Guernsey Press

DPA member leading planning requete confuses one deputy

There is confusion about why a Development & Planning Authority member is attempting to circumnavigate his own committee to change planning policy, without any of the usual checks and balances.

Last updated
Deputy John Dyke, a member of the Development & Planning Authority, is leading a requete against one of its own policies. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 32951741)

DPA member John Dyke has submitted a requete which he hopes will see an end to GP11, which requires developments of 20 units or more to include a percentage of social or affordable housing.

The requete would enable the States to encourage the provision of residential properties, without any of the current or prior procedures for amendments to development plans or the Strategic Land Use Plan, such as public consultation and the holding of a public inquiry, which is currently required by the planning laws.

Employment & Social Security president Peter Roffey, who has responsibility for the island’s social housing, said he was somewhat surprised to see Deputy Dyke leading the requete.

‘GP11 is very much a policy which belongs to the DPA, of which Deputy Dyke is a member,’ he said.

‘Surely his first resort is persuade his fellow committee members to change their own policy?

‘Secondly I know that the DPA has already commenced a full review of GP11 which I understand will be completed within months.

‘Indeed they have gone to the expense of engaging expert consultants to help in the task. So it seems like a classic case of zero co-ordination between the left hand and the right hand.’

He added having a requete that would take precedence over all other legal drafting seemed like a ‘very blunt resolution’.

‘I hope members will be provided with a list of the urgent legislation likely to be impacted if the requete is passed,’ he said.

‘The word in political corridors is that the ultimate aim is to simply suspend GP11 for eight years.’

Deputy Dyke said that wording the requete had proved more complicated than anticipated.

‘The wording was seen as the only way to pass the Law Officers’ requirements,’ he said.

‘This is only geared to residential and affordable homes. This will remove GP11 which we know has been holding back development for years.’

The requete has found support from the Guernsey Construction Forum, which has written to all deputies urging them to back it.

Deputy Dyke added that if the requete passed, a resolution would be put forward to change or suspend the GP11 policy.

‘I think there’s a lot of support from deputies to do this,’ he said.

‘It is very clear there are problems with the domestic housing market. GP11 stymies the market and it is really a self-inflicted wound. GP11 was done with good intentions, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’

Deputy Roffey said that suspending GP11 would be completely at odds with the narrative that those criticising the policy had been putting forward.

‘They have been saying that the allocation of plots under GP11 should be either replaced or supplemented with the option to provide cash to the affordable housing development programme instead.’

‘If it is simply suspended that goes out of the window,’ he said.

‘Private developers will not be required to provide either plots or cash, and as a result much more taxpayers’ money will be needed for affordable housing.’

Plans hierarchy

The Strategic Land Use Plan was agreed by the States in 2011 and gives a high level strategy for spatial policy, deciding how best to use the land available. It was designed to last for 20 years.

Below this is the Island Development Plan, which sets out the way in which the high level policy applies in the myriad of scenarios that occur in land planning.

Changing either of these plans is usually a big undertaking.

After the SLUP was debated and agreed by the States, the IDP was drawn up based on its conclusions and a public inquiry held was held so the public and interested parties could have their say on the proposals.

This process meant the IDP did not come into force until 2016, five years after the SLUP was agreed.