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Royal Court rejects bid to let unauthorised car park to continue after 40 years

Royal Court rejects bid to let unauthorised car park to continue after 40 years

Friday 01 September 2023

Royal Court rejects bid to let unauthorised car park to continue after 40 years

Friday 01 September 2023

A local developer has failed to convince the Royal Court that a Havre des Pas site that has operated as a car park for 40 years without planning permission should be able to continue.

The Royal Court has dismissed the appeal by Brigham Young of Sovereign Hire Cars against the Environment Minister’s decision to refuse a planning application for the site, which has been used as a coach park as well as the base for car hire and vehicle sales, for many decades.

The site, which sits along the Havre des Pas coastal road, was previously home to a coach station which burned down in the 1980s.

For 35 years after that, it was used as a hire car business depot without planning permission, before becoming a car park.

In 2021, Mr Young put forward a planning application to “formalise” the decades-long use of the site, but it was refused in November of that year by the Planning Committee over concerns about traffic and pollution.

The Committee's decision was upheld six months later by the then-Environment Minister, John Young, prompting an appeal in the Royal Court in July.

Advocate Christopher Austin, representing Sovereign Hire Cars, said the minister had erred in his interpretation of the Island Plan, and that this “rendered his decision irrational”.

During a series of discussions, the hearing focused on whether the move to become just a car park represented a change of use, and whether it encouraged an increased dependence on private cars that was at odds with planning policy.

In the judgment issued by the court, Commissioner Matthew Thompson, who heard the case alongside Jurats Robert Christensen and Alison Opfermann, said the inspector appointed by the minister was entitled to conclude that the proposed future use of parking spaces was a change of use and that the court did not see anything irrational in this decision.

The judgment also noted that while some elements of planning policy may not be popular, this did not mean the minister's decision was flawed.


Pictured: The row, which has been ongoing for around two years, made its way into the Royal Court in July.

In conclusion, Commissioner Thompson stated: “It is not for this Court to make a decision based on a policy not being liked.

“Rather, we are satisfied that the decision was made in accordance with those policies and accordingly, as nothing we have seen persuades us that the decision can be set aside, we dismiss the appeal.”

Following the publication of the judgment, Mr Young said he was “very disappointed” and would now need to consider his next move. He said this may involve an application to build housing on the site, or a reversion to the original use of the site as the base for a car hire business.

“I am waiting for advice and want to do the right thing, rather than a kneejerk reaction,” he added.


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