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Go ahead for JEC sub-station at Westmount

29 May 2014

The JEC’s plans to build a new sub-station on a St Helier park have been approved by the Planning Applications Panel.

The company plans to excavate a former quarry site in Westmount Gardens and build a primary substation. The park is zoned as protected open space in Jersey’s 2011 Island Plan.

In its report, the Planning Department said it would not normally support an application for a prominent and large building in a popular park, but recognises that the sub-station is essential infrastructure for the island which can’t reasonably be built somewhere else.

At today’s meeting, Planning Applications Panel members heard that there was a clear and urgent need for the sub-station and that the Planning Department accepted the application was in the Island’s strategic interest. The panel said there had been a thorough and comprehensive search for alternative sites and commented on the high quality presentation on the plans.

As part of the application, the JEC has offered to provide land for an extension to the park, to compensate for a section which will be lost to the development.

3G pitch plans for Springfield falter

Plans to install an artificial 3G pitch at Springfield Stadium have been turned down – despite the panel’s support for it – because of the scale and extent of proposed changes to the surrounding community park.

The application by the Department for Education, Sport and Culture argued that creating a 3G pitch would extend the stadium’s use for a wide variety of community, sporting and schools use and for the NatWest Island Games XVI - Jersey 2015.

Panel members said there was a clash between the needs of footballers and those of the community, and there had been too little community consultation on the proposed changes. They pointed out that the creation of the new pitch would mean a loss of open space and trees, the relocation of the children’s play area and landscaping mounds, and an increase in the parking area. It would also require a 3.2 metre high fence around the new pitch and the addition of a wide tarmac strip.

Director of Development Control, Department of the Environment, Peter Le Gresley said “The panel supports the proposals for a 3G pitch, but the original remit for this important community facility was that it was a football stadium within a community area. This application changes the emphasis, to one where football takes priority. And while the panel was mindful of the delay this causes to what’s going to be an important venue for the NatWest Island Games, it was felt there should have been some meaningful community engagement on the considerable changes this application proposes.”

The Planning Department received seven letters of objection, including one from the Constable of St Helier. A petition with 36 names against the development was also sent to Planning.

Because the department had recommended approval for the application, the proposal will now be considered by the Planning Minister.

Jersey Race Club marquee for hire on trial basis

Plans by the Jersey Race Club to raise money by hiring out a large marquee at Les Landes for private and corporate events have today been approved – but on a trial basis.

The club applied for permission to hire out its 360-capacity members’ marquee for functions such as wedding receptions, up to six times a year during the racing season of April to October.

The Planning Department’s report states that the Jersey Race Club is considering new ways to increase income following a decline in corporate entertainment events, racing attendance and advertising revenue.

The panel took account of concerns about the impact on wildlife on nearby land at Les Landes, which is a Site of Special Ecological Interest, and on neighbours.

The panel said the permit should be on a trial basis until the end of 2015, and that a management plan must be produced ahead of the first event, setting out how the Jersey Race Club would address the concerns raised.

Coastal National Park cottage extension

The owners of a listed building in the Coastal National Park at Archirondel have been given permission to extend it.

Archirondel Cottage, on the road down to the café, is a 19th century cottage which has links to the construction of the breakwater and to the Occupation.

In approving the application, the panel praised the design of the extension, which members felt was a sensitive addition to an historic building.

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