DPA resignation comes as surprise to president
DEPUTY LESTER QUERIPEL’S decision to resign from the Development & Planning Authority came as a shock to its president, who recently thought of resigning himself recently.
DPA president John Gollop was speaking after Deputy Queripel stated ‘irreconcilable and irreducible differences’ between himself and members of the authority had led to his resignation on Wednesday.
‘Lester is a gentleman of every kind,’ said Deputy Gollop. ‘We had a board meeting two weeks ago when I had considered, for health and other reasons, stepping down myself.
‘I think people hang on boards too long, and the reality is most boards would be improved with higher turnover, where new talent is brought in.’
Deputy Queripel felt that since his election to the DPA shortly after the 2016 general election, he had often been a lone voice during committee meetings.
‘It is quite true what he says, he has been in the minority in some issues,’ said Deputy Gollop. ‘But if you look at the issues he’s raised, actually he made progress on all of them.’
The process of open planning meetings was questioned by Deputy Queripel, who asked why it was chosen to hold site visits after an open planning meeting has taken place – with final deliberations behind closed doors.
He believed the committee should make its site visit before the meeting and then the rest of the discussion could take place in public.
‘The reason we decided to change to a format whereby we heard all the representations before the site visit was due to timing as much as anything else,’ said Deputy Gollop.
‘I found personally once we heard all the views on the day from the planning officials and representors, deputies, site owners and architects, we were in a better position to understand the site.’
Deputy Queripel also said the debate surrounding the 2017 annual monitoring report of the Island Development Plan was a ‘debacle’.
‘I personally didn’t want the annual monitoring report to come out the way it did,’ said Deputy Gollop. ‘It was argued by some officials that it was better, as it was a fact-finding report instead of a policy report, that it should be shared around other States committees and stakeholders.’
Deputy Gollop agreed that the States’ policy of ensuring that for every 20 units of accommodation built there be a proportion made available as affordable housing was not working. ‘In fact the committee, by a majority, felt it should be for every five units built,’ he said.
‘The problem that Deputy Queripel didn’t fully appreciate is that colleagues on the board were not hostile, it was a matter of process.
‘I think we did listen to what he says. My personal view is that Deputy Queripel is very much a people’s politician who is particularly popular with more mature local voters who he helps and represents extremely well.’