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Government of

Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

Number of high-rise buildings (FOI)

Number of high-rise buildings (FOI)

Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 23 March 2021.
Prepared internally, no external costs.

Original Request

Please provide the number of high-rise buildings (buildings over 18 metres in height) in the Island; those already built, those in construction and those unbuilt but with planning permission granted.

Please also confirm the number for each differing category of usage eg, private residential, social residential, commercial, industrial and so on.

Original Response

Our systems are not configured in a way that will allow us to extract the details you have requested. A manual search of our records would be required in order to obtain this information. We estimate that it will take us in excess of the 12.5 working hours allowed under the Freedom of Information Law to locate and retrieve the data in reference to your request. Your request will therefore not be processed further.

Planning decisions from 2012 to date are however already accessible to you through the on-line planning register. Individually, the heights of buildings will be displayed on the approved plans should you wish to carry out your own search. The register is available at:

Planning application search

Article applied

Article 16 A scheduled public authority may refuse to supply information if cost excessive

(1) A scheduled public authority that has been requested to supply information may refuse to supply the information if it estimates that the cost of doing so would exceed an amount determined in the manner prescribed by Regulations.

Regulation 2 (1) of the Freedom of Information (Costs) (Jersey) Regulations 2014 allows an authority to refuse a request for information where the estimated cost of dealing with the request would exceed the specified amount of the cost limit of £500. This is the estimated cost of one person spending 12.5 working hours in determining whether the department holds the information, locating, retrieving and extracting the information.

Internal review request

I am surprised the requested information cannot be provided due to Article 16A, I am happy to amend the request to reduce the necessary work to include residential buildings only:

"Please provide the number of social residential and private residential high-rise buildings (buildings over 18 metres in height) in the Island; those already built and those currently in construction”.

If this information can then not be supplied, also due to Article 16A, I would request that this request be put forward for an Internal Review.

Internal review response

1) The height of a building is not specifically requested as part of a planning application; however, the height can be established from reviewing any accompanying plans, many of which are published on the planning register.

2) Planning do not maintain a separate list of buildings by height and the height of a building is not recorded in a searchable format on the Planning database.  As such it is extremely difficult to collate the information you have requested.

3) To provide a list of buildings over 18 metres across the Island would require Planning to carry out the following:

  • recall from memory any buildings which may fall into this category, some of which may have been built before the current Planning and / or building staff were in post

  • carry out physical surveys of buildings across the island to identify those that may be within the height range

  • carry out a manual review to measure the images shown on plans to confirm the height for any borderline cases

4) The above process would contain a margin of error in collating the list using the methods shown and it would take more than the 12.5 hours allowable to collate this data.

5) Whilst a more reliable method would be to review the plans submitted with all planning applications, this would again also exceed the time allowed to collate a response.

Unfortunately, even with your request to reduce the category to only residential buildings, the same manual searches would need to be carried out. Therefore, it is simply not possible, nor reasonable or cost effective, for planning to carry out a manual search of the circa 80,000 plus records held.

We therefore must conclude that the application of Article 16 was correctly applied when answering your original Freedom of Information request.

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