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Independent progress report on Planning is published

06 February 2014

​An independent review of Jersey's planning service by UK experts has commended the introduction of a new appeals process and the development of an online planning system.

'Shaping the Jersey Planning System for the Future', which has been published by the Department of the Environment, is the second review by the Planning Officers Society for England and Wales. It highlights the progress made in improving Jersey's planning service in the three years since the society's members first came to Jersey and reviewed planning practice.

Their report has also made a number of comments and recommendations including a greater engagement with Islanders during the plan-making process.

Important strides

The Minister for Planning and Environment, Deputy Rob Duhamel, said “I am delighted that we have been able to continue our working relationship with the Planning Officers Society. This second health check has recognised the important strides we have made in improving planning performance, protocols and information technology, and its recommendations will form a useful basis to develop and evolve our planning practice over the next three years.”

The report commends the political protocols that have been put in place and confirms that ministerial intervention has significantly reduced since 2010. It also commends the progress made towards the pre-application service.
The review also made a number of recommendations, including:
  • the need for a stronger connection with the priorities of the Island’s Strategic Plan
  • more and earlier engagement with the public and States Members during the plan-making process to help shape proposals for the future
  • a recommendation that officer reports on planning applications more clearly outline how conflicting policies are interpreted and express a clear position on where the balance of conflicting interests lie
  • the need for the next Island Plan, masterplans, and all significant development briefs, to take account of the financial viability of development
  • the need for a comprehensive review of permitted development and standard conditions in order to balance resources and management

The review also recommends that developers and the Planning Department are more transparent, and provide evidence, when considering the viability of development schemes.

The report concluded that the balance of decision-making across heritage, environment and economic development is the correct one when compared to the Island’s strategic aims and that the balance of decision-making was broadly appropriate. 

Substantial improvements

As part of their appraisal, the society also measured the Department's performance against the recommendations made in previous reports.

The reviewers concluded that the majority of the main recommendations had been put in place, and substantial improvements made, following:

  • the 2005 Shepley review of planning
  • the 2010 Planning Improvement programme
  • the 2010 Regs Skip Committee of Inquiry

Deputy Duhamel said “The Department has implemented a number of positive changes over the last few years. It will continue to review its service and we will carefully consider the society’s recommendations.”

The report follows an extensive programme of research, including the review of a number of planning application files and reports, and interviews with key users of the service and department and States of Jersey staff.

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