16 July 2015
Jersey’s Planning Minister is considering how policy HE1 (the heritage policy) of the Island Plan might be interpreted more clearly following a Royal Court ruling.
The Royal Court overturned planning permission granted for the development of 17 new homes at Keppel Tower on Grouville Coast Road.
The Minister, Deputy Steve Luce, initially planned to go to the Court of Appeal to challenge the Royal Court's ruling but, following a request by States Members, he has decided to withdraw his appeal. However, the Royal Court ruling was based on an interpretation of the Island Plan policy which could undermine Jersey’s planning framework and Deputy Luce is considering ways in which the interpretation of the Island Plan can be clearer.
“We have genuine concerns about a court ruling that affects how we deliver the Island Plan, and what we can do in St Helier in the coming years," he said. "Those concerns are real and meaningful, and based on what we think is best for our community as whole. But we’ve taken a further look at the legal process, and listened to the views of the public and of States Members and we think it’s the right thing to do in these circumstances.
“While I remain sensitive to the views of the neighbour to this particularly development, I stand by the critical point of principle here which is that future developments must be considered on a balanced basis and that, ultimately, I as the Minister must deliver this States-approved Island Plan.”
The States Assembly approved a revised Island Plan in July 2014. It 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. It also includes a policy for the Coastal National Park, to protect the most sensitive parts of Jersey’s coast and countryside.
The Revised Island Plan was 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.
The Island Plan is the foundation for all planning decisions in Jersey, and is underpinned by a strategy to direct new development into more built up areas, and away from the countryside (policy H6).
The policies are detailed and, as may be expected, often pull in different directions. This is not at all unusual. The role of the Planning Department and the Planning Applications Committee is to assess and carefully balance the impacts of an application with its benefits.
The Planning and Environment Minister is charged with producing and administering the Island Plan on behalf of the government.