25 August 2015
The Minister for Planning and Environment, Deputy Steve Luce, has written to owners of dilapidated and derelict glasshouses to clarify their intentions for the future use of these sites.
The Minister believes that a number of glasshouses in the Island which are either derelict or redundant are unsightly and have a detrimental impact on the landscape. They could have an alternative agricultural use and some glasshouses are in such poor condition that they could also pose a health and safety risk. The Minister would like to work with land owners and find ways to address these problems.
Deputy Luce said: “The intention is that these dilapidated or un-used greenhouses are put to good use or removed and the land returned to alternative agricultural use. On a very small number of sites there may be some merit in pursuing some minor development, but this will only be in exceptional circumstances. At this stage I would like to hear from owners of these glasshouse sites so that we can discuss and explore options.”
Removal of derelict structures
Deputy Luce’s letter sets out the conditions that may apply to particular glasshouse sites and the statutory powers that exist to order the removal of ruinous or dilapidated structures, the Minister also recognises the high costs of maintaining and repairing glasshouses.
Commenting on the letter, Deputy Luce said: “I have contacted the owners of glasshouses that appear to have fallen into a ruinous or dilapidated state in order to find out from them what future use they intend to make of these structures. On the one hand, I am seeking to address concerns that have been raised about the amount of derelict and redundant glass in the Island, while on the other I recognise the financial, legal, and policy constraints associated with my Department’s current position.”
The Rural Economy Strategy advocates that, where glass is in good condition, it will be beneficial to keep it in agricultural use to support the rural economy through promoting local food production and food security or to help existing businesses to extend their production into the shoulder months of the year.
However, the Strategy also notes that there continues to be an issue with derelict and redundant glasshouse sites in the Island.
Some glasshouses have been developed on fields which have full agricultural conditions which means that even if they are not being used by the current owners then they must be let out to a bona fide agriculturist.