Agricultural properties in St Clement (FOI)
Agricultural properties in St Clement (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 19 October 2020.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
Please refer to the JEP article titled "Homes could be built on agricultural land" in the attached PDF.
In this article Deputy John Young is quoted saying "We made a call for development sites to go into the plan and we had stakeholders come back with 700 plots to put forward to be considered in the plan."
Please could you obtain the addresses of all of these plots that are in St Clement?
Please let me know if anything is unclear
The information requested is exempt under Article 35 (Formulation and Development of Policies) of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011.
The justification for this is that, as part of the Island Plan Review process, islanders have been invited to provide the Government with details about sites which they would like to be considered for either development or protection. It is clear, therefore, that the sites that have been submitted are not just for the purposes of development; some sites have also been put forward for protection.Register land for development or protection (Call For Sites)
The fact that a site has been submitted does not mean that it will be put forward as a site in the draft Island Plan (whether for development or protection), and releasing information about the sites that have been submitted for consideration is thus premature. All of the sites that have been submitted are being assessed as to their suitability for both development or protection; and also relative to work that is being undertaken to determine the overall demand for development; and the plan strategy to be adopted to address it. Therefore the status of these sites will not be known until policy has been developed.
All of the sites that have been submitted for consideration, together with details of their assessment, will be published and placed in the public domain when the draft Island Plan is published (i.e. once draft policy has been formulated): this is scheduled to take place in March 2021.
It is also relevant to note that the draft plan will be open for an extensive period of public consultation (at 12 weeks) when it is published in March, which will enable public representations to be made in relation to sites included/excluded from the plan. The draft plan; the assessment of sites; and any representations will then be subject to independent examination before the draft plan is considered by the States.
Article 35 Formulation and development of policies
Information is qualified exempt information if it relates to the formulation or development of any proposed policy by a public authority.
Public interest test
Article 35 is a qualified exemption, which means that a public interest test has to be undertaken to examine the circumstances of the case and decide whether, on balance, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.
Although there is a need for transparency, accountability, financial and good decision making by public authorities this information relates to policy development. The SPA – and indeed good government, requires Ministers to be provided with full, frank advice from officials about the possible impact of proposed policy, and for Ministers and officials to be able to discuss and test those proposed policies in a comprehensive way.
The following considerations were taken into account:
Public interest considerations favouring disclosure
disclosure of the information would support transparency and promote accountability to the general public, providing confirmation that the necessary discussions have taken place
disclosure to the public fulfils an educative role about the early stages in policy development and illustrates how the department engages with parties for this purpose
Public interest considerations favouring withholding the information
in order to best develop policy, Officers and Ministers need a safe space in which free and frank discussion can take place. The need for this safe space is considered at its greatest during the live stages of a policy. Sharing views is important to ensure that all relevant considerations are taken into account in developing and implementing policy. Disclosure at a time when these views are still being considered would negatively impact the Department’s ability to fully consider the information
the need for this safe space is considered at its greatest during the live stages of a policy
release of the information at this stage might generate misinformed debate in areas where future options have yet to be finalised. This would affect the ability of officials to consider and develop policy away from external pressures, and to advise Ministers appropriately
disclosure of this information may limit the willingness of parties to provide their honest views and feedback in future. This would hamper and harm the policy–making process not only in relation to this subject area but in respect of future policy development across wider Departmental business
Taking into account the various factors, the SPA decided in favour of withholding the redacted information.