A newly-launched petition has criticised government officials for the ‘offensive and morally indefensible’ way in which homeowners have been forced to pay tens of thousands of pounds in compensation after selling their properties.
Former Jersey Royal Company owners Tom and Rose Binet initiated the petition, saying that they had reached ‘breaking point’ in their dealings with the government.
The petition, which is promoted via an advertisement in today’s JEP, demands that compensation be paid to those whose properties had been deemed to have encroached on the foreshore.
Mr Binet said he and his sister had been moved to take action following a series of cases in which the government had failed to heed the findings of the States Complaints Board, which has upheld a number of complaints in recent years. A petition criticising the Planning department was launched in December and has now been followed by the second petition, aimed at the Growth, Housing and Environment Department.
Two homeowners – Alan Luce and Julian Mallinson – lodged a complaint in 2016 after being forced to pay more than £50,000 in compensation between them when selling their properties at Grève d’Azette.
The complaints board panel found the actions of the Infrastructure Department and Jersey Property Holdings to be ‘unjust, oppressive and improperly discriminatory’ but Mr Binet said this verdict needed to be followed by reimbursement for those affected.
‘Since being gifted the shoreline by the Crown, the government has demanded compensation from coastal home owners, using tactics I would describe as menacing,’ he said. ‘And the issue is still being ignored by officials in spite of the complaints board’s ruling, which is a contemptible attitude.
‘The government is not taking responsibility for having done things wrongly and is rubbishing people with valid complaints,’ he said. ‘They should be working for the people of the Island, not against them, and there is only so long that one can sit back and watch this happen without taking action.’
Mr Binet said that his group planned further challenges to the government, focusing on other long-running contentious issues and was planning to host a public meeting later in the year.
‘From the research that we’ve done and from the number of people that have come forward, there is a groundswell of opinion in this area that indicates something is pretty badly wrong,’ he said.
A spokesman for the Growth, Housing and Environment Department, which has now taken on the responsibilities of the old Infrastructure Department, said they had no comment on the matter at this stage.