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Entrepreneur vows to fight Tamba Park rejection

Entrepreneur vows to fight Tamba Park rejection

Thursday 26 July 2018

Entrepreneur vows to fight Tamba Park rejection

Thursday 26 July 2018


Plans to build a 27-unit luxury holiday village, and a four-bedroom house at Tamba Park, have been kicked out by the Environment Minister, who argues they will seriously "harm the landscape and character of the area" - but the man behind the plans says he will not go down without a fight.

An independent planning inspector had recommended that both applications be approved as, on balance, the public interest planning gains were enough to overcome the concerns, including the fact that Tamba Park is in the Green Zone, where there is a general presumption against development.

The Environment Minister, Deputy John Young, did not agree with the inspector’s conclusion. He said: “Building a 27-unit holiday village would result in serious harm to the landscape and character of this area and the envisaged environmental enhancements and tourism benefits are not enough to overcome this harm.

“This development also contravenes the strategic aims of the Island Plan, which seek to locate development in sustainable locations. If approved, it could set a precedent for other proposals in the countryside which go against our agreed Island Plan policy.”

John_Young.jpeg

Pictured: Deputy John Young, the Environment Minister, said the applications would result in "serious harm to the landscape and character of this area."

The owner of Tamba Park, Jonathan Ruff, had submitted plans to transform a part of the dinosaur park, which is situated on the border between St. Lawrence and St. Mary, into a holiday village.  He wanted to demolish disused glasshouses including a packing station and box-making factory and replace them with 13 two-bedroom and 14 three-bedroom self-catering lodges as well as four ancillary buildings.

The planning application also included constructing 228 new car parking spaces for Tamba Park and the holiday homes and widening ‘La Rue de la Frontiere’ to accommodate increased traffic in the area.

Mr Ruff told Express he was very shocked his application had been completely rejected. “I was expecting them to come back and say ‘if you do this and you do that, we will approve it.’ But they haven’t mentioned any conditions, they have just said ‘no we don’t want that.’ What I was trying to do, it’s a good thing, not a bad thing. It was the wrong decision.” 

Jonathan_Ruff_-_Tamba_Park_Arcade.jpg

Pictured: Jonathan Ruff didn't expect the Minister to reject his application completely.

Speaking about the comments made by Deputy Young, Mr Ruff described them as "full of nonsense."

“He says that we haven’t tried to find another agriculture use for the fields. Well we have, it was advertised and advertised. I spoke to every farmer, people don’t want them.

“The other thing I thought was really stupid is that the Minister put in that Jersey doesn’t need any more self-catering units. He mentions that some apartments have closed down previously after becoming self-catering. But he misses the point completely: turning a few flats into self-catering is quite different to creating a whole self-catering resort. There is clearly a need for self-catering. This just shows how those people are not in touch with reality.”

The whole issue is about how the decision was made. It’s all been a bit of a mess,” added Mr Ruff. He said that Deputy Young was clearly conflicted when making his decision having attended the Planning Inquiry. Mr Ruff says Planning Ministers are not allowed to attend those meetings.

“Also I found a post from him on Facebook from six months ago where he said it should never be allowed and that he hated the idea of the application," he continued. "He had already declared his decision even before he had to. Deputy Young was the wrong person to make that decision. He should have recognised he was in breach and stepped aside.”

Tamba Park public planning inquiry Jonathan Ruff

Pictured: Independent Planning Inspector Graham Self (centre) recommended the applications be approved.

Mr Ruff also said that the new Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, attended the inquiry. “He sat on the side of the neighbours who were against my application. There is a massive conflict! It makes you think if he has had a discussion with Deputy Young about it? Why were the both of them there? They were not independent, to me it was rich neighbours who didn’t want the application telling the Deputy and Minister what to do.” 

However, the entrepreneur is refusing to go down without a fight. “There is no way I am leaving it! If I asked all islanders, ‘Do you want that?’ and they said 'no', I would leave it. But the feedback I had from everybody I met, even people I didn’t know, is that people want this. They want more places to go to. What those elected people have done is do the exact opposite of what people want. 

“Ultimately, this is about fairness. Is this right that people are making a decision when they are obviously conflicted? It’s the same in Court, it’s about what’s right and what’s wrong. I want those people to know that you can’t make the wrong decision and get away with it.”

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Posted by Dave Mathews on
If it is true that Deputy John Young had already made up his mind 6 months ago then what use was the Planning Inspector in doing a report and how much money was wasted? I hope somebody raises questions in the States on this.
Posted by William Boyd on
Same old, same old. Jonathan Ruff must think 'what kind of place is this?' I'll tell him, one which is for ever moaning about no tourism infrastructure, then when someone wants to invest millions it is denied. Why? I'll tell you why, if it was planned for town then it would have been passed. But guess what, it is in one of the idyllic 'true Jersey' parishes where the rich live and heaven forfend they have to put up with any development in their perfect little Trumptons.
Posted by S P on
I live in St Mary and have done for 9 years now. The reason I moved to the parish was because of its tranquillity, countryside and quietness. I certainly do not want a Pontins on my doorstep. There is little pavement area around the Parish too. I am pleased at the decision. Tourism will not change if this is denied so Mr Ruff is barking up the wrong trees. It is cheaper to go to Spain or Greece. Butlins style is long passed it's sell by date and Tamba park is a one day experience only and it is no wonder the place is loosing money, the prices to get in are astronomical and not realistic to many for a day out. Guaranteed if it was ever built, the scenario would be the same as all others being that there would be a complaint of lack of tourism then change of use to private houses to sell off using the first time buyer route. The usual ploys people use to get developments passed in green zones. All too familiar.
Posted by Jon Jon on
Take planning on,there excuse is it goes against the island plan,well that plan isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.How come a works site was allowed in the countryside,contravening the island plan for example,that is now an eyesore plus added traffic it causes.Planning are the most deplorable department I know,Total Hippocrates!
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