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Gollop: I may not be right to lead

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DEVELOPMENT & PLANNING AUTHORITY president John Gollop is considering his position on the committee because he is concerned he is not the right person to lead it.

He tweeted yesterday saying that, with hindsight, the decision over a controversial application to build an open market house at Cobo should have been made by politicians at an open meeting and not left to staff. He took the message down later.

DPA president Deputy John Gollop was involved in a Twitter exchange with other States members, but deleted his tweet.

Permission was given to demolish a property next to the Cobo Mission Hall at La Route de Cobo and build a bigger one in its place. Construction is under way.

Castel deputies, the douzaine and constables opposed the plans unanimously, over concerns about the size of the new building and how it would overshadow neighbours.

Deputy Gollop acknowledged yesterday that many States members were unhappy with the way his committee, which is responsible for land use policy and planning applications, did things, and wanted a more proactive committee that was not afraid to trump policy.

‘The committee requires leadership and I’m not sure I’m the person to give it,’ he said.

‘I led the Island Development Plan and have had a strong working relationship with the committee’s staff for at least five years, but maybe there’s room for someone else to come in.’

If the committee had turned down the Cobo development at a public planning meeting, Deputy Gollop said he believed the decision would have been overturned by a tribunal or at judicial review.

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‘I’m a lay person and not a professional planner,’ he said.

‘The house being built there is of fine quality and replaces an existing one so I did not consider it constituted additional development in the way that it did.’

Castel deputy Chris Green said that when he and Deputy Richard Graham successfully amended the IDP policy letter in 2016 there was a broad understanding that the ‘Cobo Alice’ field adjoining the site would be protected from development because it was removed from the urban centre.

Permission has since been given to build a wall around it.

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‘The domestic curtilage seems to have been increased to include the “Cobo Alice field”, which is not what the States agreed to do,’ said Deputy Green.

‘I’m sure the community will consider that due process has not been followed and that natural justice had not been achieved. The States resolve X and then Y happens.’

Both the IDP and the States Strategic Land Use Plan needed to be reconsidered along with the way that planning applications were made and the way in which politicians were involved, he said.

Deputy Gollop said he expected to have to answer rule 14 questions in the States.

Deputy Graham said yesterday that some would be from him.

‘The general drift of my questions address the problem of the prevalence of domestic curtilage spreading into green fields but some will also relate to La Roseliere [the Cobo property],’ he said.

. Paul Annegarn, who bought the Cobo property with his wife in March 2018 for £1,245,000, said yesterday that he did not wish to comment.

Nigel Baudains

By Nigel Baudains
News reporter

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