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Revised Island Plan approved

22 July 2014

The States Assembly last week approved a revised Island Plan.

This sets out a new housing strategy for the Island to meet the need for affordable homes and provides a stronger and clearer policy to better protect Jersey’s most sensitive coastal and countryside landscapes.

The Revised 2011 Island Plan, as amended, explains how about 70% of the Island’s need for 1,000 affordable homes up to 2020 will be delivered on land that is publicly owned. This includes direct ownership by the States or through bodies such as the newly established Andium Homes.

The remainder of the housing supply will be built on privately owned former glasshouse sites that have now been rezoned by the States specifically to develop affordable homes. The largest of these, which has the capacity for up to 200 homes, is the site of the former Samares Nurseries in St Clement. Former glasshouse sites at De la Mare Nurseries in Grouville and Field 785 in St Ouen, together with Field 402 in St Martin, have also been rezoned.

The Minister for Planning and Environment, Deputy Rob Duhamel, has stipulated that any homes provided on these sites will only be accessible to those people who are in most housing need. The Housing Gateway, which is run by the Chief Minister’s Department, will ensure that only those households that are on or below the median income level can access these homes to rent. A small proportion of the homes – up to 20% - will also be available to purchase.

The only site that is excluded from this allocation process is Field 402 in St Martin which, following a successful amendment brought by Deputy Steve Luce, will be controlled by the St Martin’s Housing Association.

Focus on affordable homes

Deputy Duhamel said “I was tasked with bringing forward a new set of proposals to deliver more affordable homes in the Island and that is what we now have. This is very much focussed on making better use of publicly owned land to deliver the homes that we need and is much more targeted to those who are in most housing need. These are positive steps forward and will also help to deliver urban regeneration.”

Other significant changes delivered by the Revised Island Plan include a stronger policy for the Coastal National Park, which includes the most sensitive parts of Jersey’s coast and countryside. The new policy introduces some clearer tests to control the size and scale of redevelopment and extensions in this area, as well as providing greater clarity about the range of development that business and homeowners might be able to carry out without causing harm to the character of the area.

Deputy Duhamel’s changes to the Plan include an updated safety zone around the Airport Fuel Farm, following some work to assess the risks presented by this facility. Also, one of the policies of the 2011 Island Plan, which regulated demolition of buildings (Policy GD2), has been removed following difficulties associated with its use and application, which was particularly problematic for applicants.

The Revised Island Plan has been the subject of an extensive process of scrutiny and review in the process leading up to its adoption, including public consultation and review by independent Planning Inspectors. Some States Members also lodged their own changes to the Plan.

Deputy Duhamel added “I am grateful to those who have engaged in the Plan-making process, whether they have provided written comment or appeared at the Examination in Public. It is only through this process of engagement and review that we can deliver a more robust planning framework that is more widely owned and accepted.”

The Minister will now work to implement the outcomes of the new Plan, including working to deliver affordable homes as soon as possible, and helping parish communities to develop additional supplementary planning guidance.

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