Alderney politician suggests different way of handling day-to-day planning business

CIVIL servants or people with planning experience or knowledge could be used for handling daily planning matters arising from Alderney’s Land Use Plan, the deputy chairman of the island’s Building and Development Control Committee has suggested.

Alderney Building and Development Control Committee vice-chairman Kevin Gentle. (Picture by David Nash.
Alderney Building and Development Control Committee vice-chairman Kevin Gentle. (Picture by David Nash.

Kevin Gentle has written the committee’s annual report this year, in the light of its chairman, Mike Dean, being suspended.

Mr Dean was suspended for 28 days for breaching the island’s States’ members’ code of conduct through his involvement in making a planning decision when he had a financial interest in a neighbouring property.

A second breach followed when he failed to report what had happened after he became aware he might have breached the code.

Mr Dean appealed against the suspension, but was unsuccessful.

Since this, Mr Gentle has overseen the work of the BDCC and in its report writes that he could not have done it without the support of staff and other members of the committee.

He said that work would need to start in 2021 on the next version of the island’s Land Use Plan, but while it may be the ‘Bible’ on planning, there were issues that needed to be resolved, with more reform needed on two fronts.

‘More power to protect important archaeological, historical or geological sites that are not traditionally covered by a conservation plan, and simplifying the appeals process.’

While the LUP was the result of a lot of consultation and financial investment, Mr Gentle said he thought there could be measures and solutions that could make the process even more efficient.

‘We could look at removing the need for using the BDCC on a daily planning level,’ he suggested in the report.

‘We could give the job to a couple of suitably qualified civil servants, and use the BDCC for major projects and the appeals process.

‘It wouldn’t even need to be the domain of purely States members. There are members of the public co-opted onto various working groups throughout the States so why not use one or two with planning experience or knowledge?’

However, he accepted that this idea was a discussion for another time.

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