Permission for a similar project at Le Grais Farm on Rue de Quanteraine was rejected last year on the grounds that the existing buildings could not be converted to residential use without substantial alterations.
However, the latest application has been granted.
The project, which was submitted by St Peter’s Storage Park Ltd, will see three buildings converted to form five single-storey two- and three-bedroom houses.
There were 11 representations, raising concerns around the scheme. These included worries about noise, traffic, light pollution, overlooking and loss of privacy. The site is in a narrow lane, close to the Silbe Nature Reserve and outside the local centre, with the objectors felt made it unsuitable for a housing development.
St Peter’s constables were also worried, saying they did not feel the application met with the spirit of the redundant building conversion rules.
‘The policies are to encourage repurposing or re-use of existing buildings which could be converted with minimum alteration to the existing fabric in order to minimise waste, environmental impact and the like,’ they wrote.
‘Therefore, it is difficult to conceive how the conversion of a series of precast industrial sheds can respect the purposes of the law and the objectives of the Island Development Plan.
‘The douzaine also have serious concerns that, should planning approval be granted for this conversion, it will set a precedent for applications for conversions of similar redundant agricultural/farm buildings throughout the island.’
La Societe Guernesiaise also objected, saying the project would have an adverse impact on the countryside and there was actually a shortage of usable farm buildings, meaning there were not enough to meet demand.
The site was sold for £300,000 in 2018.
The Office of Environmental Health and Pollution Regulation said it was concerned about the amount of noise there would be during the building work, as well as whether the former agricultural land might be contaminated.
Traffic & Highway Services said they agreed that the sightlines were below the recommended standard on the narrow lane, but that given the location and low frequency of vehicles passing the site access, it was not felt that this would present any greater road safety danger than that of the site’s previous uses.
The planning report said the buildings were no longer needed for their last-known purpose. However, that use is likely to be as a self-storage facility rather than farming, as a change of use was granted in 2018.
Since the rejection in 2019, there has been an appeal for a Vale site, which has set a clearer criteria for how to reuse redundant buildings.
Overall, the planners said the work to the existing fabric of the buildings are considered to be relatively minor and that while buildings of this nature are considered as ‘the least suitable form of construction for habitable purposes’, the proposed works were likely to be considered acceptable under the building regulations. The buildings are made of concrete, blockwork and metal cladding.
The buildings were not felt to add to the character of the area.
After taking these matters into consideration, the planning application was granted.