Thousands of new homes proposed in bridging plan

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The draft bridging Island Plan 2022-25, published today, includes policies to improve the design and standard of new homes, a town plan for St Helier designed to protect open space and improve facilities as well as stronger protections for the Island’s environment and a response to the climate emergency, including measures to increase the use of sustainable transport.

It also aims to support the Island’s retail sector, with ‘more flexibility for retail innovation in town’, provide support for tourism destinations and account for the impacts of Covid-19 and Brexit in a drive to achieve a sustainable economy.

A 12-week public consultation on the new draft Island Plan 2022-25 also begins today.

Environment Minister John Young described the plan as a ‘giant step forward’.

Deputy Young said: ‘It updates all our development policies and sets an ambitious vision to enhance Jersey as a special place, protect its environment and unique island identity;and provide the homes, employment and infrastructure that sustain family and community life.’

Delays caused by the pandemic mean that the publication of a new ten-year Island Plan has been postponed until 2024. The States Assembly usually debates, amends and votes on the strategy every decade but ministers said a new plan would not have been possible until after the 2022 election owing to the disruption.

The government plans to build 4,150 homes by the end of 2025, with over a third of these (36%) affordable, including key-worker accommodation. A total of 2,650 would be for the open market. There were already 625 affordable and 700 open market homes under construction at the end of 2020 while 16 sites across seven parishes have been identified for affordable homes.

The document also lays out plans to expand the Coastal National Park to cover all of Jersey’s intertidal zones. The revised park boundary also covers 35sq-km, or nearly 30%, of the Island’s landmass. The government said this would put Jersey on track for its target of protecting 30% of Island’s environment by 2030.

Development in the park would be ‘very limited’, according to the plan, to ‘protect its outstanding landscape and seascape character’.

A Sustainable Communities Fund could be set up to invest in town improvements as part of plans for St Helier and funded through a ‘land development levy’, subject to States approval. A future St Helier Country Park has also been identified, which could see Warwick Farm turned into a green space for the benefit of town residents.

Public consultation events, including online briefings, will run throughout May. Every representation made as part of the consultation will be published and considered.

Alongside the public responses, States Members will also be able to make amendments to the plan, which will all be reviewed by an independent inspector, who will then publish a report.

UK company Intelligent Plans and Examinations Ltd won the contract to examine the plan, and appointed Keith Holland as lead inspector, Geoff Salter as assistant principal inspector and Derek Stebbing as assistant senior inspector.

Mr Holland previously conducted a review of the Guernsey Island Development Plan.

In early 2022, ministers will consider this report and possible further amendments, after which a States debate will take place. The document will then become the agreed policy against which planning decisions should be made.

Deputy Young said: ‘I want to encourage every Islander to get involved in the 12-week public consultation. Everyone should see this as an opportunity to have their say about the future of the Island and its development, not only in the coming years, but also how we might best respond to the long-term challenges that the plan identifies.

‘The bridging Island Plan is the start a great future for Jersey, and I want everyone to be involved.’

The consultation goes live at 3pm. Further information and consultation can be found at gov.je/islandplan.

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