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Planning restrictions relaxed

24 June 2015

The Planning and Environment Minister has agreed to changes to the planning law so that people can make minor changes to their home or business without applying for planning permission.

It means businesses in some categories, such as tourism, health and fitness, and late night economy will be able to set up or move into new premises more easily.

The decision, which comes in the fiftieth anniversary of the introduction of the planning law in Jersey, follows consultation with people and businesses involved with planning, among them; architects, builders, farmers, traders, and environmental and heritage groups.

It’s the first phase of a larger consultation on planning restrictions. Next year more contentious issues will be considered and people’s views sought.

Many people who took part in the initial consultation said that waiting for planning permission for minor changes was frustrating and they wanted to see improvements in this area.

Changes to the law will be drafted and put out to further consultation later this year. If agreed, by the end of this year, many minor changes to homes and businesses will no longer need permission and will become Permitted Development, including the following

  • fewer restrictions on replacement signs, the sizes of signs for shops, and advertising on construction scaffolding and hoardings
  • more leeway on energy efficiency measures, particularly on the size of solar panels and replacement roofs to allow upgrading of insulation
  • allowing windows to be changed, replaced or blocked up on non-listed buildings
  • clearer and more modern definitions for buildings used for tourism, health and fitness and late night economy
  • reducing height restrictions on flat roof structures and extensions

Deputy Steve Luce said "When I came into office, I made a pledge to people that I would look at changing what can be done without planning permission.

"We’re reviewing all Permitted Development with a view to making it quicker and easier for people to get on with their lives and run their businesses.

"That review is ongoing, but in talking to many different people and groups over the last few months, we’ve got a reasonable understanding of what we can do now to achieve some quick wins which we expect to see in place by the end of this year."

The Minister added, "Clearly, this must be balanced with what’s right for Jersey as a whole, so we’ll be considering the more contentious subjects over the coming year and again, listening to what people have to say, before making further changes down the line."

Concern about the loss of agricultural land prompted the Minister to repeal the allowances for sand schools agreed in 2007. He told a Chamber of Commerce audience recently that he planned further steps to protect the countryside. Deputy Luce will ask horse owners for their views over the coming year but wants to ensure no more agricultural land was lost in the meantime.

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