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The new Island Plan is not a licence to develop outbuildings

The new Island Plan is not a licence to develop outbuildings

Monday 04 April 2022

The new Island Plan is not a licence to develop outbuildings

Monday 04 April 2022

The recently passed Bridging Island Plan was successfully amended to relax the rules around splitting dwellings in the countryside into more units of accommodation, as well as converting outbuildings.

But, as Advocate Michelle Leverington, Partner and Head of the Property Team at BRC Law LLP explains, property owners and developers need to take care before proceeding:

In the recently approved Bridging Island Plan – which establishes planning policy for the next three years – the States agreed a backbench amendment to make it easier for property owners or developers to split a dwelling and convert outbuildings to create additional units of accommodation

‘Policy H9’ of the plan, which covers ‘housing outside the built-up area’ now says that proposals for new residential development will not be supported except where “the accommodation is capable of allowing the creation of additional households, where they meet minimum internal and external space standards and specifications for homes, within the existing or extended dwelling.”

Elsewhere in the BIP, the policy around ‘countryside, coast and the marine environment’ supplements this change when it says: “To protect the countryside and coast and to ensure development is concentrated in the most sustainable locations, the development of new homes will be supported in limited circumstances, including the conversion, extension and/or sub-division of existing buildings.”

While this relaxation of planning policies to allow outbuildings – such as a barn or garage - to be developed might come as a relief to those hoping to buy a Jersey home, there are further factors to consider before choosing to develop one.

For example, the purchase contract for the property may include a restriction on the use of land or outbuilding to agriculture/horticulture and there are also contracts where the access to a property is limited to agricultural use. 

A right to have drains, pipes or cables run under another owner’s land may also be restricted and so any new residential units could be prohibited as an ‘aggravation’ of the right.

A neighbouring owner benefiting from the restrictions would need to agree to change the restrictions by passing a contract in the Royal Court. These types of contracts will result in the developer being required to pay the legal fees of the other owner who may also want compensation for giving the developer the rights they need.

The bottom line is that just because Planning say ‘yes’ does not mean that a development is possible and a landowner or developer should always ensure that the proposed development has the rights it needs for access and services if they pass under another owner’s land.

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