An "out of pocket" St. Mary homeowner who yesterday won a claim that a Planning officer's "vendetta" ended up landing him with a £50,000 fine is looking to get his money back - and is ready to take the case all the way to the European Court of Human Rights.
Mr Ivor Barette now hopes to meet the Minister responsible for Planning to negotiate an arrangement to make up for the treatment he received from officials.
He was given one of the largest Planning-related fines in the island’s history by the Royal Court, for replacing some rotting windows in his house, Broughton Lodge Farm, a property he had inherited and lived in his whole life. The fine left him so out of pocket that he had to cease development on the building, and has now told Express that building costs are such that he could end up paying £100,000 to 200,000 to work on the property again.
Appealing to the States Complaints Board, he spoke of delays in dealing with his planning applications to renovate his home, which cost him dearly, as well as the "bullying tactics" of two enforcement officers who were previously policemen. One of them - referred to as Mr X - was said to have had a personal "vendetta" because Mr Barette had previously raised an upheld complaint against him during his time in the Force. Mr Barette said Mr X's actions made his life "hell".
Yesterday, the Board - comprised of Deputy Chairman Stuart Catchpole QC, Janice Eden and Graeme Marett - supported his claim, blasting the Planning Department for behaving in a way that was "oppressive" and "discriminatory."
Pictured: The Complaints Board said Mr Barette was treated in an "oppressive and improperly discriminatory way" by the Planning Department. (Wiki/Danrok)
In a report setting out the case and their findings, they wrote that “The excessive monitoring by the two Enforcement Officers... created an atmosphere of distrust and conflict" and that Mr X's involvement was "provocative and antagonistic." They recommended that Mr Barette receives a written apology from the Department.
Mr Barette told Express he was pleased that the Board supported him with his complaint against what he describes as "a corrupt ex-policeman who caused all the trouble." "The way I have been treated shouldn't have happened," he said, adding that he is now going to try and get some of his money back.
"I hope to get some money back with my letter of apology. They stopped me building for five years. If I had built then, I would be finished now. The prices have gone up so much, it's probably going to cost me another £100,000 or £200,000. I am out of pocket because of those people."
Pictured: Mr Barette hopes he will come to an agreement with the Planning Minister, Deputy John Young.
Mr Barette is hoping to meet with the Planning Minister, Deputy John Young, and hopes they will be able to come to "some agreement." If it falls though, he says he might have to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights. Mr Barette adds he has no faith in the judiciary in Jersey. "My lawyer misrepresented me in Royal Court. He should have made sure the Attorney General knew Mr X had been disciplined after arresting me unlawfully, which the Police Chief admitted in a letter of apology."
In the wake of the publication of the Complaints Board's findings, many islanders have rushed to show their support to Mr Barette on social media and on Express' website.
John Henwood wrote: "An apology is not good enough, the officer(s) involved should face a disciplinary process. The States can’t give Mr Barrette his fine back, that [is] a matter for the Court, but in the light of this finding the AG [Attorney General] should look at the case again. There should also be a further enquiry into the management of the Planning Department, which emerges as dysfunctional.
"The sooner the States gets round to appointing the Ombudsman (already approved) to look into maladministration in States Departments the better."
Pictured: Mr Barette put up signs around his house to protest the way he was treated by the Planning Department.
Many are calling for Mr Barette's fine to be refunded, with some describing it as "totally over the top." David Le Feuvre added: "Yet another unfair, disgusting state of affairs from planning, this department needs a serious shake up. As for an apology that is not going to finance his house, the fine should be quashed and returned to him as compensation for all the stress he has had to endure from this department."
Harriet Zaman wrote: "What a disgrace. Return this man’s money immediately."
Some commenters are calling for the Planning officers to be named - something Mr Barette is calling for too - and disciplined. "Absolutely unbelievable they got away with this level of bullying for so long," wrote Simon de La Haye. For Debbie Marshall, the officer should be "named and sacked, without compensation for their loss of office, for the misuse of their position in authority."
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