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Minister apologises over wrong advice given to medicinal cannabis farm

Minister apologises over wrong advice given to medicinal cannabis farm

Monday 21 August 2023

Minister apologises over wrong advice given to medicinal cannabis farm

Monday 21 August 2023


The Environment Minister has apologised for throwing a local medicinal cannabis farm's operations into uncertainty – and to people living nearby – after a review revealed that his department gave incorrect planning advice.

The Government said the review into Retreat Farm in St. Lawrence – the base of company Northern Leaf – was undertaken following "a number of concerns regarding regulatory issues".

The review examined the history of applications at the site, the interpretation of its current use, and other matters that had been raised in the past year.

Released on Friday, the subsequent report concluded that everything was compliant – except for the chillers in the plant room area. A retrospective planning application will therefore have to be submitted.

Environment Minister Jonathan Renouf commented: "I would like to address the previous incorrect advice given and say that I deeply regret that local residents have had to wait too long for a resolution to this matter, in circumstances where they have been raising the issue for a considerable period of time.

"I also deeply regret the uncertainty that this will cause Northern Leaf."

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Pictured: Environment Minister Jonathan Renouf said he 'deeply' regrets uncertainty caused by the regulatory issue. 

He added that he “would like to reassure all the parties involved that we are committed to finding an effective and fair resolution to this situation".

The report explained: "The chillers are currently placed in the area of the approved plant room, however they were not shown on the approved drawings and the glasshouse has not been built. It is now the view that the installation of the chillers cannot be considered as permitted as they have not been installed inside a building and they are also not included on the approved drawings of P/2021/1705.

"As this is a change in the Directorate’s position, we will therefore be seeking to engage with Northern Leaf on remedy options, such as submitting retrospective planning application."

The operations of the Planning Department have recently been in the spotlight, with an independent review calling for "radical improvements". Various individual applicants have also voiced their frustration.

Deputy Renouf said he accepted the review's 16 recommendations and that he had an action plan for tackling them.

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Posted by john garner on
He does seem to have to make rather a lot of apologies
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