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‘Main aim is to win back public confidence’

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THE new president of the Development & Planning Authority has vowed to win back public confidence in the planning process.

Development & Planning Authority president Dawn Tindall at Mont Arrive by a piece of protected land. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 24801753)

Dawn Tindall said restoring confidence was essential as she made pledges on better communication, protecting green spaces and affordable housing.

‘We really need a communication plan because there seems to be a misunderstanding of the way planning works,’ she said.

‘We need to get across some basic points about how the Planning Service operates. What are development frameworks, why are they beneficial, when is the housing review, how does the housing market review and the indicators work?’

Deputy Tindall added that the run-up to a five-year review of the Island Development Plan, which will take place in November 2021, would be critical.

‘We are open to suggestions and ideas and this has to be part of the communication plan because there’s a real misapprehension that the DPA as a committee do not want to see change to the IDP. That is just a myth that I want to bust now.’

The IDP also already had a ‘predisposition’ to brownfield sites. ‘We can look at pockets of green land and they can get protection as “important open land”. That can happen through the five-year review of the IDP,’ added Deputy Tindall.

‘There is the ability to allow change, there is the ability to allow for the improvements that people are looking for.

‘We did that at Mont Arrive because it is a green lung in an area where there is already a lot of development. In 2016 the new IDP had areas of open land that could have been developed, but the DPA said no to that particular field so it is now protected as “important open land”.’

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The IDP has been criticised for handing too much power to public servants, but Deputy Tindall questioned whether politicians were the right people to be making planning decisions.

‘Politicians don’t have the background. The process has to be fair, consistent and transparent. It should not be based on the vagaries of a politician’s subjective views. It has to be fair to all and it has to be bound by policy.

‘The political involvement comes down to open planning meetings, of which we’ve had around eight.’

Deputy Tindall backed a change so that landowners and developers were required to bring forward more affordable properties to the housing stock.

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Developers currently have to include affordable properties in their plans only when building more than 20 units. Deputy Tindall wants that limit lowered.

‘What we desperately need on this island is the ability for people to live in the right type of accommodation at the right price, it’ll never be cheap but it will be a contribution to that.

‘If planning permission raises the value of your land, then why should the landowner be the only person to benefit from that?’

The vote for the presidency resulted in 20 votes for Deputy Tindall and 18 spoiled papers, but she said she was not taking it personally.

‘It was a statement about the policies, it’s a message that was clearly made.

‘It’s a bit of a disappointment but I feel very strongly it’s about the policies that affect the community as a whole.

‘I was hoping that the election of the DPA president would be a contested election and it’s unfortunate that it wasn’t, but I knew it wasn’t going to be plain sailing and that’s why I’ve contacted every deputy to find out their views.’

Helen Bowditch

By Helen Bowditch
News reporter

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