27 January 2022
The independent planning inspectors reviewing the draft Bridging Island Plan have submitted their report to the Minister for the Environment, following the recent Examination in Public.
The document, which includes 60 recommendations, has been published on gov.je alongside a report from the Minister, Deputy John Young, detailing his initial responses.
The Examination in Public ran during two weeks in November and December 2021, giving the public and States Members the opportunity to make representations to the inspectors about the Plan.
The inspectors have concluded that it "strikes a reasonable balance between social, economic and environmental considerations" and that "overall the Plan is consistent with the Government's wider strategic objectives and decisions taken by the States Assembly."
In his own report, Deputy Young has accepted the inspectors' recommendation to increase housing supply. The draft plan currently makes provision for about 1,500 affordable homes, and this will be increased by a further 150.
The Minister has also outlined other housing sites which he intends to bring forward to help meet the Island's need for homes, including fields in St Helier, St John, St Mary, St Peter, St Saviour and St Ouen, in light of the inspectors' assessment of them. The inspectors have also recommended that the Minister removes some housing sites from the Plan, including those which currently serve one of the Island's two organic dairy herds at Mont à L'Abbé, and to remove from consideration some other sites for the provision of homes, including fields C102 C104 and C105 in St Clement – recommendations which the Minister accepts.
As part of his response, Deputy Young has pledged to bring forward proposals to develop a masterplan for the Five Oaks area, which will include improvements to walking and cycling links and community facilities.
Proposals in the draft Plan that were subject to detailed consideration by the inspectors included the proposed extension of the Coastal National Park, and the safeguarding of land next to La Gigoulande Quarry in St Mary for future rock extraction. Both of these proposals are supported by the inspectors, as is the continuation of sand extraction at Simon Sand and Gravel Quarry in St Ouen's Bay. In view of the inspectors' recommendations, the Minister intends to lodge an amendment to enable further extraction at Simon Sand and Gravel Quarry, but subject to an environmental impact assessment and other specific conditions about restoration across the whole of the site.
Deputy Young said: "I'd like to thank the inspectors and all those who contributed to the Examination in Public process. The inspectors' report is thorough and comprehensive, and because of the high level of engagement throughout the Island Plan review process I have real confidence in accepting the vast majority of the recommendations. It is now for my fellow States Members to also carefully consider the inspectors' report, and I hope that they will give it due weight in their own deliberations."
The Environment Minister and States Members now have an opportunity to submit further amendments, in light of the recommendations, ahead of the States debate in March.
The Inspectors' report can be found here: https://www.gov.je/Government/Pages/StatesReports.aspx?ReportID=5501
The Minister's response report can be found here: https://www.gov.je/Government/Pages/StatesReports.aspx?ReportID=5502