People making planning applications to improve access or facilities for disabled people in Jersey will no longer have to pay a fee.
Changes to planning application fees for 2015 will also benefit developers, as the fee for changing the use of a building from multiple dwellings to a single dwelling is to be halved and the fee for changing the use of a building to a non-residential use is being capped.
Overall, planning fees in Jersey are set to rise by 2.5% from 12January 2015, in line with the States-approved Medium Term Financial Plan
The changes come on top of those introduced by the Planning and Building Services department in 2014 which included a cap on large-scale development fees, a saving on outline planning applications, where developers only pay 25 per cent of the standard charge up front and the consolidation of four material alteration fees into one single lower fee.
Peter Le Gresley, Director of Development Control at the Department of the Environment, said: “In response to feedback from our customers, we introduced a number of positive changes in 2014, and these amendments to our fee structure for 2015 will provide further cost reductions.”
In the last 12 months the Planning and Building Services department has dealt with 98 per cent of minor planning applications within less than eight weeks, and with 84 per cent of major applications within 13 weeks.
Peter said: “Among the other changes we put in place were measures to improve the turnaround for planning decisions. These have worked well and, to date, we’ve exceeded our targets.”
The number of people who might benefit from the abolition of planning fees for improving disabled access and facilities could rise as the island’s population ages. According to the States Strategic Plan the number of people over the age of 65 is set to double by 2035.
Developing better services for disabled people in Jersey is also part of Senator Ian Gorst’s written manifesto as Chief Minister. He said: “At the moment the Island’s approach to the provision of services for those with a disability is piecemeal. It is essential that all Islanders are afforded an opportunity to participate in Island life. To do this we must adopt a strategy that sets out a cohesive approach to disability.”
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