Independence for Canvey Island!

The Canvey Island Independent Party (CIIP) is pushing ahead with plans to break away from Castle Point Council. The CIIP holds 14 out of the island’s 17 seats on Castle Point Council yet feel the concerns and aspirations of the islanders are being ignored by the Tory controlled authority. See here for the full story in the Independent: Canvey Island pushes ahead with Catalonia-style bid for independence

Not a moment too soon we say… Canvey Island has just one main road leading off the island – the A130 Canvey Way leading up to the Saddlers Farm junction on the A13. There’s also the B1014 that crosses East Haven Creek and winds its way up through suburban Benfleet to the A13 at Thundersley. That’s it, just two roads off an island that’s currently home to 38,000 people. An island that’s below sea level at high tide and is home to a petro-chemical storage facility. In the event of tidal flooding or/and an incident at the storage facility that would necessitate evacuation of the island, it’s these two roads that would have to carry all off the traffic. These roads would not cope and there would be chaos…

This post from the Canvey Green Belt Campaign: Continued Development Necessary, for Canvey Island to Thrive Economically and Socially, despite the Hazards! eloquently deals in detail with the risks briefly mentioned above and argues that Canvey Island cannot take any more development. Now were not NIMBYs and realise that people have to live somewhere. However, it should be common sense to realise that when it comes to housing, Canvey Island is full up.

Yet despite the reasoned, thoroughly researched and eloquent arguments from the Canvey Green Belt Campaign, Castle Point Council continue to press for more housing development on the island. Presumably the Tories have done the maths and feel pretty confident they’ll continue to hang onto power, therefore they can get away with dumping on Canvey Island while ensuring the leafy heights of Benfleet, Hadleigh and Thundersley continue to stay that way.

There’s an honourable history of Canvey Island people standing up to the big oil companies to stop them building refineries on the island as this piece from The Canvey Community Archive relates: The Oil Refinery fight on Canvey Island in the 1970s Spoiler – the people of Canvey Island won their fight. As a bit of an aside, Wilko Johnson was on one of the demos and there’s footage of him doing this on the Julian Temple film, Oil City Confidential.

As anarchists, we support any initiative that’ll bring power closer to the grassroots and this one ticks enough boxes for us. Okay, it might not have the glamour of the Catalonian bid for independence (which is a matter of debate in anarchist circles) but as Canvey Island is on our doorstep, it would be rude of us to not offer our moral support to the CIIP.


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