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Deputies want to stop building on green fields

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HOW Guernsey is developed could be re-shaped radically, after a requete was submitted to overhaul the Island Development Plan.

Deputy.Jennifer Merrett. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 24736407)

A group of deputies is calling for more protection of open land, States involvement in developing Leale’s Yard, reducing the amount of housing being built and giving greater power to politicians to make decisions on planning applications.

The requete, led by Jennifer Merrett, could be debated in July, with the aim of triggering a £500,000 review of the IDP to deliver results this term.

Deputy Merrett said the current Assembly had approved the IDP and were accountable for it.

‘[We] should have the opportunity to direct policy adjustments to change parts of it that aren’t working as we’d hoped,’ she said.

‘Interpreting planning policies is an art and not a science and I am concerned and disappointed that some of the policies have not been interpreted or implemented in the way I had expected – and the way in which, I believe, many States members had been assured that they would be.’

The IDP has been in place since 2016, but concerns have been raised about development being focused in St Peter Port and the northern corridor leading from the Bridge.

The requete proposes looking at the cumulative impact of new developments and to give greater protection to greenfield sites, a number of which have been identified for housing.

The requete also calls for the States to review the amount of housing required.

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‘Arguably, greenfield sites could and should be removed from housing allocation areas if there are sufficient brownfield sites to fulfil the States Strategic Housing Indicator,’ the requete stated.

The group noted that the Policy & Resources’ Future Guernsey plan aims to make Guernsey a safe, secure and attractive place to live.

‘Therefore, the Bridge area, which spans two of the most densely populated parishes on our island, needs immediate investment in regeneration,’ the requete states.

It proposes that a overall plan be drawn up for Leale’s Yard.

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Development frameworks have become a big part of the planners’ work, where they suggest how sites could be used. So far, 13 have been approved and another 13 are being developed.

But the requete stated that the planners’ time could be better spent looking at other parts of the IDP, such as community plans.

‘Petitioners are disappointed that little work has been done to raise awareness of community plans or to support local communities in developing them, and are concerned that any such plans would, in any event, have little influence on the planning process.

‘Your petitioners consider that this is an area, which requires leadership from the DPA in order to stimulate local action, and believes that this would be a useful tool in building sustainable communities and maintaining and enhancing quality of life in the island.’

The requete has been signed by Deputies Merrett, Richard Graham, Heidi Soulsby, Matt Fallaize, Emilie Yerby, Charles Parkinson and Lindsay De Sausmarez.

They said that many of their concerns had been raised before, but not addressed.

The group also go one step further and ask for a review of the Strategic Land Use Plan, the document that shaped the IDP.

The requete also proposes allowing people living within 50 metres of a development site to be allowed to appeal against a decision.

In total all the work would cost £500,000 and that would cover a review of housing, the role of the SLUP, the role and function of the DPA and the possibility of a third party appeal system.

The group have called for the requete to be debated on 17 July, as this would allow for a debate before the end of the current political term.

Juliet Pouteaux

By Juliet Pouteaux
News reporter

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