Even though the States has not had a meeting in July, it does not mean to say we Deputies have not been very busy. I have attended various committee meetings, presentations, events and I have also had some great discussions over cups of tea with individuals who are interested in the same things I am – Guernsey and its finance and business services industry and the States’ services.
This week also saw the new Development & Planning Authority’s first open planning meeting at Beau Sejour. For those of you who don’t know, open planning meetings give the public the opportunity to see the deliberations of the Authority and how we reach planning decisions. It also allows the applicants and third parties, who have submitted comments within the time limits, a chance to present their views to us.
Yesterday, we were looking at Le Vieux Jardin in the Vale where an Autism Unit and supported housing is to be built. As outline planning permission was granted in November 2015, we were only considering reserved matters such as the design and landscaping and not whether or not the development should go ahead. These reserved matters were approved unanimously. I was particularly pleased from a planning perspective to see that, even though a tree preservation order had been granted earlier this year, the developers had had every intention to ensure these trees will continue to be part of the view around the development for years to come.
We also looked at the application to build a waste transfer station and ancillary buildings and a household waste recycling centre. Our role was to consider all the paperwork and listen to the representations and decide if the application complied with the necessary planning considerations. Again we unanimously granted the application. It was good to see that extensive consultation had taken place obtaining views on all sorts of matters from the protection of wildlife to the impact on local protected buildings; all comments having being given due consideration.
However, in both scenarios, we were looking at just the planning applications not the wider policies. Removing the hat which I wear as a D&PA member, I am pleased that the building of the first Autism Unit on Guernsey is to go ahead removing the need to separate families across the Channel together with more supported housing so continuing Deputy Jones’ legacy.
With regard to the Waste Transfer Station, we shall see if the States will debate this issue again and, if we do, we shall decide if it is still the right way to apply the Waste Strategy or, indeed, if the Waste Strategy needs to be reviewed.
As I have always said, I do not wish to reinvent the wheel. However, I do feel that, at the very least, the current Waste Strategy needs to be communicated to all of us in a more straightforward way so we can clearly see whether it does reflect the best option in a changing world.