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Sewage treatment works refused planning permission

28 July 2017

Plans for a new sewage treatment works at Bellozane have been turned down by the Planning Committee. The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) has been asked to address neighbours’ concerns.

DfI put forward plans (P/2017/0309) for a new plant that will signficantly improve water quality in St Aubin’s Bay. The department wants to demolish the existing plant and build nine settlement tanks, a sludge plant, administration building, two sludge storage tanks, a UV plant and other associated waste treatment facilities.

The new plant is needed because the existing one is nearly 60 years old and has reached the end of its useful life. Maintenance and repair has become increasingly more difficult and costly.

The Household Recycling Centre has already been relocated to La Collette and the hillside at Bellozanne has being excavated and stabilised, providing more room for the new plant.

The £70 million scheme is expected to provide signficiant environmental benefits. Waste will be treated to a much higher standard and the plant is expected to discharge cleaner effluent into St Aubin’s Bay which will help reduce the growth of green sea lettuce in the bay.

The Department for the Environment received fifteen objections to the plans, including concerns about:

  • the proximity of the works to homes and effect on house sales
  • noise, smell and hazardous environmental pollution
  • La Collette would be a better location, and the outflow contributes to sea lettuce growth
  • the duration of the consultation period 
  • how the plans relate to the Island Plan
  • the uncovered settlement tanks

In its response, the Department for Infrastructure gave assurances that:

  • there will not be any increase in noise and nuisance from the development
  • a woodland compensation scheme has been carried out
  • more trees will be planted when the project is finished
  • open tanks are safer and better operationally
  • relocation to La Collette isn’t feasible from either an operational or environmental perspective

The parish has asked for a safe cycle route and wider footpath to be included as part of the application.

At their meeting the Planning Committee said it was concerned that the new Primary Settlement Tanks (which would not be covered) would not sufficiently mitigate the odour concerns of local residents.  Members felt that such an important piece of public infrastructure should do all that it can to safeguard resident’s amenities for the foreseeable future. 

Members left to door open to the department to amend the scheme (with covers over the tanks) or the application would be refused.

Tamba Park accommodation

Plans to develop a home for the manager of Tamba Park have been deferred because the Planning Committee require more information about the future development plans for the remainder of the site.

The application (P/2017/0519) is for a three-bedroom home at Retreat Farm, La Rue de la Frontiere, St Mary for a staff member, to ensure ‘on-site’ supervision and security.

Tamba Park is in the Green Zone where no development is allowed without signficant justification. Where exceptions are made, ‘every effort should be made to ensure that the impact of the proposed development on the character and appearance of the area is minimised’.

The Planning department’s report on the application described it as a well-designed development and location, with screening to reduce impact.

The Department for the Environment received 19 objections to the plans, including concerns about:

  • development in a Green Zone
  • the prior sale of existing accommodation that could have been used
  • disruption to the peace and quiet of a rural location
  • foul water drainage issues and possible flooding

In response, the applicant argued:

  • the site already contains offices, other buildings and stores 
  • the proposal seeks to make best use of the land, in line with Island Plan policy
  • traffic to and from this access point will be reduced 
  • the site is well screened and the building design is of high quality
  • the building has been designed with a sustainable surface water drainage solution
  • hardstanding will be reduced and landscaping improved to address flooding concerns

However, Members considered that the Committee could not arrive at a positive conclusion in the absence of more contextual information.

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