The draft Island Development Plan (the “IDP”) was published by the Environment Department on 16 February 2015 and is now going through the planning inquiry process. This process is an independent review conducted by planning inspectors and is made up of initial representations, further representations and a planning inquiry hearing. We are currently in the initial representations stage, which is the opportunity for the public to have their say. The current planning inquiry timetable is as follows:
- Initial representations – from 16 February 2015 until 10 April 2015;
- Further representations (opportunity to respond to initial representations – no new representations can be made at this stage) from 11 May 2015 until 26 June 2015;
- Planning inquiry hearing (in public) – commences 6 October 2015;
- States consider and adopt the IDP - Autumn 2016.
Following this process, the draft IDP will be considered and approved by the States of Deliberation and when the IDP is adopted, it will replace the current Rural Area Plan (the “RAP”) and Urban Area Plan (the “UAP”). Therefore, the IDP will be the principal policy document which the Environment Department will refer to when considering all planning applications.
There are many opportunities within the draft IDP for development, currently precluded by the RAP and the UAP, to be carried out, introducing a certain amount of flexibility. The draft IDP consists of the written statement (containing the policies) and proposals maps. If you have any interest in the future land development policies of the island, you should carefully consider these documents and make representations at this stage.
Careful scrutiny of the draft IDP is essential to fully understand how it may affect your property and to enable considered and effective representations to be submitted. Representations can be made in support of and disagreeing with policies and can be made on any policy and/in respect of the boundaries or allocations identified on the proposals maps. Representations will only be considered by the planning inspectors if they are made online or on the official printed form.
It is no surprise that the draft IDP provides that development will be concentrated within the “Main Centres” (Town and the Bridge) and around them (the “Main Centre Outer Areas”). It also provides that some limited development could take place within and around the edges of the six identified “Local Centres” (St Martin, Cobo, St Pierre du Bois, L’Islet, Forest and L’Aumone). The rest of the island is referred to as “Outside of the Centres”. It is important to identify on the island proposals map which zone land falls within in order to identify which specific policies would be relevant to development proposals for that land.
There are numerous new provisions within the draft IDP and we highlight a selection of these below.
The Strategic Land Use Plan requires the IDP initially to satisfy the island’s housing requirement for the first 5 years of the 10 year plan period. The States’ current housing target is 300 units per year giving a requirement of 1500 dwellings over the first 5 years of the IDP. To meet this requirement, the draft IDP allocates 15 sites for housing in the Main Centres and Main Centre Outer Areas to provide the majority together with sites that currently have planning permission and the rest will be made up of “windfall sites”. The Environment Department has published a document called “Approach to Housing Site Allocations in the draft IDP”, which aims to explain how the draft IDP meets the 5 year requirement. This document, together with the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment, needs careful consideration to understand how the draft IDP will achieve the required 5 year supply.
Affordable housing provisions have been introduced ensuring that proposals for developments of five or more dwellings provide at least 20% of the developable area for affordable housing.
The draft IDP offers much more support and flexibility for the Agricultural Industry. It identifies large Agricultural Priority Areas and within these areas there will be support for development that is related to agricultural use of an existing farmstead or existing agricultural holding. Support is also introduced for proposals for development that would be ancillary or be ordinarily incidental to the primary agricultural use but may not, of itself, be an agricultural use. This allows agricultural businesses the flexibility to consider limited diversification. Examples given in the draft IDP provide that this would facilitate the development of a small farm shop selling goods and produce predominantly grown or made on site and also, development associated with providing visitor accommodation ancillary to the agricultural use of the site.
In some circumstances, the draft IDP supports proposals to develop redundant glasshouse sites. This provides a welcome degree of flexibility in planning policy given the legacy of redundant glasshouses across the island in various states of repair. Within the Main Centres, Main Centre Outer Areas and Local Centres, proposals will be considered against those sections of the draft IDP. Outside of the Centres, proposals will be supported in certain circumstances for small-scale industrial, storage and distribution, to incorporate the site into the curtilage of a building and to provide infrastructure for the harnessing of renewable energy or outdoor formal recreation or informal recreation and leisure.
Many of the conservation areas identified by the draft IDP have changed from those identified by the RAP and UAP. There are 93 in the RAP and UAP which have been reduced to 25 in the draft IDP. However, some areas have been joined together, some have been removed and some new areas have been added. It is important to ascertain whether land now falls within a conservation area.
Many of the designated areas shown on the RAP and UAP proposals maps (for example, areas of high landscape quality and sites of nature conservation importance, where specific policies for those areas will apply) are not the same in the draft IDP. Some of the areas are designated in the draft IDP as something else or, in some cases, they are not subject to any specific designation (“white zone”) so that proposals for development will just be considered against the relevant general policies.
A copy of the draft IDP and supporting information can be found at http://www.gov.gg/planreview and a copy of the proposals map can be found at http://draftislandplan.digimap.gg. Further information on the planning inquiry process can be found at http://www.gov.gg/planninginquiry.