Guernsey Press

States properties will come under eyesore law

STATES members could still U-turn on proposals to tackle States-owned eyesore properties, the Development & Planning Authority president has warned.

Deputy Lester Queripel. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 31963936)

Victoria Oliver argued against their inclusion, warning of the ‘absolutely ridiculous’ prospect of one States entity having to serve a civil notice on another.

However, Deputy Lester Queripel was able to secure a narrow majority – 18 to 17 – in favour of his amendment, which ensured that States will fall under the new law.

He had argued that the States would suffer reputational damage if it was seen to draft one set of laws for itself and another set of laws for everybody else.

Asked how the DPA would accommodate the inclusion of States properties in its new legislation after arguing so strongly against it, Deputy Oliver suggested it was a battle which might not be over.

‘I think it will be interesting,’ she said. ‘I think that States members, maybe, when it comes to the drafting, might actually see that it’s a bit of an obstacle.’

She mentioned during debate that legal advice had warned against including States properties and she suggested afterwards that even if the final legislation allowed for enforcement powers to be exercised in such a way, this would not compel the DPA to act.

‘At the end of the day it’s all down to the planners. They will bring us – the committee – the properties and then it will be whether we decide to actually go ahead and do that or not. It will be proportionate and all within the realms of the Island Development Plan.’

Fears from some States members about the cost of forcing landowners to tidy up derelict properties were played down by DPA member Deputy John Dyke, who predicted there would be no more than ‘one or two cases in a year’.

Deputy Oliver said there would be considerable reductions in planners’ workloads as a result of the large expansion of the list of planning exemptions that had been agreed on Wednesday.

‘That will make such a difference to so many people,’ she said. ‘And it will reduce the workloads massively.’