Report into the Esplanade Quarter masterplan (FOI)
Report into the Esplanade Quarter masterplan (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 21 September 2020.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
The Treasury and Resources Minister holds a copy of the report written by King Sturge / Trowers Hamlins 2008 "KSTHreport" into the Masterplan for the Esplanade Quarter. Please can you confirm where a copy of the full report can be accessed by both the public and States members.
The KSTH report was commissioned by the Treasury Minister being an assessment of the Masterplan and it was envisaged that the delivery of the Masterplan’s objectives would be secured through a Development Agreement between the then States’ Waterfront Enterprise Board (WEB) and its third-party preferred development partner Harcourt. However, no such Development Agreement was ever signed and the SoJDC whom superseded WEB in 2010.
The Independent Planning Inspector’s report (2016) on the Masterplan key findings are summarised below:
i) Economic circumstances have changed since the Masterplan was prepared and adopted.
ii) The stated delivery mechanism, in the form of a Development Agreement with a single developer, was never secured and delivery of the scheme has proceeded in an ad-hoc manner.
iii) The Masterplan was based on the lowering of La Route de la Liberation, although there was no planning process that could guarantee this outcome. Linked to this, there was no certainty that it was financially viable to deliver this key part of the Masterplan or the delivery of public infrastructure enhancements
As a result of the Inspector’s key recommendations, the Minister for the Environment announced a review into the 2008 Masterplan in May 2016.
The Southwest St Helier Planning Framework, in 2018 by Ministerial Decision, rescinding the following:
• The Masterplan for the Esplanade Quarter, adopted on 15 April 2008 under Ministerial Decision
• An amendment to the 2008 Masterplan, dated 23 March 2011 under Ministerial Decision
• The Design Code for the Esplanade Quarter,
• Supplementary Planning Guidance for the Waterfront.
The KSTH report into the Masterplan, including with its figures, is no longer commercially sensitive because the main developer ( Harcourt) have not been involved since 2010, the Masterplan development has totally changed which also has been rescinded by a Ministerial decision and well over a decade since the report was written with the all details which are obsolete.
The Corporate Scrutiny Panel, S.R.8/2017, confirmed that despite assurances from the then Minister for Treasury that he would “make that advice given to me available to States Members”, ( Hansard 3/7/2008) the full report was not released and has never been since.
There is evidence that the financial implications of delivering the Masterplan as laid out in P60/2008 significantly changed during 2008 from a predicted return of £70 million to a loss of £50 million.
The KSTH report on the deal with Harcourt to implement the Masterplan was never published, despite assurances that it would be made available to States Members.
The full report referred to by the requestor as the “KSTH report” is not accessible to the public and States members.
This request is very similar to a Freedom of Information request received on 15 April 2013 which was appealed to the Office of the Information Commissioner on 5 July 2015, with a Decision Notice issued on 14 May 2016.
The Esplanade Quarter is an ongoing development with at least two further buildings still to be constructed and let. Planning permission for both of these buildings has already been provided.
Until the development of the Esplanade Quarter is fully completed the Scheduled Public Authority believes that the reasoning behind the Commissioner’s decision in relation to application of Articles 26, Article 33(b), Article 34 and Article 35 is still as relevant today as it was at the time the Decision Notice was published in May 2016. The requested information is therefore exempt from release.
Article 26 Information supplied in confidence
Information is absolutely exempt information if –
(a) it was obtained by the scheduled public authority from another person (including another public authority); and
(b) the disclosure of the information to the public by the scheduled public authority holding it would constitute a breach of confidence actionable by that or any other person.
Article 33 Commercial interests
Information is qualified exempt information if –
(a) it constitutes a trade secret; or
(b) its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of a person (including the scheduled public authority holding the information).
Article 34 The economy
Information is qualified exempt information if its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice –
(a) the economic interests of Jersey; or
(b) the financial interests of the States of Jersey.
Article 35 Formulation and development of policies
Information is qualified exempt information if it relates to the formulation or development of any proposed policy by a public authority.