The Planning Applications Committed have approved the new/revised planning application of Building 5 of the planned International Finance Centre on the Esplanade. SOSJ are considering requesting a Judicial Review.
Today’s planning meeting
Dave Cabeldu, Co-ordinator of SOS Jersey, asked Panel Members this morning to request the Planning Minister that the item be removed from the agenda. If members could not agree to that, then he suggested that individual members should abstain from voting on this application or at least defer consideration until the appeal on the first application for Building 5 is heard early next week.
The original application approved previously is essentially for the same building with minor boundary alterations. By approving it we suggest that Planning will destroy public faith in the Planning process (and the government) even more than it has been already.
We requested that the public be protected from potentially harmful contaminated dust (as they were not last summer) by enclosing the site with plastic sheeting. However, the panel members were not concerned with this and accepted the officer’s assurance that the conditions of passing the plan had already covered safety issues – we would say they have clearly not been implemented, but this was disregarded.
We are disappointed with the lack of support for this one request.
The Panel Members went out to discuss their position and returned to vote unanimously to pass the new application.
Click here to read Dave’s submission – pdf opens in new tab/window.
Waterfront Action Group
Former Deputy Sean Power also spoke against the application on behalf of the St Helier Waterfront Action Group.
The importance of the political aspects of the work the Planning Applications Committee and its composition cannot be understated. I have never known an applicant like this company. It is aggressive, hostile and spends a great deal of shareholder funds on legal and planning fees. The shareholder is the public of the island of Jersey.
You are under pressure today to approve this application even though it has been approved once already. I searched through my records of the almost six years I served on the previous Planning Panel and I could not find an applicant or an application that, fully approved, came back for consideration NOT RE-CONSIDERATION, a 2nd time in a year.
I have never known an applicant that has used the planning application process in this way in order to side-step another planning process function and that is the planning appeal system. That planning appeal system begins next week to hear an appeal against this application. It is a fundamental democratic right on this great island to make a planning application.
It is also a fundamental democratic right to object to any planning application and to have an appeal heard. That is why you are sitting here in public. If you feel that fast footwork by the legal representatives of any applicant can by-pass any part of the planning process, then you should consider this as a serious matter.
On many occasions while on the previous planning panel, I have listened to advocates and solicitors retained by applicants lecture the panel on minutiae in planning law only for the panel to make its own mind up and approve, refuse, defer or seek further clarification. In this case this morning, you have a clear choice.
You can determine this application AGAIN. It may be an approval or it may be a refusal. On many occasions, a planning panel or planning committee has gone against officer advice and that is a good thing. In this specific application this morning, you have a political mandate to make a decision.
That decision will be to approve, refuse or defer. I respectfully suggest that you defer. If you defer, you allow the planning appeal process to take its course and YOU AVOID the risk of the planning department and indeed the planning committee looking silly because an applicant has used it legal resources to by-pass part of the planning process. P.73/2010 sets up the SoJDC. I supported it.
This is what I supported and why: Unfortunately, it has not happened. Page 14 reads:: I have to smile inwardly when the applicant states that the proposed JIFC will attract new business to Jersey. The one-pre-let that is announced is an existing operator in Jersey. I would wager that the next pre-let will also be an existing operator if they can sign it.
The St. Helier Waterfront Action Group that I co-founded has a daily reach of about 8000. We are proud of that. You as elected members of the States of Jersey and as members of the Planning Applications Committee sometimes have to walk a fine line between your planning responsibilities and your political responsibilities.
I would argue that today is one of those days for the following reasons: 1: there are no political or legal implications for deferring apart from more irate phone calls to the Director of Planning. 2: You have discretion in your role as politicians and as members of this Planning Applications Committee; 3: Were you to defer, you do endorse and support a fledgling appeal system that needs support from within the existing structure of the Planning Process.
I thank you for hearing me and I ask you to consider my comments in your determination. Good Luck.
Here is the document Sean Power referred to: 48157-38815-762010 – – Waterfront Action Group (opens in new page).
Planning Applications Committee members and their votes
- Constable Juliette Gallichan ( Chair) – POUR
- Constable Philip Le Sueur – POUR
- Deputy Jeremy Macon – CONTRE
- Deputy Richard Rondel – POUR
- Deputy Graham Truscott – POUR
- Deputy Russell Labey – conflicted, so left
- Deputy Scott Wickenden – conflicted, so left
Monday appeal – Building 5
SOS Jersey are a party to the Third Party Appeal by Le Masuriers to be held next week starting on Monday at the Radisson Hotel. This is open to the public, so you can come and watch the proceedings (but not comment).
However, the thrust of our case next week in the 3rd Party Appeal will be much wider than just that of Building 5 (and the associated infractions), and will encompass waterfront issues that go beyond contamination and deal with wider waterfront issues including planning processes, the Island Plan, the Masterplan for the waterfront and the history of the site.
SOS Jersey Chairman, Michael du Pré, is flying over to represent us last the appeal and will be here on Sunday evening.
SoJDC are likely to ignore the outcome of the appeal should it not find in their favour. SOS Jersey are considering requesting a Judicial Review of the Panel’s decision through the Royal Court, on the grounds of the public good.