Since starting my Blog some months ago not only have I noticed an increased readership but the Blog has attracted many readers from around the world, and I thank you all. Although this Blog is again devoted to the
St Martin’s field, building on open land is a world wide issue. Whilst Jersey has benefitted from the occasional land fill on our coast line, we are not producing any more land but our population is ever increasing therefore I fully concur with the comments highlighted in italics below when the States approved its Island Plan last year. In its Introduction it stated
1.1 For a small Island, land is a precious and finite resource of fundamental importance and it is essential that it is used wisely. The importance of land use planning cannot be overstated. It affects the quality of life of everyone living in
Jersey by balancing the competing demands for land with the need to protect the environment.
1.2 The principal document for the planning and use of land in
Jersey is the Island Plan. It sits at the heart of the ‘plan-led system’ and is crucial to the success of the economy, the quality of the environment and the welfare of the community.
The above Introduction is a powerful statement and could apply to anywhere in the world but even more so in small Islands where land and open space is so precious. One may ask how is it that responsible people can opt to build on an open field when there is another option. How can so many people fall at the first hurdle? How can the public allow such a decision to go unchallenged?
This year is Olympic year and the flame’s 8000 mile journey to
has passed through many communities and on the 58th day it came to London Jersey. That day was enjoyed by thousands of Islanders and there were many fine speeches extolling the virtue of sport to the community, and rightly so as it creates the opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to participate or spectate.
This is also Diamond Jubilee year and it is doubtful whether there will ever be another occasion when the
will celebrate a Diamond Jubilee and host the Olympic Games in the same year. At the heart of the Jubilee celebrations is the desire to protect and preserve 2012 playing fields throughout the UK from development. UK Jersey is a participant and a committee has been formed which is now within the Chief Minister’s remit.
Jersey has organised a number of events to celebrate the Jubilee and only last week Prince Charles and Camilla visited Jersey and both were warmly welcomed and again we heard many fine speeches extolling the virtue of working together and celebrating her Majesty’s wonderful 60 year reign. However not a word was spoken about the Field Challenge, why when so many other communities have not only chosen their field but some have received a royal seal of approval by being officially opened by a member of the Royal family.
The Planning Minister who is responsible for implementing the Island Plan, yes the same one whose Introduction is in italics above, has now approved a planning brief which will permit building on the Field. However as well as being the Planning Minister, he is also Minister of the Environment so how does that decision conform to the Introduction above?
The Education Minister is “wholeheartedly” supportive of the proposal but he is also Minister for Sport and Culture so how can he support a plan which will see the loss of a cricket and football pitch?
The planning application is made in the name of the Treasury Minister; yes the same one who rightly reminds us that we should be cautious when spending Taxpayer's money. However building in the field is the most expensive option, so how can he support the application?
Last May and before any planning decision was made I nominated the
St Martin’s playing field to be considered for the Jubilee Field Challenge and made it known to the other Ministers. However that fact appears to have been ignored because despite several requests I do not know whether my nomination is being processed. Also why have the public not been permitted to participate in the worthy project?
Answers to these questions have never been given, but there is also another. Why was the option of redeveloping the existing school deliberately omitted when the original plans were put out to consultation? That omission meant there was a flaw in the consultation process and an explanation for the omission must be given.
Some months ago I asked the Ministers if they would hold a public meeting to provide the answers to the questions above. Alas my request was ignored so I am organising one next Wednesday 1st August at 730pm at the
St Martin’s Public Hall. The Ministers have been invited and it will be interesting to learn why they can sustain their support for the application.