26 July 2018
The Minister for the Environment, Deputy John Young, has decided to refuse the two planning applications submitted for the Tamba Park site. The proposals (P/2017/1023 and P/2017/0805) were for a new 27-unit holiday village and a four-bedroom house at Retreat Farm (Tamba Park) on land partly in St Lawrence and partly in St Mary. The two applications are linked as the application for the house requires the creation of the new car park, which is part of the other application.
The previous Environment Minister, Deputy Steve Luce, called a Public Inquiry into these applications because he said that, if approved, they would represent a significant departure from the Island Plan. A planning inspector was appointed and a public inquiry was held in February and March 2018.
The inspector issued two reports to the Minister. The first report identified several procedural difficulties with the application for the 27-unit holiday village, and said the application was not clear. Deputy Luce asked the applicant to clarify the proposals, which were then re-advertised, and further comments were invited.
The inspector was asked to produce a second report, with a recommendation on the merits and demerits of the proposals. In this report, the inspector recommended that the applications should be approved. He cited several pros and cons and considered that, on balance, the public interest planning gains were enough to overcome the concerns, including the fact that Tamba Park is in the Green Zone, where there is a general presumption against development.
The Minister does not agree with the inspector’s conclusion on the balance of the issues. Deputy John Young said: “Building a 27-unit holiday village would result in serious harm to the landscape and character of this area and the envisaged environmental enhancements and tourism benefits are not enough to overcome this harm.
“This development also contravenes the strategic aims of the Island Plan, which seek to locate development in sustainable locations. If approved, it could set a precedent for other proposals in the countryside which go against our agreed Island Plan policy.”
The Minister concluded that the merits cited do not outweigh the very significant environmental effects of this application, and do not justify a significant departure from the Green Zone policy adopted by the States Assembly as part of the Island Plan. He has decided that to approve the applications would set an undesirable precedent for the future.