05 March 2015
2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the introduction of a comprehensive planning and building law in Jersey.
Since 1965, the law has provided a framework to control development and plan for the community’s needs. This has protected the Island’s coast and countryside from excessive development and safeguarded areas of ecological value and historic buildings, while meeting the needs of a sophisticated and complex Island community in the 21st century.
Landscapes, heritage assets and buildings protected by planning and building legislation include:
- the sand dunes at Les Blanches Banques
- one of the most important Neanderthal sites in North-West Europe, La Cotte de St Brelade
- heathland at Les Landes
- Mont Orgeuil Castle
- Grantez dolmen
- Almorah Crescent
- Victorian streetscapes in Beach Road and David Place
In the coming months, the Department of the Environment will mark the 50th anniversary of the law with a number of events. These will include:
- free public drop-in sessions for planning and building advice
- Town and Country Planning Association climate change event
- 'ask the department’ sessions on social media
- improved energy performance targets for new and altered buildings
- Royal Town Planning Institute conference
- engage young people to raise awareness of planning and building
- Institute of Historic Building Conservation visit
Planning and Environment Minister Deputy Steve Luce said “Since 1965 the planning law has made Jersey the place we know and love - securing the openness of St Ouen’s Bay, and protecting the Island’s coastline, countryside and heritage.
“But we also recognise that there’s always room for improvement – to increase the transparency, speed and efficiency of the service, to make our town a high quality and vibrant environment, to help provide homes for growing families, and to reduce regulation for people who want to make small changes to their home or business.”
The Minister added “We’re also going to use the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary to find out more about what Jersey people want to see in the next 50 years and how we can make that happen.”
Improve building standards
The original planning and building laws developed out of a post-war recognition of the need to avoid ad hoc building development, to improve building standards and protect Jersey’s special coastal areas and countryside. In 1965 the Island Development Law came into force to protect the ‘amenities’ of the Island.
An updated 2006 law recognised the need for more transparency in planning and building; requiring all planning applications to be publicised. The law also introduced third party appeals for people directly affected by a planning application.
Fast and easy online system
Now all documentation connected with a planning application is freely available online. Committee meetings are held in public and people can express their point of view to the Planning Applications Committee in person.
2015 will see the launch of a number of new initiatives to continue improving the planning and building service, including a cheaper and quicker appeals system, the ability to request written advice and make complaints online, a fast and easy online payment system and the extension of the online service to include the submission of applications.