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Tourist hub plans rejected over coastal protection concerns

Tourist hub plans rejected over coastal protection concerns

Monday 22 July 2019

Tourist hub plans rejected over coastal protection concerns


Plans to demolish "deteriorating" buildings at La Pulente to make way for tourist accommodation have been rejected by the Environment Minister over fears they would harm the coast and disturb neighbours.

Submitted by Riva Architects, the plans to revamp the area next to the former Blue Fountain restaurant were approved in March, but an appeal was lodged by a neighbour just three weeks later.

If implemented, the proposals would have seen two garages, a studio flat and a one-bedroom cottage demolished to create a building with two three-bedroom units and another one including a four-bedroom unit.

The owners had indicated they wanted to be living in a private home on site to service and manage the self-catered units. To do so, part of the house had been dedicated to laundry facilities and the storage of linen, cleaning equipment and spare furniture and included an office space for management.

La Pulente tourist Accommodation

Pictured: An aerial view of the proposed development. (Riva Architects)

But their neighbour, who is said to live 50 metres from the site, voiced concerns over the tourist accommodation being changed to residential use or used as such.

Nigel McGurk, the Planning Inspector appointed to deal with the appeal, said the main issues revolved around whether the accommodation would be “a form of sustainable development” and the effects it would have on neighbours and their privacy.

While he acknowledged neither of the current structures were “attractive” and that their interiors appeared “awkwardly laid out and physically run-down”, Mr McGurk said they were relatively small and would not “unduly crowd” the site. He added that they were unobtrusive and did not attract attention to themselves.

The proposed buildings, he said, would be taller and bigger in volume with one of them extending to the side over the garden area. He also added that the balcony in the new building would extend closer to the neighbouring property.

La Pulente Tourist Accommodation

Pictured: The Planning Inspector said the the proposed building would have a significantly greater visual impact than the building it would replace.

Mr McGurk noted that Visit Jersey supported the application – describing the site as an ideal location for tourist accommodation, for which it considers there is significant demand – and that the site was “generally well-located for tourist accommodation.”

However, he added that the development was in “direct conflict with land use planning policy requirements in respect of the Coastal National Park, whose primary purposes are 'the conservation and enhancement of its natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage; and the promotion of opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities by the public'.”

He also said that the proposed building would have a significantly greater visual impact than the building it would replace, especially due to the use of very large glazed windows and doors connecting to a balcony.

Pictured: The site (right) is located next to the former Blue Fountain restaurant on Route de la Pulente.

“Rather than simply appear as two attractive buildings of a similarly modest scale as those buildings which it is proposed to replace, the proposed development would introduce a significantly greater scale of development than that which currently exists, with a resultant increase in visual impact," Mr McGurk wrote.

"I find that this would serve to harm landscape context and character, whereby the proposed development would, due to its scale and appearance, result in a considerably more dominant and visually intrusive form of development than that which currently exists."

While the owners of the site pointed out to the inspector that other tourist developments existed in the area, he said the harm caused by the proposed development was not “mitigated or outweighed by the presence of other developments elsewhere.”

John-Young.jpg

Pictured: The Environment Minister approved the Inspector's recommendations and rejected the application.

The Planning Inspector added that outside of the Coastal National Park, there would be more scope to redevelop what he described as a run-down site and buildings of poor quality.

Mr McGurk went on to say that “larger, more spacious tourism accommodation and larger, more spacious residential accommodation is generally more preferable to tourists and to residents respectively, than smaller, less spacious accommodation.”

The Environment Minister agreed with the recommendation of the Inspector, citing harm to the Coastal National Park and “an unreasonable level of harm to the living conditions of nearby residents by virtue of loss of privacy” as his reasons.

He subsequently upheld the appeal, and rejected the planning application.

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