17 June 2015
Jersey’s Planning Minister is to challenge a court ruling on a planning decision that he believes could put delivery of the Island Plan at risk and pose a threat to protection of the countryside.
Deputy Steve Luce is to ask the Court of Appeal to overturn a Royal Court judgment concerning an application for 17 new homes on a site beside Keppel Tower on Grouville Coast Road.
The application was the subject of two successful legal challenges by a neighbour – the owner of Seymour Cottage.
Deputy Luce acknowledges the impact planning decisions can have, and is sensitive to the neighbour’s concerns, but argues that the Planning Minister has to balance the needs of the individual with those of the community as a whole.
Island Plan policy
The Minister is keen to emphasise that he is not aligning himself with the developer, but wants complete clarity on Island Plan policy. He is concerned that the decision by the Royal Court gives more weight to heritage issues than the Island Plan intended.
The decision to allow residential development in the area is in line with the States-approved revised Island Plan which is the foundation for all planning decisions in Jersey.
The Island Plan is underpinned by a strategy which directs new development into more built up areas and away from the countryside. The plan was the subject of a lengthy and comprehensive public consultation and an independent planning inquiry,
Deputy Luce said “The decision to challenge the Royal Court is not one I’ve taken lightly. I understand and respect the owner’s concerns and also acknowledge the importance of our heritage assets, but in this case, the consequences of the Court’s decision could have an impact on planning strategy for Jersey as whole.
“If the decision stands, one of the key principles of the plan – to protect the countryside by concentrating residential development in built-up areas – is under threat. And it could also affect what we hope to do in St Helier in the coming years.
“This principle of protecting the Green Zone wasn’t arrived at quickly or easily – it was debated and approved by States Members, and was the subject of an exhaustive consultation and public inquiry. After much thought, I feel an obligation to put the needs of the public ahead of that of an individual home owner.”
The Minister’s challenge against the Royal Court decision will be heard by the Court of Appeal at a later date.