The Planning Committee has rejected an application to build a 50-bed nursing home and Jersey Hospice shop in Grouville with a "heavy heart" after hearing of the charity's serious financial woes.
Fauvic Nurseries owner Stanley Payn applied to demolish four redundant greenhouses to the north of Holme Grown and build the nursing home and 710 m2 charity shop on them and part of the car park.
The application was reviewed on Thursday by the Planning Committee, which unanimously rejected it on the grounds that it would result in over-development of the countryside, agreeing with a recommendation from the Planning Department.
Addressing the group of politicians yesterday, Jersey Hospice Chief Executive Mike Palfreman said that the charity had been searching for a third shop, to complement its ones in St. Ouen and town, for 10 years.
He added that Hospice had been running at a loss for the past three years and was committed to balancing its books by 2024.
“With a growing and aging population, that deficit cannot continue and we have to grow revenue from other sources,” he said, adding that having another shop in the east of the island would serve a third of the island’s residents and provide paid and voluntary job opportunities.
Pictured: The proposed nursing home and Hospice shop were proposed for north of the existing Holme Grown (large white square) off Rue au Long.
Grouville Constable Mark Labey also spoke at the hearing in support of the application. He said Fauvic Nurseries and Holme Grown, with its pétanque terrain and recycling centre, had become an important part of the parish community and he would like it to become Grouville’s polling station one day.
He also supported the proposed cycle path, which would link La Rocque to Grouville via the parish primary school, he said.
However, despite expressing sympathy and support for Jersey Hospice, the politicians unanimously rejected the application, agreeing with the Planning Department that it ran counter to central policies of the Bridging Island Plan, against which all planning decisions are judged.
Committee Chairman Constable Philip Le Sueur said: “It is with a heavy heart that we have to refuse this application. We don’t hide behind the policies of the Bridging Island Plan but in assessing their various strengths, urbanisation of the green zone comes up trumps.
“The Bridging Island Plan is clearly against this development.”
Referring to the plan for new Hospice shop, St. Lawrence Constable Diedre Mezbourian said: “Every time I go to the shops at Durrell and Acorn, I ask myself ‘why on earth did we build such massive constructions in the middle of the Trinity countryside?’
“It is quite clear that Bridging Island Plan policy ‘ER2’ does not support large-scale retail in the countryside. It tugs at my heartstrings but we have to follow the policies of the plan.
“There is also a clear spatial strategy – we should be protecting the green zone rather than urbanising the countryside.”
Concerns were also raised at the hearing about extra traffic that the shop and care home would generate and the potential for the development to increase flooding in the area.
At the same Planning Committee meeting, permission was granted to turn another part of Fauvic Nurseries into a cannabis farm - in line with the department's recommendation.
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