UNTIL a few months ago we lived on Canvey Island (Essex), my wife and I had been on the island for well over 45 years and enjoyed most of our times there. The main reason for our move to March was that over the years successive councils of various persuasions were committed to the over development of the area. When I attended school the population of the island was around 27,000 now it is approaching 50,000 and these 50,000 occupy the same acreage as did the 27,000.
The councils with their core strategy have placed paramount importance on the revenue uptake from the sale of land and additional council tax etc that naturally comes with additional housing, with little or no regard for the quality of life and wishes of the people who elect them.
Canvey Island is now so overdeveloped that it regularly takes 45 minutes to drive just five miles at peak times, the infrastructure has not been upgraded to cope with the extra demands that are placed upon it and so if there is a heavy downpour many roads become impassable due to flooding and unemployment has dramatically risen as a result of there being too many people chasing too few jobs locally.
The quality of life for those on the island has dropped significantly and with it their aspirations and their care for the wellbeing of what once was a close, thoughtful community.
In the few months that I have lived in March I have seen many things which remind me of my childhood, a fantastic community spirit, people who care what their town looks and acts like, people that actually say “hello” and “good morning”. Most of you may well take this for granted but please don’t because once it has gone it will be impossible to get it back.
Over the past few weeks I have read with interest the various views of the future proposals and developments for the local area, what scares me is that the councils are speaking the same rhetoric as those back on Canvey Island. If you wish the people and the town of March to keep these special qualities then do whatever you can in order to prevent mass over development and stop this beautiful town from becoming another Canvey Island 20 years down the line.