A plan to create a single vehicle inspection centre might not be the best use of Jersey's limited land, the Environment Minister has said.
Deputy John Young raised concerns in response to a last-minute attempt to earmark two fields near the Airport for an MOT-style inspection centre by the Infrastructure Minister, which he called “a late and ill-considered allocation of greenfield land in the Island Plan.”
Deputy John Young is urging States Members to reject a proposal by Deputy Kevin Lewis, who wants to build a large vehicle testing centre on two fields close to the Airport, paving the way for MOT-style testing in two years’ time.
The Infrastructure Minister proposed his change to the three-year Bridging Island Plan last month, just a week before the final deadline for Members’ amendments.
He argues that the centre is necessary as the island is committed to introducing MOTs, having signed up to the international ‘Vienna Convention’, which was deemed necessary for British citizens to drive in Europe post-Brexit.
Pictured: Infrastructure hope to be ready to carry out vehicle inspections from April 2024.
One of its requirements is for Jersey to introduce tests to ensure that vehicles less than 40 years old meet minimum standards of roadworthiness.
However, Deputy Young is not only asking fellow politicians to vote against Deputy Lewis’s proposal but is also suggesting that the Deputy Lewis’s chosen option – a single, Government-run inspection centre over individual garages carrying out the tests – is reconsidered.
In a recently lodged amendment which seeks to change Deputy Lewis’s, the Environment Minister argues: “The need for the Minister for Infrastructure to secure such a facility in order to meet obligations under the Vienna Convention is understood.
“There are options as to how this might be delivered - such as whether the service should be provided in an island-wide centre, which requires a larger site; or whether a distributed model employing satellite centres is more appropriate.
“The latter may not be the preferred option for delivery but could be the best option relative to the availability of land.
“These issues require, and are deserving of, more detailed consideration. At this juncture, the most appropriate way to achieve this is by way of a planning application, and not by a late and ill-considered allocation of greenfield land in the Island Plan.”
Pictured: The land in question are between the Airport and the Airport Playing Fields.
Deputy Young adds: “The Minister accepts that this site may be suited for industrial uses in the future but cannot accept the recommendation to allow an unrestricted light-industrial use on the site - particularly where the landowner has not sought this designation – and where it would otherwise be deemed speculative.
“Were adequate information to support the case for a vehicle inspection centre on fields B26 and B27 [which are just south of the Airport Cargo Centre] had been provided during the consultation phases of the draft Bridging Island Plan, it would have been possible to fully consider the relative merits of designating fields B26 and B27 for this purpose.
“This would have enabled the evidence of need and assessment of all other potential options to have been demonstrated, thus supporting the potential allocation of greenfield land for this purpose.
"Such information, or appropriate representation during the public hearings, would also have allowed the matter to be fully tested in the examination in public, and helped to guide the planning inspectors in making a clearer recommendation.
“They were, however, unable to do this given the lack of evidence available.
“Amendment 77, lodged by the Minister for Infrastructure, now provides this information.
“At this stage of the process, however, it is neither reasonable or appropriate for this body of evidence to be properly examined to test whether or not the outcome of work undertaken by the Minister has reached the right outcome, from a planning perspective.
“It is for this reason that Amendment 77 to designate field B26 and B27 cannot be supported.”
Express previously sat down with DVS Head Gordon Forrest to discuss the plans for driving MOTs into Jersey...
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