25 January 2013
The Planning Applications Panel has refused an application for the development of four new homes in St Brelade. The plans were designed to replace an existing house at Ravenscliff Cottage, La Route des Genets, with a new development in a modern farmyard style. However, Panel members unanimously rejected the scheme, considering it to be an overdevelopment of the site which would be out of context with the character of the area.
The Panel met today and considered a total of 19 applications. Among these was an application by the Wool Shop at Haute Croix for three signs. Two were approved and one refused. The Panel took account of objections by the Transport and Technical Services Department on safety grounds; they argued that one of the three signs could be a distraction to motorists at a busy junction.
The Panel also agreed to an application to demolish an old agricultural shed in Grouville and to replace it with four new dwellings. In objecting to the scheme, Planning Officers had cited the policies of the current Island Plan, which aims to provide new housing within the Built-Up Area, rather than the Green Zone, and which encourages the re-use of existing employment sites for use by new employment activities.
However, the Panel considered that the scheme represented a good use of a ‘brownfield’ site, which had not been used for some time. The Panel also noted that the latest application followed an earlier scheme for six houses which had been rejected 18 months ago.
The decision, which is contrary to officer advice, will be now be reviewed by the Minister of the Planning and Environment Department.
The Protection of Employment Land policy aims to support existing States policy on economic regeneration by encouraging the recycling of existing employment sites for use by new employment activities.
There is particular pressure for residential development on employment land, whilst at the same time there is a shortage of sites available for new business development. The loss of any site can be significant but especially for some of the smaller companies, since 77% of the 5,700 businesses in Jersey employ five or fewer people.
The Island Plan states ‘There is a benefit to the Island in seeking to maximise the economic contribution of those employment sites which cumulatively provide significant levels of employment. The development of a wide range of business activities on these sites, taking account of their character and potential, including uses such as warehousing, storage and light industry, can provide employment without compromising the quality of the surrounding environment.
And: ‘Proposals to redevelop or convert employment sites for housing will normally be unacceptable because they are likely to raise the price of such sites beyond the means of businesses and also because the Plan makes adequate provision of land for residential development elsewhere.
‘All proposals to re-develop or convert employment sites will need to demonstrate that they are no longer viable for the existing use before they are considered for alternative uses by the Minister for Planning and Environment. Supplementary planning guidance will be written to provide guidance on what is required to demonstrate; that a site is no longer viable and; that it has been subject to full and proper marketing of the site. There will be careful monitoring of this policy to ensure that it contributes positively to economic growth and that the employment implications of developments have been properly taken into account in the planning process. The Minister will continue to review it as appropriate to ensure that it meets these objectives.'