If you haven’t already, please sign and share the PETITION: https://chng.it/HgsC8nHZ2P
We are writing again to counter the misinformation circulated in Taylor Wimpey’s recent “August 2023 – Update.” Their document may have been delivered to your letterbox or encountered on social media.
The following four responses are to be read alongside Taylor Wimpey’s “August 2023 – Update”. The relevant sections from Taylor Wimpey’s document are presented before Our response.
PART 3 is the last in this series and will further address the questions you have raised, as presented by Taylor Wimpey, allowing you to discern who is genuinely spreading misleading information!
Why was fencing put up?
Residents became aware that the fencing on Campfield Green was erected on 27 July. As confirmed by Taylor Wimpey in their ‘August 2023 – Update,’ they intend to start destruction later this year, but certainly not three weeks ago on Saturday, 29 July, the day of the planned Protect Trees & Wildlife Picnic.
Furthermore, on 31 July, a spokesperson stated in the Echo newspaper that “there are no plans to fell any trees in the immediate future and a number of surveys are currently taking place on the site, including archaeology studies, further site investigations, and a bat survey” (Source: https://tinyurl.com/2442rmvm). Therefore, the notion that the temporary Heras fencing was installed to protect the general public is simply false. Taylor Wimpey has stated that the fencing was erected purely to mark their ownership boundary and to secure the site.
Residents and picnic organisers were unaware that Taylor Wimpey had completed the purchase of the Cantel Medical site earlier in the month. There had been no announcements to this effect. The first communication regarding this matter was in Taylor Wimpey’s ‘August 2023 – Update.’ Before this, the backhanded sign of new ownership was the appearance of unmarked fencing on 27 July. This mean-spirited action forced us to cancel (https://tinyurl.com/5br37meu) the much-anticipated Campfield Green – Protect Trees & Wildlife Picnic, because a significant portion of the green space we have enjoyed for years under previous owners was rendered inaccessible.
Taylor Wimpey’s decision to erect fencing left us without a suitable area to safely host the expected number of attendees and the wonderful activities planned, including wildlife spotting, t-shirt printing, tree decorating, wild face painting, drumming, bat craft, music, vegan nibbles, stalls, and a free raffle draw. Here’s the advert that was shared on Facebook residents’ association groups from 21 July: https://tinyurl.com/4fn6xudz
Picnic organisers diligently informed residents and the police about cancelling the community picnic. However, the dedicated Tree & Wildlife Protector team still set up camp at the remaining ‘common land’ along Campfield Road on Saturday, 29 July, between 11:30 am and 4:00 pm. Once we set up camp, the sun shone brightly, and we received visits from numerous residents who came to express their support and concerns. The event was punctuated by countless passing cars tooting their horns in solidarity. You can read all about it here: https://tinyurl.com/4wmmk7r2
The claim that Taylor Wimpey was unaware of the Protect Trees & Wildlife Picnic is quite implausible. For example, Rob Piggott, Taylor Wimpey Land Manager, has been a member of the large Shoeburyness Residents’ Association group since February 2023, slipping through the net. However, they have not contributed anything to date – a testament to Taylor Wimpey’s nonexistent interest in public engagement throughout the scheme’s development. Rob Piggott doesn’t ‘live or work in Shoebury’, a condition of Residents’ Association membership, unless the wanton destruction of trees and wildlife somehow qualifies as work in Shoeburyness.
We can only conclude that Rob Piggott’s role was to monitor residents secretly. This Taylor Wimpey agent also attempted to join another residents’ association several times. However, his access was declined as he didn’t meet this group’s similar membership requirements.
We’ll let you decide about Taylor Wimpey’s true intentions for infiltrating residents’ association groups and whether their agents should be expelled immediately. Let us know what you think in the Facebook comments.
Will the new drainage and sewer systems cause strain on the local network and increase flooding?
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…
Taylor Wimpey’s foul drainage network will expel sewage from the proposed 70 new homes into Anglian Water’s burdening sewer system, exacerbated by Bellway Homes’ imminent major development of 214 homes on Shoebury Garrison, 200 meters away. Also, we assume highway drainage from the adopted road and pavement will further burden Anglian Water’s sewer system. There was no mention of ‘highway drainage’ in the tabled report presented to the Development Control Committee on 5 July 2023, where the development was granted planning permission.
Shoebury’s designated bathing water is affected by discharges when heavy rainfall overwhelms Anglian Water’s sewerage system and causes raw sewage and associated pathogens to overflow onto our beaches and into the estuary, posing a serious public health risk in addition to the ecological and environmental harm.
Southend MPs, local Councillors, the Environment Agency, and Anglian Water are investigating ways to improve the bathing water and had a Water Quality Summit on Friday, 28 July 2023. According to MP Anna Firth and MP Sir James Duddridge, Anglian Water committed to eliminating 75% of the raw sewage it dumps onto Southend beaches by 2030, five years ahead of the Government’s national target.
However, don’t hold your breath (unless you and your children swim in Southend) for Anglian Water to uphold this commitment. Like Taylor Wimpy, Anglian Water is profit driven and isn’t environmentally proactive but forced into action through legislation and fines. Notably, Anglian Water received the largest-ever fine imposed for environmental offences in the East region at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on 27 April 2023 (Source: https://tinyurl.com/bdf82scb). District Judge Timothy King concluded that “Anglian Water finds itself in court so frequently” must be reflected in the fine level. (Source: https://tinyurl.com/mpn4ft98)
So, we have a pretty clear understanding of where the foul sewage from Taylor Wimpey’s development will end up during heavy rain for the foreseeable. But what about the management of surface water? Surface water is the rain or melted snow that drains from the roof of a property and other surfaces, like paved gardens, that don’t allow water to pass through.
Residents have expressed concerns about flooding containing raw sewage caused by rain and highway drainage issues where Campfield Road meets New Garrison Road. Research by the University of Bristol highlights that the UK can expect more frequent extreme downpours due to climate change. This further compounds our concerns about flooding caused by Taylor Wimpey’s development to surrounding areas. (Source: https://tinyurl.com/2h4ypvy2)
Moreover, the Met Office has indicated that coastal flooding resulting from storms is expected to increase due to climate change, primarily due to rising sea levels that will exacerbate the impact of storm surges. The implications are troubling locally, as weaker storms might now trigger coastal flooding where it was previously unlikely. (Source: https://tinyurl.com/ycxt6wzf)
All major development projects must incorporate Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) to mitigate the escalation of surface water runoff and potential flooding.
Taylor Wimpey’s surface water management strategy involves directing it towards an existing outfall in the southwest corner of the site. An outfall is a place where a drain discharges into a river or sea. However, it’s a crucial to question where this outfall leads; presently, it is a mystery. This outfall likely connects to the old stream or creek, often called The River Shoe. This watercourse is known to frequently overflow during heavy rainfall. The River Shoe carries water away from North Shoebury, passing under Campfield Road, through Gunners’ Park, and emptying into the estuary near Barge Pier.
If this is the case, Taylor Wimpey’s solution will exacerbate The River Shoe’s overflow, as previously mentioned, leading to flooding containing sewage on Campfield Road. It’s very concerning that this aspect wasn’t thoroughly considered during Southend Council’s Development Control Committee meeting on 5 July 2023.
Taylor Wimpey’s design aims to prevent surface water from entering the local sewer network. During extreme weather events attributed to climate change, any surplus surface water is intended to flow into a detention basin with a capacity of approximately 420 cubic metres (roughly equivalent to the size of six 40ft shipping containers) located at the site’s south boundary. The water will be gradually released into the private drainage system based on its available capacity.
However, the information provided to Southend Council’s Development Control Committee on 5 July 2023 was worryingly limited i.e., where does the outfall lead? Also, there was no mention of potential flooding risks from paving private gardens or removing newly planted trees in the future – which are very likely scenarios. Taylor Wimpey and Southend Council’s Planning Department assume the site characteristics will remain unchanged and not contribute to the site’s runoff. Notably, Taylor Wimpey lacks any data and assurances regarding alterations to private green spaces and the survival rates of newly planted trees from previous development schemes.
Furthermore, any consideration about removing the existing 65 mature trees and the subsequent flooding risks was notably absent from the Development Control Committee report. The presence of a tree canopy cover plays a crucial role in mitigating flooding. Canopy cover directly intercepts rainfall, causing it to either drip from the leaves, trickle down the branches and trunk, and slowly seep into the ground, or simply evaporate from the leaves.
Additionally, the tree’s root system extends outward, creating micro-channels in the ground that facilitate faster and deeper penetration of rainwater, thereby reducing the likelihood of surface water flooding.
These existing trees would significantly contribute to the site’s flood management strategy and would complement the proposed SUDS and detention basin. The trees removal will disrupt the natural water-absorbing process they facilitate, potentially exacerbating the flooding risks associated with the development.
Will the site have any affordable housing?
We’re back to Taylor Wimpey’s self-congratulatory marketing spin, portraying themselves as knights in shining armour once again coming to rescue Shoeburyness – hooray for Taylor Wimpey, the affordable housing champions!
Our stance is not against housing; rather, it is in support of safeguarding Shoeburyness’ mature trees, green spaces, and well-established wildlife habitats, along with all the valuable benefits they bring.
“Policy-compliant provision of 30% affordable housing” translates to Taylor Wimpey merely meeting the bare minimum requirements. Alongside legal obligations, Southend Council’s local policy requires developers to ‘set aside’ or allocate a portion of any major development for affordable rent and homeownership or contribute to local affordable housing projects elsewhere.
Southend Council’s policy requires a 30% provision of affordable housing, and Taylor Wimpey meets this requirement as a bare minimum, not out of genuine concern but rather due to legal obligation.
What is ‘affordable housing’? Before 2011, council properties were classified as ‘social rent’, a rent determined by a calculation that considered property values and average local income, emphasising the latter. It typically hovered around 50% of the rental market value.
However, the Affordable Homes Programme introduced by former Prime Minister David Cameron created a new category: ‘affordable rent.’ So-called ‘affordable rent’ was set at up to 80% of the rental market value, distinct from ‘social rent’ as it didn’t consider the average income of those needing council housing and therefore neglected to account for housing affordability for people facing financial difficulties.
As you know, since 2008, house prices and rent have soared while wages have remained stagnant, resulting in a growing number of individuals unable to afford what is labelled as ‘affordable rent’ including those who previously relied on social rent, minimum wage earners, and key workers in various fields.
However, the underlying issues with affordable housing, namely affordability, is a separate and ongoing discussion – the only option currently on the table is the one we have. Nevertheless, a more substantial allocation of affordable homes would have been more desirable, especially considering the nine unaffordable properties on New Garrison Road adjacent to Taylor Wimpey’s development. These ill-conceived properties remain unsold and empty, with asking prices ranging between £655,000 and £785,000. To add to the irony, five of these properties boast views of Lidl’s rear and a river of sewage during heavy rainfall, a situation that Taylor Wimpey’s Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems will most probably contribute to!
With all this in mind, we must focus on how the people of Shoeburyness benefit in real terms. We should not, for a moment, feel gratitude to Taylor Wimpey for merely meeting their legal obligation. If the required ‘affordable housing’ provision was 20%, be sure that’s all Taylor Wimpey would supply in pursuit of profit. Furthermore, it remains crucial not to lose sight of their development’s truly damaging impact on our community, trees, and wildlife.
When will construction start?
Regrettably, Taylor Wimpey hasn’t listened to residents, and we understand that their plan to destroy trees, an embankment, and wildlife habitat will commence later this year once they have fulfilled specific planning conditions.
What can you do to help?
As you’ll probably know, an alliance of Shoebury residents’ associations, collectively representing over 11,000 members on Facebook, which is equivalent to half of Shoebury’s total population, have united to send an open letter to Taylor Wimpey Directors and Shareholders, available here to read: https://sraa.mmm.page
This letter urges Taylor Wimpey to commit to genuine action and seriously consider relocating the apartment block to one of three resident proposed alternative areas on the former Cantel Medical site. Such a decision would demonstrate Taylor Wimpey’s genuine commitment to supporting thriving communities and preserving local green spaces, trees, and wildlife habitats.
Furthermore, this positive commitment has the potential to restore Taylor Wimpey’s nearly irreparably damaged reputation in South East Essex. The effort required is minimal, and the associated cost would be negligible for a company of Taylor Wimpey’s size, which recorded an operating profit of £923.4 million in 2022.
Unfortunately, until now, we have only witnessed a company that disregards residents, advocates environmental vandalism, engages in surveillance of communities, and thrives on misinformation and deception as evidenced in this three part response to Taylor Wimpey’s ‘August 2023 – Update.’
As recently as last Friday, an article titled ‘Essex Boy Appeals to King Charles to Save Shoeburyness Trees’ was featured on BBC News (Source: https://tinyurl.com/2p9y2e4k). A spokesperson from Taylor Wimpey asserted, “All but one of the mature trees, which is suffering from ash dieback, within the development boundary will be retained.”
This statement is nothing short of a shameful, blatant lie. As we know, Taylor Wimpey intends to destroy 44 mature trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order and another 19 healthy, mature trees situated within the development boundary. Another sad example of the deceptive practices of Taylor Wimpey – a disgrace to young Ricky, His Majesty The King, the Shoeburyness community, Everyone!
To offer your support for the Open Letter (https://sraa.mmm.page) and urge Taylor Wimpey to seriously consider relocating the apartment block to one of the three alternative areas proposed by residents, please write directly to the following:
Taylor Wimpey Board of Directors and Shareholders
℅ Ishaq Kayani, Interim Company Secretary
Jennie Daly, Taylor Wimpey CEO
Please email their replies to: info[AT]chainsawmassacre.uk
And If you haven’t already, please sign and share the associated PETITION: https://chng.it/HgsC8nHZ2P