Planning president unhappy committee not part of Covid recovery group
PLANNING should be represented on the government’s Covid-19 recovery panel as it forms a vital part of Guernsey’s economy, Development & Planning Authority president Dawn Tindall has said.
The Covid-19 Recovery Coordination Group is an advisory body comprising the presidents of principal States committees, the States’ Trading Supervisory Board president and two members of Policy & Resources.
But the DPA was left out.
Deputy Tindall said she was pleased finally to have had a chance to address the group for 30 minutes, but felt her committee was being excluded.
She said she had asked why, but had not received a satisfactory reason.
‘It’s extremely frustrating,’ she said.
‘I’m still shocked that building in Guernsey is not seen as a priority to get things going.’
She noted that developments created jobs and chances for investment in the local economy, so are a vital part of Guernsey’s recovery.
Around 2,700 people were employed in construction last year, making it Guernsey’s fifth biggest employment sector. Around 10% of school leavers going into work enter the construction industry.
Planners have been working from home during lockdown and managed to get applications online while Sir Charles Frossard House was closed.
That allowed the planning process to restart and Deputy Tindall said things were busy.
There have been 450 applications made since lockdown started, of which 300 were since June, showing that there is a drive to get development moving.
The Strategic Land Use Plan is the overarching plan for the island, while the Island Development Plan gives more specific guidelines for how developments can take place.
Deputy Tindall said many saw these documents as barriers to development, but that was not the case.
‘Absolutely they can be enablers,’ she said.
‘It’s why it’s so important to have someone there who not only understands what they are about, but is able to talk about it as part of their mandate.’
Prior to the 2016 government shake-up, planning was part of the Environment Department.
While the Slup has stayed part of Environment & Infrastructure’s responsibility, the IDP and actually dealing with planning applications falls to the DPA and its professional planners. Deputy Tindall
said she was concerned that the DPA was being treated like a junior committee when it was so important to Guernsey’s environment and economy.
She added that this was not the first time it had happened, citing the fact of the DPA being left out of the Seafront Enhancement Area programme as well. She said this needed to change.
‘This is not about me,’ she said. ‘We are coming to end of the term and I do not want for the next committee to be in the same position.’
. The Covid-19 Recovery Coordination Group declined to comment.