29 March 2017
The Minister for the Environment has published new draft guidance on planning obligation agreements and is asking for people’s views.
Planning obligation agreements (POAs) are legal agreements made between the Minister and a developer, to offset the direct impact of a new development on the surrounding environment or infrastructure, such as roads.
POAs ensure that work that is necessary to make a development acceptable is carried out directly by the developer, or by the States of Jersey on their behalf with money provided by the developer. Guidance about the use of POAs has been in place since 2008, and it has now been updated and revised.
Reduce unnecessary delays
The Department of the Environment is also reviewing its approach to developer contributions, including whether a new infrastructure levy would work in Jersey.
While work to look at the feasibility of an infrastructure levy continues, the current planning obligation agreements process has been improved to reflect feedback from the development industry. The new draft guidance is intended to give developers more certainty, to be fairer and reduce unnecessary delays in the planning process.
Minister for the Environment, Deputy Steve Luce said “It’s been clear for a while that the development industry has some concerns about when and how planning obligation agreements are used during the planning process. We’ve listened to their views and tried to make some positive changes with this new guidance so that the future use of POAs is more consistent, clear, and fair. This guidance is in draft and I hope people will review it and tell us what they think.”
He continued, “The POA review is one of the ways I’m trying to make our planning process simpler and fairer. I’m also still looking at the possibility of introducing an infrastructure levy, to rebalance the wider impact of development and ensure the public get a small share of the proceeds from the rise in land value when a site gets permission for development. “
“If a levy is introduced, it would reduce our use of POAs, give more certainty, transparency and consistency to the industry, and benefit the wider community. However, that’s further down the line, and in the meantime, updating the POA guidance makes the current system fairer and more upfront right now.”
Community impact of development
The new POA guidance will require developers to consider the direct effect of their scheme on the immediate community and environment, making sure that the existing infrastructure, including such as drains, roads, transport and local amenity space has enough capacity to cope with any new demands upon it. The Minister believes this is particularly important in St Helier, where new development is being encouraged.
The draft guidance, based on the Island Plan, also makes it clearer what type of development is likely to need a POA, and, if it’s a road or transport-related improvement, what the cost may be.
The consultation is open for six weeks to 10 May.
Link to the Planning Obligation Agreements consultation