MOD site with no major road connections and No Public Transport – Will Homes England Never Learn

Halstead Gazette

Especially when if the site was (wrongly) considered suitable it screws up the SA for HEGC.

Its another Chalsgrove total waste of Homes England’s Time

Does anyone in HE have the weight and ability to tell the MOD when to take a running jump when it proposes silly none NPPF compliant sites?

PROPOSALS to build thousands of new homes on a former RAF airfield are to set to gather pace following the announcement of a new partnership between two government departments.

Homes England is set to work closely with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) on a national scheme which will aim to deliver 10,000 new houses across seven different sites belonging to the Ministry of Defence.

Wethersfield Airfield in Hedingham Road is one of the sites included in the deal, with previous estimations suggesting 4,850 homes could be built on the land.

The airfield will remain in the ownership of the MoD while Homes England prepares the site for development and works with experts on planning applications.

DIO, which is a branch of the MoD, will meanwhile be in charge of the “investment with governance” side of the scheme.

A memorandum of understanding has now been signed by both organisations to confirm the partnership and “speed up the process”.

DIO chief exec Graham Dalton, chief executive of DIO, says the deal will maximise the value of all seven sites.

He said: “We are pleased to be entering into this partnership with Homes England for the benefit of local communities.
“The combined expertise will ensure sites no longer needed for defence can be developed into much needed housing while delivering value for money.”

Homes England chief executive Nick Walkley added: “This partnership provides another great opportunity to intervene in the market – and the sites will contribute towards the 300,000 homes needed each year to meet the growing demand.

“We are pleased to be using our skills and resource to work closely with DIO on the delivery of these brownfield sites.”

It was originally understood the MoD would sell its airfield in Wethersfield before work started on developing the land.

The scheme forms part of the MoD’s defence estate optimisation programme, which will see its estate reduced by roughly 30 per cent.

Though it is expected the site will be turned into new housing, Braintree Council has previously suggested the airfield could be home to a new ‘mega prison’.
Council bosses argued the proposal, which was put forward in February 2017, could create more than 1,000 jobs and would help pump millions of pounds into the district’s economy.

2014 baseline for Housing Need Confirmed by Government, a short term fix to #oanishambles

So the narrow opportunity to game the system by submitting pllans based on the 2016 baseline closed.

Messy way of doing it.  A lords statement referring to a NPPF amendment not issued till several hours later with no explanation as to what has changes and separate and not linking ch mages to NPPG and  without links explaining what is going on.

Had an LPA did such a mes on a local plan there would be outrage.

Amazingly still no spreadsheet saying what the standard numbers are now?

Having taken the responses into account, the Government considers that its proposed
approach to providing the demographic baseline [2014] for the standard method is the most appropriate approach for providing stability and certainty to the planning system in the short-term. This decision has been taken in the context that the standard method does not represent a mandatory target for local authorities to plan for, but the starting point for the planning process. Local planning authorities may decide that exceptional circumstances justify the use of an alternative method, but they will need to identify these reasons and can expect them to be tested by the Planning Inspectorate during the examination of their plans. Local authorities may also not be able to meet their identified housing need in full, for example because of land constraints (such as Green Belt) in their area and it may be that need is better met elsewhere. The proposed approach does not change this.
Over the next 18 months we will review the formula and the way it is set using National Statistics data with a view to establish a new approach that balances the need for clarity, simplicity and transparency for local communities with the Government’s aspirations for the housing market.

A key consideration of the standard method is to provide a degree of continuity between assessments of housing need over time. The changes to underlying assumptions in the population projections and methodological improvements to the household projections had led to significant variations in housing need at a local level, something that needs addressing in the short term. For the avoidance of doubt, the Government is clear that this does not mean that it doubts the methodological basis of the 2016-based household projections. It welcomes the work of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) following the transfer of the projections from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the steps they have taken to explain the projections, for example in their recent blog.4 The Government looks forward to the further work programme of the ONS to develop even greater confidence in the projections and is committed as the key customer to supporting the ONS ahead of the publication of the next projections

Ministerial Statement Revised NPPF

Statement However I see nothing on the NPPF or guidance webpage –  the technical consultation involved the calculation of housing need and the implication of people over wind.

Planning update:Written statement – HLWS1309
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 19 February 2019
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)

Planning update

My Hon Friend, the Minister of State for Housing (Kit Malthouse) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The National Planning Policy Framework is fundamental to delivering the homes and other development that we need, achieving high quality places and protecting our environment.

Last year we published a revised Framework, which implemented a range of reforms to help make planning more predictable and transparent, drive up quality and support delivery.

A consultation on further updates to the Framework and associated planning guidance ran from 26 October to 7 December 2018, and the Government is grateful to everyone who responded. Having considered those responses, we are making very minor changes to the text of the Framework, which are reflected in an updated version being published today. A copy of the revised Framework is available on the Department’s web site, alongside our response to the consultation.

No New Large Sites – and Nothing New in the #Camkox Arc- In Garden Town /Villages Announcement

All of the large sites announced had either been in the announcement two years ago, been admitted since or like Carlisle have been in emerging plans for several years.

Despite the prospectus favouring large sites (10,000 dwellings plus) especially in the Oxford Cambridge Arc, everything else is village scale and even includes additional funding to some old sites where the Ministry and Homes England are furious with the authorities for slow progress.  Some of the sites are too small even to support  primary school and are just edge of settlement estates that would have come forward anyway.

What does this show? It shows that a short term competitive process removed from strategic plans is no mechanism for working up proposals for strategic scale garden communities.  The ministry’s efforts should be focussed on support strategic plans – which are struggling everywhere in terms of expertise, quality of spatial expression and methodology.


East Cambs fails to publish unsoundness finding, inspector goes postal, issue is under standard method old plans easier to pass 5 YHLS

East Cambs Inspector

25 Jan

I am disappointed that following several requests, my Programme Officer is still unable to upload my letter to the Council of 19 December 2018.
It is now over a month since I sent my original letter, which in the interests of transparency, should have been placed on the Examination website.
I have asked for this to happen on numerous occasions. As, no doubt, you are aware, this situation is highly irregular.
Please ensure that the Programme Officer’s job is facilitated and the letter is uploaded today and without delay.
Over seven weeks have elapsed, since my letter to the Council of
5 December 2018, which stated that I found that the plan was unsound but
could be found sound with main modifications. The Programme Officer has, and no doubt, will be receiving further enquiries as to the progress of the Plan.
In such circumstances, I have instructed the Programme Officer, who works independently of the Council, to respond that a letter has been sent to the Council setting out what I consider to be the main modifications which would be required in order that the Plan be found sound. If a request is made for a copy of the letter, clearly the Programme Officer will provide such a letter as it should be in the public arena, and indeed, I have explicitly asked that it be so.
I understand from email correspondence, via the Programme Officer, that the Council is still considering the implications of the potential main modifications.

8 Feb

In early December, following the hearing sessions, and taking into account all representations, hearing statements, together with my site visits, I came to the conclusion that the Plan as submitted was unsound. However, I was of the opinion that with modifications it could be capable of being found sound. I informed the Council of this in my letter of 5 December 2018.
I sent a further letter on 19 December 2018. This set out where the main
modifications were required and requested that the Council work these up to form a schedule of modifications, which could then be formally consulted upon. This would
have enabled me, with the benefit of any consultation responses, to write my final report to the Council which would have included the main modifications necessary for the Plan to be found.
Unfortunately, as the Council has given no firm indication to date that it intends to progress work on a schedule of modifications and has not replied to my previous requests for confirmation that it would do so, I am unable to move forward with my examination of the submitted Plan which must take place in an open and transparent

Whats the reason for the delay?  See this report

Normally, and in line with the procedural guide, officers work collaboratively with an Inspector so that common ground is reached on what modifications are likely necessary to a Plan. In practice, around 98-100% of modifications are normally
‘agreed’, either in principle or in precise detail, as part of the hearing sessions themselves i.e. they are debated and ‘agreed’ in the public forum, even for those matters which a Council might not ideally want the modification, but accepts the
need for it for a Plan to be found sound. To put it another way, an Inspector rarely springs surprises on a council, post hearing sessions. If that happens, it is usually for a very small number of modifications, on matters where it was clear that agreement could not be reached on the day, and the Inspector would therefore have to make a ‘final call’.
3.10 Our Inspector did not undertake the examination in this way.
3.11 After most hearing sitting days, participants (including the Council) were left wondering what the Inspector was going to do about matters debated that day. Agreements were often not reached, or a suggested way forward not given by the Inspector. The Inspector catch phrase became ‘I have a lot of thinking to do on that matter’.

3.12 As such, officers:
 struggled to know what modifications might be necessary;
 for many policy areas, had no opportunity to discuss with the Inspector
whether such modifications were indeed necessary, or what form of
wording they should take.
This is highly unusual, and, whilst not unlawful, not in accordance with the
procedural guide.
3.13 Thus, throughout the process, officers were frustrated by both the slow speed of the examination and the considerable uncertainty as to where matters were
heading, and what modifications might be necessary.
3.14 At the close of the Hearing sessions (end of September 2018 in our case), it is normal practice for the full set of modifications to be known, perhaps subject to some detailed refinement of wording to be agreed with the Inspector on a small number of matters. Consultation on such modifications then normally takes place within 2-3 weeks of the hearings closing. In our case, that would mean an October-November 2018 consultation.
3.15 Unfortunately, our examination did not follow this normal procedure.
3.16 First, officers were left wondering what modifications might be necessary.
Second, we did not hear from the Inspector, in any meaningful way, until
December, approaching 3 months after hearings closed.
3.17 In December, the Council then received the ‘good news’ letter of 5th December 2018, which confirmed that, subject to (then unspecified) modifications, the Plan
was capable of being made sound i.e. it was suitable for adoption, provided her modifications were accepted by the Council. That letter meant that the Plan had been prepared in a lawful manner i.e. it had been prepared in accordance with all applicable legislation, consulted upon appropriately and met the Duty t
Cooperate provisions. However, we still did not know the extent of what the modifications might be.
3.18 Finally, on 19th December 2019, the Council received a letter from the Inspector,
nearly 3 months after the Hearings closed, setting out what modifications were, subject to consultation, necessary to make the plan sound. That letter is attached at appendix A.
3.19 The content of the letter raised considerable concerns, for five prime reasons:
(i) the sheer scale of modifications the Inspector feels necessary;
(ii) the lack of explanation or reasoning for the modifications (especially those
which the Council was previously unaware of);
(iii) the consequence of the modifications, which go to the heart of (or rather
take away the heart of) the Plan prepared by the Council;
Agenda Item 14 – page 4
(iv) the lack of ability for the Council to attempt to reach a consensual
agreement to the potential modifications necessary (as would normally be
the case); and
(v) the questionable basis of whether many of the modifications are truly
necessary (and whether the Inspector is, instead, trying to ‘improve’ the
plan, rather than focussing entirely on soundness matters which go to the
heart of the plan).

The following summarises some of the more fundamental ‘modifications’ required
by the Inspector, together with some brief officer comments.
 All reference to community-led / CLT development be removed from the Plan –
both ‘in principle’ supporting policy, and sites allocated for such forms of
development. No reasons are given by the Inspector as to why such policies are ‘unsound’ (nor, for that matter, why her decision contradicts the previous
Inspector examining our 2015 Local Plan, who found the principles of such
policies to be sound).
The redistribution of housing across the Cambridge sub-region (as agreed by all Councils of the sub-region) be removed, resulting in 1,500 homes increase to East Cambridgeshire. Inspectors concluding other Cambridgeshire plans in 2018 (Cambridge and South Cambs) and the almost finalised plan in 2019 (Huntingdonshire), all accept the redistribution and cooperation associated with it to be sound. Our 2015 Local Plan Inspector also found it sound….

ALthough the lack of communication is worrying the striking down of the Cmbridgeshire redribution is even more worrying as this was critical in getting the deal on numbers done.

Council should be mindful of an important implication which will arise, if the recommendations attached are agreed.
3.29 As a reminder, the Council has struggled since June 2015 to be able to demonstrate a ‘five year land supply’ as required by national policy, with two appeal decisions (in 2015 and again in 2018) going against the Council. The overriding reason why the Council has been unable to demonstrate a five year land supply is not due to a lack of permissions given by this Council or a lack of allocations in our Local Plan (we have approximately 9 years’ worth of immediately available supply on that count), but due to the lack of delivery of homes on the ground. Where homes are not built, national policy requires the  Agenda Item 14 – page 7
‘backlog numbers’ to be added to the next five years. As each year passes, the backlog increases, to the point whereby it becomes virtually impossible to regain a five year land supply (for example, we would need to be building approximately 1,200 homes per year, for the next few years, to ever ‘catch up’, a 400% increase on current build rates).
3.30 If the Council decides to proceed with the current emerging plan (i.e. it accepts the Inspector’s modifications and does not withdraw the plan), it is possible that the Local Plan can be adopted by Autumn 2019 (having taken into account the next procedural steps required). At that point (but not before), we would have a
Five Year Land Supply. However, as highlighted in this report, there would be a considerable risk of that position being lost again in the not too distant future, because the Inspector has: (a) increased the overall housing numbers; (b) removed our policy to spread any backlog over the whole plan (and instead made
it, in effect, compulsory to make it up in the first five years); and (c) has
unrealistically increased housing numbers on allocation sites. Policy within the NPPF will probably mean our five year land supply will be secure, post adoption, until 31st October 2020 (i.e. for about a year after adoption), but realistically the Inspector modifications are likely to make it very hard to sustain a five year land supply beyond that date.
3.31 Thus, in simple terms, proceeding to adopt the Plan will likely mean a five year land supply position is secured from Autumn 2019 to October 2020, but unlikely beyond that date.

3.32 If the Plan is withdrawn, we obviously would continue to have no Five Year Land Supply for the present time.
3.33 However, under the ‘withdraw’ option, and perhaps surprisingly, when we reach April 2020 we almost certainly will, under current national policy, regain our five year land supply position. This is because new (autumn 2018) national policy states that, when a Local Plan is 5 years old (which ours will be, come April 2020), any ‘backlog’ of development not built gets wiped clean (the precise reference for this policy being NPPG Paragraph ID: 2a 017 20180913).

Totally peverse.  The para reference refers to every para in that guidance but the issue is the ‘cap’ which is based on the annual rate, and should be withdrawn or irgently clarified it is the average plus the backlog.


Planners in Oxfordshire Take Cue from May in Kicking Spatial Options Can Down the Road


Oxfordshire has just launched its first consultation on its Joint Spatial Plan.

At this stage its very high level all goals, aspirations and context.  You will recall the last JSP that tried this, Greater Exeter, was widely condemned for being ‘just PR’ and ‘not fit for purpose’.

It sets out transport issues, but no solutions other than mentioning in passing ongoing projects like the expressway.   It deals with the future economy in a one sentence motherhood statement without any analysis of how to tackle the labour and housing market challenges in Science Vale.  It doesn’t discuss the demographic challenges of an aging population or the challenges of university expansion.   It even fails to mention the wider arc initiative.

In terms of housing and spatial challenges it does mention a number of ‘spatial options’ like hub and spoke, new settlements, urban intensification etc.  whilst acknowledging that no one will be enough.  But it doesn’t give any clue as to the huge scale of the challenge with its growth deal numbers and how and where development might be located on a map in ‘planet earth’ space.  Instead ‘options’ exist in a conceptual ‘none space’ with no relationship with real settlements and real fields on a map.  It is difficult therefore to see how people can reasonably respond without writing long essays telling Oxfordshire the already held and known views of stakeholders.

The problem here is that the return of strategic planning has ran ahead of strategic planning thinking.  Ill be publishing a long essay on this soon.  Thew strategic planning challenge is about locating units of ‘strategic scale development – that is development sufficient to support a district centre and secondary school, which depending on school re-organisation can be anywhere between 6-11,000 (likely around 10,000 in Oxfordshire) – see this recent report for Southend and surrounds, where I set out the methodology for them.  Suitable places for development on this scale can be narrowed down to reasonable options and in my piece ill be setting out a high level GIS based method for assessing these.


Nearly a million young people living with parents hidden from Household formation figures


Shows you cant simply rollback one census, it goes back over 20 years.  Civitas report here.

Nearly a million more young adults are living with their parents than was the case two decades ago, a study has found.

The figures, in a report by the cross-party thinktank Civitas, will fuel concerns that too little is being done to protect young people from Britain’s housing crisis.

The proportion of people aged 20 to 34 who live with their parents has risen from 19.48% in 1997, equating to 2.4 million people, to 25.91% in 2017, equating to 3.4 million.

The report says the findings have profound implications for the government’s housebuilding targets. It also notes a “collapse in single living” among those who do move out of their parental home, as young people are now far more likely to be living with partners or friends.

This has implications for how many homes will need to be built in the future. The government develops its housebuilding targets using household projections, calculating how many households are likely to be formed in the future by looking at patterns over recent decades. Bentley said if the government failed to acknowledge the drop in the number of young people moving out or living alone, “it will reinforce an undersupply for housing for decades”.

The growth in young people living with their parents has been strongest in London, which saw a 41% increase between 1996-98 and 2014-15.

How can this be reflected in planning? The easiest way is to model those aged over 30 living with their parents having the same propensity to form a household as in 2002.  This could be done very quickly to produce variant forecasts using current demographic data..

Treasury to use Spending review to Take on Nimbys

Daily Mail

Another shift towards ‘as of right’ zoning?

iz Truss warned her party it must take on ‘NIMBYs’ today to get more houses built and cut prices.

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury said the Tories must reform the ‘rigid’ planning system to make it harder for developments to be blocked by existing home-owners, who she described as ‘the worst vested interest we’ve got’.

Ms Truss – seen by some as a potential successor to Theresa May – said a shortage of affordable housing was driving voters into the arms of Jeremy Corbyn‘s Labour.

Speaking to the Resolution Foundation think tank in London, she said this year’s Spending Review – setting out Government budgets for 2020-23 – is an opportunity for the Conservatives to set out a ‘popular free market agenda’…

Liz Truss  warned her party it must take on ‘nimbies’ today to get more houses built and cut prices

She said the party should take a cue from market-leading brands like Aldi and Netflix, which ‘deliver what people want, when they want it at a price that they want’.


Joking that she was not calling on her party to adopt a strategy of ‘Netflix and chill’, Ms Truss said Tories must take a ‘ruthless’ approach to stripping back wasteful spending and tearing down barriers to getting on in life.

These include barriers preventing state school pupils getting into Oxbridge, difficulties female entrepreneurs experience in securing finance, and obstacles to building affordable housing for young people.

High house prices were among factors which had led to a 25 per cent drop in people moving to find work over the last 15 years, said Ms Truss, citing studies which suggested workers were missing out on £2,000 of salary as a result.

Conservatives must be ‘prepared to take on vested interests’, including ‘those who want to protect their existing privileges’, she said.

She added: ‘The worst vested interest we’ve got is existing home-owners who block development.

‘I think that is the biggest challenge we face – how are we going to reform the system when there’s a fundamental anti-development bias in our country?’

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury said the Tories must reform the ‘rigid’ planning system to make it harder for developments to be blocked by existing home-owners, who she described as ‘the worst vested interest we’ve got’

Ms Truss blamed ‘rigid planning rules’ for ‘house prices that are out of reach of many, many people’.

‘We do have to be prepared to take on those who don’t want a house built in the field next to them,’ she said.

‘The alternative is getting a public who … feel like the housing market is not responding to their demand, not because they are dyed-in-the-wool socialists but because they are simply frustrated. I think there’s a danger that people will support the Labour Party because they are so frustrated about the situation.’

She hailed liberal planning regimes in Tokyo, Vancouver and Germany which had cut back on bureaucracy and resulted in lower house prices.

Ms Truss – seen by some as a potential successor to Theresa May – said a shortage of affordable housing was driving voters into the arms of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour

People in communities like these would respond to a Conservative Party following the US mantra of ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ and offering them control of their own lives and the opportunity to get on, she said.

‘I think if we advocate a popular free-market agenda, we can win over those parts of the country, we can drive up economic growth, we can create prosperity and give people a greater feeling of control over their own destiny and a greater feeling of pride in their country, their area and themselves.’

Car Giant and Old Oak Park Royal DC at War as 6,500 houses Scheme Collapses

Old Oak Park Website

Welcome to Old Oak Park

This website contains a historical archive of the now abandoned plans to bring forward the comprehensive redevelopment of the 46 acre Cargiant site, which is central to unlocking any major development within the area.

Between 2013 and 2017, Cargiant, faced with the possible closure of its business when its land was designated a regeneration area, became reluctant developers and spent £8.5 million trying to bring forward a planning application for their land which could fund their relocation.

For many years fortnightly planning meetings took place with the public sector agency supposedly leading the regeneration, the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC). The scheme, known as Old Oak Park, was taken through extensive public consultation – the full details of which you can see on this website – and which were very well received by the local community and other partners.

However, despite all the collaboration, the OPDC concluded that the scheme wasn’t viable as it couldn’t meet the costs needed for infrastructure and social benefits required for the area.

For any development to happen it has to be able to pay for three things:

1. The relocation of Cargiant. Cargiant is the largest independent car processing and retailing plant in the world and a hugely successful and valuable business, built up over 40 years and employing over 700 people directly with many hundreds more reliant on Cargiant’s supply chain. The cost to buy new land and move the business is estimated at in excess of £600 million;

2. New infrastructure including new roads and bridges and all the cabling and pipes for water and energy supplies. In 2016, the OPDC estimated these costs for the land around the Cargiant site at £532 million. Since then the costs have gone up; and

3. Affordable housing. The planning policies of the GLA and the OPDC set a strategic target across the area of 50% affordable housing, so half of the homes don’t contribute any profit at all to all the costs which are needed.

Since Cargiant’s Old Oak Park plans were developed, the OPDC has also put forward new planning policies that see even fewer homes delivered on Cargiant’s land (5,300 homes to be built by 2038 compared with 6,500) with higher levels of affordable homes required. At the same time, the prices for industrial land (needed to move Cargiant) have gone up substantially, partly because so much has already been lost to residential development along with very large areas lost to HS2 constructions sites, and construction costs have also gone up while the values for residential development have gone down and construction costs have escalated.

In short, the development simply doesn’t stack up and no developer can afford to meet the costs of developing the land. Cargiant’s window of relocation has been lost. The OPDC doesn’t have worked-up designs for the land, doesn’t have a development partner and hasn’t solved the huge technical challenges of delivering the infrastructure to the site.

Despite this the OPDC is pressing ahead with seeking £250 million of Government money and has even started a Compulsory Purchase Order process which will see over 1,000 jobs lost. They have also already spent nearly £30 million in just four years.

Cargiant is calling for an immediate halt to further spending and consultant appointments and a full inquiry into the spending and strategy of the OPDC before any more money is wasted and jobs are lost.

What happened here is that Tony Mendes owner of Car Giant has been attempting to do his own thing at the centre of the area irrespective of the other landowners or the masterplan.  As such he would have needed to pay for all the linking connections himself.

He seems to be particularly poorly advised as he seems to be admitting that without the public sector providing the enabling infrastructure the site has a negative residual value – perfectly making the case for CPO at ‘no scheme world’ values, needing only to pay for compensation for loss of Car Giant., not even the full cost of relocation.

Im sure Homes England could find a nice site on land they own or Basildon or somewhere.