Save our green spaces from development

THE Opinion column in Wednesday 28 October’s Press [Protection of green fields calls for action] really lifted my spirits and has given me hope for the future. You quoted answers given by Peter Ferbrache to questions from the public when he stood for election as a deputy. He is quoted as saying ‘The most precious commodity in Guernsey is land. Once it is built upon it is lost forever for any other use’.

So many candidates standing for deputy vowed they would protect green fields and many said the Island Development Plan must be amended, as a matter of urgency, to ensure no further green land was lost to development.

Peter Ferbrache was duly elected as a deputy and then elected chief minister, so it is now within his power to put his election sentiments into action.

A meeting with Deputy Victoria Oliver, newly elected president of Development and Planning, should be a number one priority for him. I feel certain he has a meeting date pencilled into his diary as I write. The pair of them must be strong-willed and insist that the Island Development Plan is revisited ASAP.

At the time the planners were drafting the new IDP they used the Strategic Land Use Plan as their ‘bible’. It is within this document that wording appears that suggests people might apply to extend their gardens into agricultural land. Also the word ‘contiguous’ appears and the planners used this to dictate that only land that was ‘contiguous’ could be classed as Agricultural Priority Areas.

While we have tracts of land that could loosely be described as ‘contiguous’ there are many small fields and green areas, some used for agriculture, which are now under threat and must be protected.

These small areas are important to us and deserve our protection.

Sadly we lost the fight to prevent Les Blanches field in St Martin’s being developed. At the time of the States’ discussion of the new Island Development Plan, Deputy Peter Roffey and Deputy Row Prow placed a successful amendment which made that field, together with adjoining fields, an Agricultural Priority Area.

To my mind, the planners, by allowing the developer to make alterations recently to existing plans for this development, have ignored a decision of the States.

The Strategic Land Use Plan was written many years ago by politicians and civil servants who are now long gone.

If this plan is still in play, then it is this document that needs urgent attention and amendment first.

So, come on Deputy Ferbrache, chief minister, time to step up to the plate.

It is within your power to save our green spaces from development. We put our trust in you.

JANINE LE SAUVAGE,

Meadow View,

Les Hubits de Bas,

St Martin’s,

GY4 6NB.

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