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It has published new draft guidance which updates and clarifies the policies of the Bridging Island Plan, which was agreed in March and sets the standard against all planning decisions are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.
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.
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Many properties in and around St Helier are only 750sq ft ~ there is no reason to build such a huge property, other than greed.