Concerns about town crowding, parking and the provision of green spaces are likely to take centre stage in a Public Inquiry into two major housing developments, revealed by Express yesterday.
Environment Minister Deputy John Young signed off on the review into the proposed builds at the site of the former Ann Street Brewery, and the Mayfair Hotel, last week.
Explaining the rationale for the inquiry, he told Express: “These are very large-scale developments which will have a significant impact on the area, which is one of the criteria for Public Inquiries."
Pictured: Andium Homes want to build 189 one-bedroom and 82 two-bedroom flats on the site of the former Ann Street Brewery. (Andium Homes)
The first application relates to Andium Homes’ plans to build 189 one-bedroom and 82 two-bedroom flats on the site of the former Ann Street Brewery. The plans also include 163 car spaces in underground parking, 340 cycle spaces and the creation of a “town woodland” and park areas.
The second application relates to proposals to demolish the Mayfair Hotel to make way for 137 one-bedroom and 67 two-bedroom flats.
The Environment Minister said that while the terms of reference for the inquiry are being drawn up, he wants “a number of factors” to be considered. This includes heritage issues raised by the Historic Environment Team, as well as the creation of open space and community facilities.
“If we are going to increase the density of developments in town and our town-based population, I want the Planning Inspector to look at what parking and green spaces are being provided.”
Pictured: The Mayfair could be demolished to make way for flats.
The Minister also wants the Planning Inspector to look at the “emerging policies” that will be included in the draft Island Plan.
“A lot of people will be affected and will have an opinion,” Deputy Young added. “We have this process to give the opportunity for the issues to be examined in detail. Residents will be able to have their say and applicants will do too, some political members may do so too.
“I want to make it as manageable and accessible for people as possible.”
While some may question the costs of the inquiry, Deputy Young says it is “the right step to make."
“The value of the developments that go in Jersey are worth hundreds of millions - are we really saying that £10,000 is something that we should cut corners on? You have to do the job properly.”
Pictured: The Environment Minister says a Planning Inquiry is the "right step to make".
St. Helier Constable, Simon Crowcroft, is supporting the Planning Inquiry and said he will be making a submission to voice his concerns about the provision of car spaces and community amenities.
“Although the scheme includes some woodland and has some positives about it, I think generally in that area with developments, a lot of accommodation are being provided without open space or not enough open space for the new residents,” he said.
“It is really crucial that St. Helier has sufficient green space and space for the children as well.”
In addition, the Constable says current developments in town are “short-changing future residents for parking”, with private developers reducing parking standards “in line with planning policies."
Pictured: The Constable of St. Helier said he would be making his submissions to the Planning Inquiry.
The Constable said that one of reasons for this is the fact that the Minister for Infrastructure, Deputy Kevin Lewis, still hasn’t released his parking strategy.
“I do not agree with Planning policies because town residents have the right to car ownership. It is unfair for residents who want a car, not to go to work or to school because they don’t need to, but they still need at weekends or for their leisure pursuits.
“Planning is allowing developers to reduce the number of parking spaces. Town residents when they move into apartments have to park the car on the street or rent private space, neither of which are satisfactory outcomes because it’s better to provide car spaces for those who want to own a car. Not everyone will want a car, some people will want a motorbike, but they should have the ability to have the space.
“If it’s possible to provide garages, it should be done because it’s important for people’s quality of life, even if you just end up putting things in it.”
Pictured: Simon Crowcroft wants the new developments to be linked to the rest of town as well as walking and cycling routes.
The St. Helier representative is also concerned about the absence of a walking and cycling strategy, another one of Deputy Lewis’s projects, which means that recent developments are still not linked to the rest of town, and other, cycling routes.
The ever-growing number of town residents is also causing an issue in terms of representation within the States Assembly. The Constable says the pro-rata representation of St.Helier is going down all the time, which means that town residents have “less say” than residents from the rural parishes.
While electoral reform is happening, the Constable says 13 deputies for town will not be enough and that 16 are required.
“I support the Planning Inquiry, it will not necessarily delay the projects, but some delay is justified if you end up with a better development,” the Constable said. “There is a risk of town crowding if it’s not done properly.”
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