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Ex-Minister "morally wrong" to make planning decisions day after election


Thursday 30 June 2022

Ex-Minister "morally wrong" to make planning decisions day after election

Thursday 30 June 2022

A newly re-elected Constable has said it was morally wrong for an outgoing Minister to refuse planning applications the day after last week’s election.

Last Thursday, the outgoing Environment Minister formally rejected two applications relating to the same property: to site 11 shipping containers and three structures for storage at Home Farm in St. Peter, and to change the use of an existing yard to a storage area for vehicles.

Both refusals were against the recommendation of an independent planning inspector, who oversaw an appeal hearing, concluding that the applications should be approved.

It was, however, in keeping with the original decisions of the planning officer.

Parish Constable Richard Vibert said the outgoing minister should not have signed the refusal decisions after the election, especially as it ran counter to the appeal decision.


Pictured: St. Peter Constable Richard Vibert thinks the ministerial decisions are “morally wrong”.

Although the official ministerial decision, dated 23 June, is signed by the Minister for the Environment, the actual signature is blanked out.  

“After the Assistant Environment Minister signing compulsory purchase orders for land around Overdale, we now have another questionable decision made in election week,” said Mr Vibert, who this week joined Deputy Kristina Moore’s ‘Better Way’ movement.

Pictured: Home Farm is close to St. George's School in St. Peter.

“The minister – or whoever was acting on his behalf – may have been following the letter of the law but it is morally wrong for a decision like this to be made.

“It seems obvious to me that this should have been left for the new Environment Minister to decide.”

The application itself refers to a property off Mont de la Hague, near St. George’s School.

Mr Vibert said that its owner, Gerald Le Ruez, had had the containers on his property for more than 30 years but, six years ago, he had moved them, unaware that he needed planning permission to do that.

He said they had only recently been spotted in a different place by a planning officer reviewing aerial photos.

“The containers are used by charities and a church to store items, and one is used to store feed for Gerald’s donkeys,” he said. “They’ve been in the same place without a problem for six years; after eight, planning permission would not have been required. 

“And the hardstanding has been there since the Germans put it down during the War; it appears in a photo taken by the RAF in 1944.

“The planning inspector who oversaw the appeal was very fair-minded, so I don’t understand why the minister has refused it; but he certainly shouldn’t have taken the decision a day after the new Assembly was chosen.”

Home Farm St Peter.jpeg

Pictured: Home Farm is at the top of Mont de la Hague in St. Peter.

The two planning applications were first submitted on 11 January last year. Both were refused by Planning last October, which Mr Le Ruez appealed the following month. The appeal hearing was in February and the inspectors report was published on the same day as the minister's decision last week.

The application to change the use of the yard was originally refused because the site is in the green zone and its use for the long-term storage of commercial vehicles unrelated to agriculture was “not permissible” and “the intensification of use will impact the highway network”.

The application to site the shipping containers was also deemed outside of Island Plan policies.

The Government has been asked for comment on the recent application decisions.

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Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.

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Posted by Jon Jon on
Never will understand Planning ,some people get these things approved no problems,even though they go against planning regulations zone, non agricultural etc. others rejected.A planning officer noticed in an aerial photo things had moved or been placed there, send a drone over our neighbours site thence has these large containers placed in his yard plus various things,Planning just ignore hiss we have an eyesore next to us!
Posted by Martin on
ANY outgoing politician should refrain from making ANY decisions that potentially affect others unless an emergency!

This was not an emergency!

AS planning applications etc take a long time - a few weeks extra for the new Minister to be in place would have been correct!
Posted by Keith Marsh on
I Guess IF the outgoing Minister had passed the application, there would be no story.
So it is not the principal, its the decision.
Posted by Scott Mills on
Erm I know people who have been frog marched out of the building (not allowed to say goodbye to colleagues), when being told they are redundant. So why should politicians still make decisions when they've been made redundant from their role in the states. Honest, this island is a shambles. I'm in jhisterics because I'm leaving in next few years, only staying to see/read a few more comedy chapters that is Jersey. Beaches will be greener than ever this year...wait and see
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