After a very hectic week, I have spent today preparing for my turn on the BBC’s Sunday Phone-In tomorrow. Having done live radio and TV several times before, I am sure it will be fine. With so many hot topics at the moment, my colleague, Deputy Rob Prow, and I will do our best to deal with your queries.
It is hard to believe that the States meeting was more than 10 days ago – time has flown. It was a short meeting again but dealt with some important issues. Especially as Deputy Le Pelley’s update from his Committee for Education, Sport & Culture resulted in a subsequent decision to bring the March resolutions back for debate in November. Many of you have strong opinions so please do get in touch so I can hear your views.
As you know, last week I had the dubious pleasure of considering the planning application at Les Blanches. Whilst the media reported it as a decision where the emotions won, I have to disappoint them and those who kindly thanked me afterwards. I do not feel I made a decision based on anything other than sound principles under our planning legislation. I am, however, rather pleased that I could.
We are also in the run up to the debate on the draft Island Development Plan having received 17 amendments, one of which has been withdrawn. Now that the deadline has passed, the Development & Planning Authority are meeting to decide on the best approach to each: our priority is to avoid the need for the whole process to have to be re-run, with the costs that that would involve, and not lose the many years of hard work put into this process.
After such a long and comprehensive gathering of the evidence, independent consideration and amendments, it is my President’s and my job in the Assembly on the 12th October to persuade people of that. I hope they will see that this Plan is a good balance between the competing aspects of our Island life and that it will improve flexibility for the benefit of our economy, our environment and socially and, most importantly, should not be delayed. I do hope that this is understood by my fellow Deputies as, to be honest, some of the amendments fly in the face of this message and the sound principles on which the draft Plan is based.
Oh well – that is politics. Wish me luck!