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Time's up for new countryside mega-homes - but Water’s Edge plans still supported

Time's up for new countryside mega-homes - but Water’s Edge plans still supported

Wednesday 19 October 2022

Time's up for new countryside mega-homes - but Water’s Edge plans still supported

Wednesday 19 October 2022

It will become a lot more difficult to build luxury mega-homes in the countryside, after the Government updated its planning rules that define what can be built where.

It has published new draft guidance which updates and clarifies the policies of the Bridging Island Plan, which was agreed in March and sets the standard against all planning decisions are judged.

However, the guidance does allow for the replacement of “outworn tourist accommodation such as large hotels”, appearing to pave the way for the demolition of the Water’s Edge at Bouley Bay and the building of a single home, with a dive shop and café / restaurant.

The Government of Chief Minister Kristina Moore promised in its ‘100 Day Plan’ – which comes to an end today – to ‘introduce limits on the number of houses that can be built over 3,000 sq. ft. for a period of time in order to focus on tackling the housing crisis.’

Now, new guidance has been proposed, which is out for consultation, in the form of an policy to be inserted in the Bridging Island Plan, which is due to last until the end of 2025.

‘Interim Policy H9A – Large homes outside the built-up area’ says: 

Proposals for new residential development in the form of dwellings which exceed 279 sqm (3,000 sq ft) gross internal floor area outside the built-up area will not be supported except where:

1. the development would represent the optimal viable use of a traditional farm; and/or listed building; or the conversion of an existing employment building, where the existing building is over 279 sqm (3000 sq ft,) gross internal floor area;

2. in the case of the redevelopment of existing dwellings or redundant employment buildings, involving demolition and replacement, the gross internal floor area of the existing dwelling or building is considerably larger than 279 sqm (3,000 sq ft).

Giving more explanation on the second exception, the proposed guidance says: “‘Policy H9 – Housing outside the built-up area’ also allows for the redevelopment of existing dwellings and redundant employment buildings (save for glasshouses and modern agricultural buildings), and there may be circumstances where the building to be redeveloped is considerably in excess of 279 sqm (3,000 sq ft) gross internal floorspace. 

Built up area Bridging Island Plan.jpeg

CLICK TO ENLARGE: The island’s Built-up area, as defined in the Bridging Island Plan.

“This is likely to be particularly applicable to outworn tourist accommodation such as large hotels that were developed to serve the island’s historic mass-tourism industry located around the coast and throughout the countryside. 

“Where these large buildings exist, and are no longer required to support the tourism industry, their redevelopment ought still to deliver significant environmental improvements which should include a reduction in scale, but where there may still be a reasonable expectation that any new residential accommodation may be in excess of 279 sqm (3,000 sq ft).”

By way of context, the development already approved at Grève de Lecq has a gross internal floor area of 592 sqm, although there is a separate application to add another 82 sqm to the plans.

The ‘built-up area’ is defined in the Bridging Island Plan and covers Town, Les Quennevais and the St. Clemente’s Coast Road but also pockets of development in every parish.

The newly published draft planning guidance lists reasons why the updated policy is justified. 

These include the fact that there is a current need for smaller homes in Jersey, all types of houses in Jersey are expensive, the fact that more than 44% of owner-occupied homes in Jersey are under-occupied (such as one couple living in a four-bedroom house) and because “larger dwellings within the countryside can also have a more significant adverse impact upon the distinctive character, quality, and sensitivity of the landscape, seascape or coastal unit in which they are sited.”

Once adopted, in whatever guise, the guidance and the interim policy will become ‘material considerations’ in the determination of planning applications relating to the creation of new homes outside the built-up area.

Last week, the same policy team that has drafted these new rules published its comments on the Water’s Edge development, saying that plans complied with the polices in the BIP.

Anyone wishing to comment on the Government's proposals can do so here.

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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 Robert Gabriel on
No individual, irrespective of how deep their pockets are, should be able to purchase a commercial property suited in a sensitive area and then decide to turn it into a luxury home. Whilst turning Water’s Edge into a private home won’t cause any significant loss of amenity for the general public the same can’t be said about the proposed development at Greve de Lecq. Hopefully, these changes may go some way to address those types of problems elsewhere in Jersey in future!
Posted by Madeline Bates on
St Helier's been destroyed, through over-development, with no consultation with, or consideration for, the residents who live in town. The same must not be allowed to happen elsewhere in the Island, or it will end up like Hong Kong.
Posted by Keith Marsh on
Allowing for these massive homes to be built on an Island that is both overpopulated and under housed, is morally WRONG.
Many properties in and around St Helier are only 750sq ft ~ there is no reason to build such a huge property, other than greed.
Posted by Patricia Le Ruez on
What about the Sunset Nurseries Site in the heart of St. Peter/St. Ouen - a 6 bed private property !!!
Posted by Patricia Le Ruez on
Long over due but its shutting the gate after the horse has bolted. The areas of Bouley Bay, Greve de Lecq and similar areas should never be anything other than for the public to enjoy and No huge private properties houses allowed. So much for trying to attract tourists back to the island. Take a walk around the country lanes and you will see many of these huge developments. Jersey has sold its soul !
Posted by Gerard Farnham on
Basically this is making Bouley Bay a private amenity for that home. A disgrace to consider a single home down there, one of the great Hotel locations and still at least suitable for multiple residence. Think about it - one moderately large Hotel with one of the best views in Jersey being replaced by one home. Words fail me.
Posted by Jon Jon on
Its the same in this Island its who you are or know. Not far from us an old farmhouse which I presume was possibly listed was knocked down and what a mansion built in its place above Vallee des Vaux.
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