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Castle Point

Coordinates: 51°32′N 0°35′E / 51.54°N 0.58°E / 51.54; 0.58
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Castle Point
Borough of Castle Point
Thundersley, one of the towns of the borough and its administrative centre
Thundersley, one of the towns of the borough and its administrative centre
Castle Point within Essex
Castle Point within Essex
Coordinates: 51°32′N 0°35′E / 51.54°N 0.58°E / 51.54; 0.58
CountryUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionEast of England
Established1 April 1974
Admin HQThundersley
 • TypeAlternative s.31
 • MPsRebecca Harris (Conservative)
 • Land17.41 sq mi (45.08 km2)
 (2021)2021 Census
 • Total89,591
 • Estimate 
 • Density4,976/sq mi (1,921.2/km2)
Ethnicity (2021)
 • Ethnic groups
Religion (2021)
 • Religion
Time zoneUTC+0 (Greenwich Mean Time)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (British Summer Time)

Castle Point is a local government district with borough status in south Essex, England, lying around 30 miles (48 km) east of London. The borough comprises the towns of South Benfleet, Hadleigh and Thundersley (where the council is based) on the mainland, and the adjoining Canvey Island in the Thames Estuary, which is connected to the mainland by bridges.

The borough borders the City of Southend-on-Sea to the east, Rochford District to the north, the Borough of Basildon to the west, and the Thurrock unitary authority area to the south-west, across Holehaven Creek.


Castle Point was formed on 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, as one of 14 non-metropolitan districts within Essex. The new district covered the areas of the former urban districts of Benfleet and Canvey Island, both of which were abolished at the same time.[2]

The district was named "Castle Point", combining references to landmarks in both of the former urban districts: Hadleigh Castle in Benfleet and Canvey Point at the eastern tip of Canvey Island.[3]

The district was granted borough status with effect from 1 February 1992, allowing the chair of the council to take the title of mayor.[4]


Castle Point Borough Council
Lynsey McCarthy-Calvert,
since 17 May 2023
Dave Blackwell,
since 18 May 2022
Angela Hutchings
since 1 July 2022[5]
Political groups
Administration (39)
  PIP (24)
  CIIP (15)
Opposition (0)
Last election
2 May 2024
Next election
May 2028
Meeting place
Council Offices, Kiln Road, Thundersley, Benfleet, SS7 1TF

Castle Point Borough Council provides district-level services. County-level services are provided by Essex County Council.[6] Canvey Island is a civil parish with a town council, forming a third tier of local government in that part of the borough. The mainland part of the borough (the former Benfleet Urban District) is an unparished area.[7]

Political control[edit]

The council has been under no overall control since the 2022 election, being run by a coalition of the Canvey Island Independent Party and the People's Independent Party.[8]

The first election to the council was held in 1973, initially operating as a shadow authority alongside the outgoing authorities until the new arrangements came into effect on 1 April 1974. Political control of the council since 1974 has been as follows:[9][10][11]

Party in control Years
Labour 1974–1976
Conservative 1976–1995
Labour 1995–2003
Conservative 2003–2014
No overall control 2014–2014
Conservative 2014–2022
No overall control 2022–2024
PIP 2024


The role of mayor is largely ceremonial in Castle Point. Political leadership is instead provided by the leader of the council. The leaders since 2014 have been:[12]

Councillor Party From To
Pam Challis Conservative 25 May 2014
Colin Riley Conservative 4 Jun 2014 16 May 2018
Norman Smith Conservative 16 May 2018 15 Mar 2021
Jeffrey Stanley Conservative 15 Mar 2021 9 May 2021
Andrew Sheldon Conservative 19 May 2021 8 May 2022
Dave Blackwell Canvey Island Independent Party 18 May 2022


Following the 2024 election the composition of the council is:[citation needed]

Party Councillors
The People's Independent Party 24
Canvey Island Independent Party 15
Total 39

Notably, Castle Point is currently the only council in England where no seat is held by the Labour Party, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats or the Green Party. It is also the only council where an independent party holds majority control.

Following a vote by the council in early 2024[13] Castle Point transitioned to whole council elections every 4 years. Therefore the next election is due in 2028 where all seats will be up for election.


The council is based at the Council Offices on Kiln Road in Thundersley.[14] The building was built in 1962 as the headquarters of the former Benfleet Urban District Council.[15]


Since the last boundary changes in 2003, the council has comprised 41 councillors representing 14 wards, with each ward electing either two or three councillors. Elections are held three years out of every four, with roughly a third of the council being elected each time for a four-year term. In the fourth year of the cycle when there are no elections for the borough council, elections for Essex County Council are held instead.[16]


Canvey Island, one of the towns of the borough

The national land use tables published by MHCLG show that in 2017, 56.6% of the borough was covered by green spaces including agriculture, forest and open land, water and outdoor recreation spaces. Close to one-fifth (18.2%) was accounted for by residential gardens.[17]


Climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, but despite adequate rainfall all year-round it is on average the driest part of the UK. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Cfb" (Marine West Coast Climate/Oceanic climate).[18]

Climate data for Castle Point
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 8
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 46
Source: Weatherbase [19]


The median age of Castle Point's residents at the 2011 census was 45, compared to a regional average of 39 and national average of 40.[20]

Castle Point has several estates laid out as seaside resorts for retirement, which is reflected in 7% of its population at the time of the 2011 census being aged 75 to 84, compared to 5.5% nationally.[20]


South Benfleet, one of the towns of the borough

The A13 crosses Castle Point and the A127 skirts it to the north, providing direct links to both Southend and London.

The only station in the borough is Benfleet railway station on the London, Tilbury and Southend line from London Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness, operated by c2c.

Castle Point has an extensive bus network operated by the First Essex and Arriva Shires & Essex, with services across the borough and to Southend, Basildon, Lakeside Shopping Centre and Rayleigh. Weekday services by Stephensons of Essex also travel to London, Southend and Thurrock College and Regal Busways offers a six-day-a-week service to Chelmsford.

Sport and community facilities[edit]

Waterside Farm Sports Centre, on Canvey Island is set in 88 acres (36 ha) of parkland and has a range of indoor and outdoor facilities, including a 25-metre swimming pool, a learner pool and facilities for badminton, squash, netball, basketball, trampolining and gymnastics. The centre also includes an outdoor 6 lane, 400-metre athletics track. Opposite the sports centre is the Castle Point Golf Course, an 18-hole par 71 public pay-and-play course with a 17-bay floodlit driving range.[21]

Runnymede Pool is situated behind the Council Offices in Kiln Road. It has a 25-metre pool and a learner pool and is home to Runnymede Swimming Club.[22]


Castle Point is twinned with three towns and counties:[23]

  • Romainville, a north-eastern Paris suburb, since 30 March 1962.
  • Cologne District, Germany. Formally since 19 June 1971 when Lövenich (now part of Cologne) was an independent town.
  • County Roscommon, Republic of Ireland. Twinned with Castle Point council in April 1998.

Places of interest[edit]

Dutch Cottage Museum

Hadleigh Castle is preserved as an ancient monument from the 13th century, forming the most important historic site in the borough and the most important late medieval castle in Essex. The Dutch Cottage Museum contains a variety of exhibits that illustrate the history of Canvey Island, and the Castle Point Transport Museum, also situated on Canvey in the retired District bus depot, features a display of over thirty old buses, coaches and commercial vehicles.


Coat of arms of Castle Point
Granted 30 September 1987.
On a wreath Or Gules and Vert within a circlet of oyster shells Proper and between two stalks of wheat leaved Or a tower triple towered Gold.
Per chevron embattled per pale Gules and Vert and barry wavy Argent and Azure in chief two ancient crowns Or and in base on a lozenge Vert a mound of earth issuant from its base and thereon a representation of a Canvey Island Dutch cottage Proper.
Societas Florebit (Fellowship Will Blossom)[24]


  1. ^ a b UK Census (2021). "2021 Census Area Profile – Castle Point Local Authority (E07000069)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 5 January 2024.
  2. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Definition) Order 1972", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 1972/2039, retrieved 31 May 2023
  3. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Names) Order 1973", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 1973/551, retrieved 31 May 2023
  4. ^ Bulletin of Local Authority Status Names and Areas 1 April 1991 – 31 March 1992 (PDF). London: Department of the Environment. 1992. p. 7. Retrieved 3 June 2023.
  5. ^ "Chief Executive". Castle Point Borough Council. Retrieved 3 June 2023.
  6. ^ "Local Government Act 1972", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, 1972 c. 70, retrieved 31 May 2023
  7. ^ "Election maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 3 June 2023.
  8. ^ "Castle Point Borough Council: Tories lose control after nearly 20 years". BBC News. 6 May 2022. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  9. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. Retrieved 1 June 2023.
  10. ^ "Castle Point". BBC News Online. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  11. ^ Mansfield, Katie (5 November 2014). "Defector gives power back to Conservatives". The Echo. NewsBank.
  12. ^ "Council minutes". Castle Point Borough Council. Retrieved 10 June 2022.
  13. ^ Meyler, Piers (5 February 2024). "Council agrees change in voting system". Essex Live. Retrieved 9 April 2024.
  14. ^ "Contact us". Castle Point Borough Council. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  15. ^ Downer, John; Gamble, Eileen. "The Official Guides to Benfleet Urban District Council". Benfleet Community Archive. Retrieved 3 June 2023.
  16. ^ "The Borough of Castle Point (Electoral Changes) Order 2001", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 2001/2440, retrieved 3 June 2023
  17. ^ "Live tables on land use". GOV.UK. Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  18. ^ Climate Summary for Castle Point
  19. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Castle Point". Weatherbase. 2013. Retrieved on April 19, 2013.
  20. ^ a b (Key Statistics: Age Structure) 2011 census Retrieved 2014-12-01
  21. ^ "Castle Point Leisure". Retrieved 3 June 2023.
  22. ^ "Runnymede Swimming Club". Retrieved 3 June 2023.
  23. ^ "Castlepoint Borough Council". Archived from the original on 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2019-01-25.
  24. ^ "East of England Region". Civic Heraldry of England. Retrieved 8 March 2021.

External links[edit]