Guernsey Press

Queripel wants States committees included in derelict properties tidy-up

DEPUTY Lester Queripel is ‘hopeful’ that deputies will back an amendment to include States committees in plans to tidy up derelict or unsightly properties.

The Castel Hospital site is one of the States-owned sites, which some might feel needs a tidy-up. (31948803)

The Development & Planning Authority wants States buildings and land to be excluded from the proposed new law which will be debated by deputies this week, although it would still be possible to take action against States tenants.

‘I’ve had a fair bit of support from some other members. I couldn’t tell you exactly what the numbers are, but I’m hopeful,’ said Deputy Queripel.

The DPA excluded States-owned property from its original proposals to avoid one States committee issuing civil notices on another to force improvements to property.

There is a similar exemption for States committees in the rules on land planning compliance notices.

‘To exempt the States raises concerns about protectionism and discrimination,’ said Deputy Queripel.

‘There would be one rule for the States and one for every other property developer. It’s not fair if this applies to everyone else but not the States. This can’t go unchallenged.’

The DPA has said it will announce tomorrow the position it is taking on this and another amendment it is facing to its policy letter.

Deputy Andrew Taylor, who yesterday won a lengthy battle to avoid being ousted as the DPA’s vice-president, is understood to be open to voting for Deputy Queripel’s amendment. But Deputy Queripel expects a majority of DPA members to oppose it.

Deputy Queripel cited numerous examples of the States neglecting land and leaving buildings to become unsightly or derelict – including La Vallette and the King Edward VII Hospital.

‘Buildings have been left in a disgraceful condition and then we expect charities and volunteers to put them back together again. I despair at this. We must maintain our properties. If we can’t afford to maintain our properties, we should sell them. While we own a property, we need to maintain it.’

DPA president Victoria Oliver has spent years pressing for the States to have additional powers to require owners to clean up derelict or unsightly properties.

Her committee said its proposals were targeted at disused visitor accommodation and derelict Town buildings in particular. It anticipates using a similar process to planning enforcement action, with notices and warnings being sent out before the matter is escalated.