A developer says he is struggling to understand why an application to "formalise" the use of a 40-year-old car park at Havre des Pas was thrown out by the Planning Committee over concerns about traffic and air pollution.
The site 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.
This year, Brigham Young applied for planning permission to change the use of part of the site so it could be used as ‘private parking’ to provide 38 spaces for nearby residents. Three other parking spaces were also included for the use of a nearby hire car business
The application also included a retrospective application for 14 car ports, with galvanised corrugated steel roofs and timber posts, which had been built over the last 18 months.
12 letters were sent to the Planning Department in support of the plans, and no objections were received.
Pictured: The site was accessible from Havre des Pas.
Despite the site's history, the Planning Officer responsible for the application, Jonathan Gladwin, recommended it be refused as it would go against planning policies that aim to reduce the dependence on cars and prevent “unacceptable increase” in car traffic, air pollution or parking on the public highway.
The Infrastructure, Housing and Environment Department also opposed the plans, arguing they would lead to “unacceptable problems of traffic generation” whilst cars manoeuvring out of the car park onto the road at Havre des Pas would be “a source of casualties creating an accident cluster site”.
Paul Scally, Mr Young's solicitor, told the Planning Committee that, while the Planning Department referred to the plans as a “change of use”, the site had been used as a car park “in some form or another for some time and that the period of eight years for enforcement had passed."
“You can’t have a situation where a private individual is stopped from doing anything with a site,” he said, arguing that since there was “no other suitable use for this site”, the Planning Department had to approve the plans.
“You can’t leave individuals in a hiatus where they can’t move forward,” he added.
He acknowledged that the car ports had been put in more recently but said that, even in their absence, the site would still be a car park. “Whether you are parking coaches, hire car or cars, it’s parking,” he said.
Pictured: Developer Brigham Young said he was still considering whether to appeal or not.
Sean Osmand, who acted as an agent for Mr Young, said he was seeking to formalise the use of the car park which had existed for more than 40 years, rather than creating a new car park, as suggested by the department.
He added that, when the hire car company was still in operation, spaces were rented out to residents and large commercial vehicles that couldn’t go in Government-owned car parks during the winter.
He also rejected the view that the proposed plans would “stifle development opportunities”, arguing that the site would not be suitable for a housing development.
After the decision was deferred at the Planning Committee meeting on 21 October, the plans were again on the agenda on 18 November.
A resident from Dicq Road voiced her support for the plans during the meeting saying that she had been having issues in finding car park in the area for the past 19 years.
Three of the Planning Committee members eventually chose to reject the plans, with the Constable of St. Lawrence, Deidre Mezbourian, saying they “flew in the face of policies”, whilst the Constable of Trinity said they offered “no positive contribution to the land”.
Meanwhile, St. Clement Constable Marcus Troy said he was aware that parking was a “nightmare” in the area, which he said was also the case when he worked in teh area 25 years ago.
He supported the plans, saying it would take some cars off the road and remove the need for residents “to circulate around Havre des Pas to find a space”.
Speaking to Express yesterday, Mr Young said he really struggled to understand the committee’s decision.
“It’s always been parking, there’s been a mixture of garage, parking and hire car since the 1950s, but it’s never really had a planning history,” he said. “There is such a demand for parking in Havre des Pas. It’s very disappointing. It makes you wonder, are they actually acting on the best interest of the public? I don’t think so.”
Mr Young said he was considering his next steps and still had 14 days to decide whether to appeal the decision or not.
“I just do not think they like car parks in town, but this is in the outskirts,” he said. “I understand they don’t want to encourage the creation of new car parks but this is an existing car park.”
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