09 November 2016
The date for the public inquiry into the planning application (P/2016/0870) for a new Les Quennevais School has been set for 24 January 2017 and is expected to last up to three days.
The Department for Infrastructure has applied to build a new secondary school with associated facilities, parking, landscaping and a sports field on agricultural fields north of St Brelade’s Social Club alongside Route de Quennevais (south of La Rue Carré in St Brelade and next to Mont à la Brune). The school has been designed by Jersey Property Holdings architects.
The inquiry has been called by the Minister for the Environment because the land is in the Green Zone on the 2014 Island Plan, in which there is a general presumption against development, and where exceptional reasons are required to justify new buildings.
Foundation for planning decisions
The Island Plan, which is approved by the States, 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).
Deputy Steve Luce has decided the application may be a departure from normal planning policy and is also of sufficient public interest to hold an inquiry at which the planning issues can be explored in depth to ensure it’s the right decision for Jersey.
The Minister said “This is an application for a large-scale, significant and valuable development in the Green Zone and we owe it to parents, teachers, children, the local community, and to Jersey as a whole, to make the right decision. I am entirely satisfied that the inquiry won’t be wasted time; indeed a thorough examination of the planning issues may help lessen the chance of possible delays further down the line by, for example, avoiding a planning appeal.
“The public consultation on the site options for the school was comprehensive and attracted significant engagement. But any development in the Green Zone is permitted only in exceptional circumstances and I think it’s worth spending three days on an objective assessment of whether this is the right site in planning terms and hearing a range of views on that very specific issue.”
The choice of site was endorsed by a large-scale community consultation – it was the preferred option of 67% of people who responded to a public consultation. Other proposals to use the Les Quennevais playing fields and St Brelade Social Club were not supported by the majority of local residents who took part.
The inquiry is being held at St Brelade Parish Hall. An independent planning inspector, Graham Self (FRTPI), has been appointed to carry out the inquiry. He will review all the existing representations made by people to the planning application. Anyone who wants to give their view on the planning application (called a Statement of Case) should submit it by Tuesday 6 December.
The Minister for the Environment will make the final decision, once he has considered the inspector’s written conclusions.