Emergency talks about Plémont loan

EMERGENCY discussions about Plémont involving the Chief Minister and the National Trust for Jersey were held on Tuesday evening following the start of one of the most anticipated States debates in years.

Chief Minister Ian Gorst and Treasury Minister Philip Ozouf are greeted outside the States Building by a range of placards
Chief Minister Ian Gorst and Treasury Minister Philip Ozouf are greeted outside the States Building by a range of placards

EMERGENCY discussions about Plémont involving the Chief Minister and the National Trust for Jersey were held on Tuesday evening following the start of one of the most anticipated States debates in years.

The House voted to adjourn the sitting after nearly three hours of discussion to give Senators Ian Gorst and Sir Philip Bailhache time to talk to the trust about Deputy Geoff Southern’s amendment and whether the organisation would be in a position to take on a States loan to buy Plémont before paying it back over ten years.

Earlier in the day Members voted to allow a discussion on St Saviour Deputy Jeremy Macon’s proposal to extend the time given to the trust to repay a possible loan outlined in Deputy Southern’s amendment. However, Deputy Macon’s amendment failed by 11 votes in favour to 39 against.

The debate is due to resume at 9.30 am on Wednesday morning. Full report of events in Wednesday’s JEP.

Comments for: "Emergency talks about Plémont loan"

Fed Up

All the on line polls clearly show that the people of Jersey do not want the States to buy Plemont.

The NTJ have no money. The States have no money so why are they wasting their time debating it.

Let them build.

What should happen is that a referendum is held and let the Public have the final decision as it is our money that the States want to waste again.

Annie Du Feu

Build till we have a population of 200000? Won't be all that long. We need to stop building and if this can do it then lets hope the states buy Pontins. And which people want it built on? The English immigrants who came after lhe tourism hayday and care only about money or the real locals who care about our beautiful island?

I Pasdenom

Annie Du Feu,

"...real locals who care about our beautiful island?"

I happen to be one of those 'real locals' that cares about the island; but that doesn't mean I base my decisions on prejudices about where a person comes from.

If the houses being built where being by a local man to house his family would you still object?

If so then why bring immigration into your argument?

And if not why make claims about saving the 'beauty' of the island?

Choose one argument.

Andy

sorry i'm a real local and i'm against wasting tax payers money when we have a very worrying economic situation!!

razor

What is a real local?

Jerseyman

I agree a referendum would have been a great way to decide

booger

Agree. I have just coughed up a large amount of my hard earned in tax, now the states want to throw it away on a piece of waste land because the NTJ want it. I honestly don't know anyone that supports this fiasco and I would far rather see tax payers money (my money) used to do something towards securing the islands and its inhabitants financial future. Should this land be purchased without a referendum it will prove that the states show no regard for opinions of the people of Jersey, something that it may regret in the future!

If the NTJ want the land why can they not raise the money privately, they claim to have huge support so let all the alleged thousands of supporters chip in with their own cash. Lets see how committed they are to preserving this scrub land then!

puffin

booger, would you prefer all your tax to go on income support for all and sundry? 100 million a year on income support or 5 million or so to save a beautiful part of our island from more hideous development, mmmm I know what I'd prefer!

A

At the beginning of today's Plemont debate it turned out that IG who has brought this proposition was not presenting the case to purchase this site and give it to the NT (at £2M) as HE is a MEMBER of the NT. However, he will still vote as apparently will other States Members who also belong to the NT.

IG’ has a HUGE conflict of interest. How can the Leader of the House and also a member of the NT have ever been allowed to bring forward such a proposal? If he was standing as a Jury Member he would not be selected.

I think that the No to Plemont Purchase Supporters have been well and truly stitched up!

carts

There are so many potential conflicts of interest that the lawyers must be rubbing their hands with delight. They will be the only winners if this proposal goes through now, only to be challenged later.

I Pasdenom

How can the NTfJ agree to buying this property when the value is not known? How can they agree to have the States negotiate the price on their behalf?

I can't see how the NTfJ can take a loan that will need to be repaid by donations; what happens if they default? Will the Public be left having to pay for the removal of the holiday village and the associated asbestos?

This proposition started out bad, and is just getting worse and worse.

The land has a value that needs to be decided, while the owner is asking £14-16million(ish) and the SoJ are offering £5million(ish) that will only be decided once we start down the route of Compulsory Purchase, and once that process has started the cost to the Public will spiral out of control if the 'but at ANY cost' mentality prevails.

IF the NTfJ want to buy the land THEY should negotiate with the owner, not have the Public do so on their behalf at our cost.

IF the Public want to buy the land then We should own it; but we're going to have to pay a fair price for it, and I think that under the circumstances that's going to have to take into account the actual open market value of the land including the fact that it has planning approval and the value that goes with it.

What happens if the States agree to compulsory purchase, and then we find out that the owner has already signed contracts with building contractors, and demolition contractors that have penalty clauses should the owner back-out? will the Public not (as the new owners of the property by force) be liable for those penalties??

There is just too much either unknown by the States, or which is being kept from the Public for this proposition to go ahead.

And if any of this information unknown by the Public is known to the NTfJ then the support they're whipping-up is based on mis-information, and they shouldn't be trusted to enter into any loan agreements with the Public they're duping.

JPSpecial

What really gets me is that I could understand the compulsory purchase in certain situations.... however to use this power at the behest of a third party organisation so they can get the property seems crazy! It just reeks of corruption and that its not what you know but who you know.

Samantha G

The straw polls have been misleading. The most common one is 'Do you want the states to spend £8million to buy Plemont' - the figure is wrong (it's a max of £5.8m from the states and doesn't make it clear that it won't be coming out of budget, but out of a land swap agreement. They also don't ask the obvious additional question, do you want a developer to build luxury homes at Plemont. Straw polls are done by the media for fun and should be read in that context, proper research would need to be done to reflect what the public really think.

As for the value of the land, that is easy to fairly assess by independent valuations - 3 have now been done, the lowest is £4m the highest is £7.8m. The valuers do know what they are doing!

I hope the States are brave and do what is in the best LONG TERM interests for the island and that is to revert Plement back to nature.

Mike

How can you say the valuers know what they are doing when you have such a disparity in the range, from 4 to 7.8 million. If they were close you could make that statement, but clearly one or more of these valuers have got it very wrong.

jerseythepartiesover

Is is just me me or are you not totally bewildered that nearly every day job losses are announced all over the island in all industries and our representives spend all their time on a block of land no one cared about for a generation?

Fed Up

Yes I totally agree.

It would be interesting how many Islanders have actually visited Plemont in the last year.

Not many I would imagine.

Jon

It seems odd in the current economic climate that a developer would go ahead with a development of 28 one million pound houses, particularly when there are a thousand plus unsold properties already on the market.

Who exactly will be buying these houses?

How can a valuation be based on the assumptions that the development will actually go ahead and, if it does, that the houses on the site are worth £28 million and will sell?

OMG

Look at JEP & CTV polls not much support on them for NT

JerseyD

In 100 years time when we are all dead and gone - someone will build here

Sean

Purchase the land at a fair price in order that future generations can have access to Jersey's beautiful coastline without intruding upon private property and swiftly move on to the real problems such as immigration and unemployment.

Plemont is now being used as a smokescreen to evade attention from the real issues that no politician seemingly possesses the courage to tackle.

We need action now whilst an island still exists that is worth saving, never mind a headland, no matter how unique and beautiful.

To those that might suggest that we should not utilise such funds, I would state that how many millions have the States of Jersey wasted on less worthy projects and wasted funds, such as the dumping of Jersey royals at Beauport and subsequent environmental problems, to the fiasco of renovating the Airport to the steamclock and the closure of Fort Regent swimming pool; There does not exist sufficient room here to acknowledge the millions wasted, let them purchase the land and move on to what is really destroying our island whilst it is still ours.

I Pasdenom

Sean,

"...in order that future generations can have access to Jersey’s beautiful coastline without intruding upon private property..."

A fair statement Sean, but please understand that we already own the cliff path and have access to the magnificent views; if this proposition where to go ahead the cliff path becomes private property of the National Trust for Jersey and normal non-members of the Public will not be allowed on that cliff path as it is to be closed to the Public.

Taxpayer

There is obviously a highly vocal minority that are doing a very good job at spinning their case for this waste of taxpayers money, whereas most of the Islands population seems against this, do we live in a democracy or a dictatorship?

The States passed a referendum law, I think over a decade ago or more, to my knowledge it has only been used once, to decide whether we stay on UK time or change to European time.

It would seem that this is a perfect case for a referendum, all the people of Jersey should have a say at such a huge amount of OUR money being spent for such a small piece of land, remember the developers are pledging to return two thirds of the site back to nature anyway.

This should not be railroaded through the States on the wishes of a small number of very vocal people.

And as mentioned above, States members who belong to the National Trust should not be allowed to vote as they obviously have a conflict of interest.

More and more people are losing their jobs, and I would imagine there is a lot more to come, should the States not be spending any spare cash they have on helping them?

C Le Verdic

No, a referendum would not be a good idea as large numbers of whingeing 'taxpayers' with regard only for their own pockets and not Jersey's natural heritage would win the day.

Besides, this would pave the way for referenda being called for on every minor contentious matter in the future. The facility should remain available only for significant matters concerning the island versus the outside world.

You all love democracy and the will of the majority. The lead on Plémont has been firmly established for you by Sir Philip Bailhache. He was elected by an overwhleming majority of right thinking Jerseymen, wasn't he? Get this done and dusted before things change at the next election and the 'taxpayers' find a new champion!

Angry Jerseyman

C Le Verdic you seem to have hit the nail on the head there! The reason a referendum is not held is because IG KNOWS he will loose and so will the NT - quite rightly so. Yes it would be nice to have this land - but we CAN have 80% of it for FREE anyway! In these times you can't ignore that...

Who cares if the houses sell? we're still getting our 80% land back!

When you also say it would pave the way for rederenda being called for on every minor matter, then what do you say about the fact that the same precedent would be set for compulsory purchase!

James1

C le verdic, Your dismissal of the rights of taxpayers to have a say in how their money is spent is appalling. Let's hope you never come to a position where you are responsible for spending other people's money.

There is nothing democratic about enforcing the sale of a private property at a price only the state believes is appropriate. If you think ths is fair, i pray that some quasi-government organisation take a fancy to your home next.

D de Jersey

Don't you mean it wouldn't be a good idea because you wouldn't get your own way.

Big head Baillache wont be getting my vote next time round either.

Jazzy

Well yes us minority locals can be a bit vocal.

Whilst people are losing jobs, that happens anyway, as do recessions from time to time.

However the opportunity to get this land back will not happen again once 28 homes are built on it.

Its a one off chance and we should take it.

I'm glad that some of our politicians belong to charities such as the National Trust perhaps it shows they are interested in what happens to our island and its heritage.

At least the National Trust acts in the interest of the island.

I think there are a lot of people who support Plemont, they have at least voted by giving money and thats not so easy these days, not all of us who have donated are worth millions even if we are local :)

Some of us are middle Jersey getting taxed to the back teeth, and as States employees not getting and have not had for years a decent payrise, ( don't get me going on this issue) but still prefer the States to spend money buying this land.

Sanity

Our Government have spent a day discussing whether they should loan an unknown amount of money to a third party to acquire Plemont with the only FACT being that this third party would be unable to repay this loan. It took 6 hours for somebody to even suggest that they ask the National Trust if they wanted the loan and they even had to vote on that.

A quote from a notable former politician “You could not make this up”. With all the spin, half truths, self serving righteous indignation on both sides of this argument - Come back Senator Stuart Syvret

Bad JEP poll

Please do not trust the above poll. It appears that if you try and vote more than once it blocks your vote. This is clearly a good thing but I just tried to vote for the first time from my school computer(in fact i tried a few different machines) and the poll said each time I had already voted. I know it might seem a small technical point but it would appear that the poll does not let people who share a common IP address but are actually different people vote. So I would argue that most students and people who work in large offices might be having the same ban on voting that I have found. therefore whatever group you follow you just cant trust the poll on here as it is not taken in a fair way. Not that anyone will care but the use of this poll as evidence for anything is just incorrect.

Nick Palmer

There's a lot of gullible people who are being sucked in with those straw polls with their very biased and leading questions. Also that the developers will "return 2/3rds of the land to Nature" - as if somehow that is doing us a favour.

The developers are only offering land area that is surplus to the building footprint that they could get luxury housing permission for. If they retained ownership of it, they or the house owners, would be responsible for maintaining it in perpetuity. It would be an ongoing cost to them. With their "generous" offer they are handing over those costs to the States.

Sir Philip Bailhache, at the Town Hall, claimed that a strip of the "2/3rds" land that the developers were "offering" already belonged to the public and that the majority of the rest of the land being "offered" was in fact the area in between the three mini estates and thus hardly a wild area at all.

I don't see why so many commenters are so gullible that they have allowed themselves to be fooled by those working for someone already extremely rich who doesn't need any more and who could philanthropically fund projects like Quennnevais out of his pocket change if he felt like it.

It comes down to a fight between a very rich person attempting to make even more money for himself by nibbling away, like a woodworm in a beam, at the diminishing semi-wild open areas of Jersey, versus those trying to protect them and all you commenters are falling for this weasel idea that it is somehow either Plemont or funds for Quennevais. Senator Bailhache made it clear that the necessary funding would come from selling off surplus States property, and thus wouldn't require taxpayer funds.

Of course, those rooting for Quennevais and other needed projects like more economic stimuli to boost the general economy, should not forget to lobby Bailhache et al why they cannot also tap the surplus property goldmine to fund these other things too.

Finally, the valuations that the developer has been plugging depend upon there still being a real market for new £1 million plus houses like these. Look around at the numbers of "For Sale" signs. Remember that our finance industry has contracted and continues to do so. Remember that there are large powerful and hungry international vultures, with very shaky economies, circling over our offshore business. The likelihood is that our core financial business - the goose that laid the golden eggs - will have increasing pressure brought to bear against it in future with knock-on effects against employment numbers of a certain types of people, who are the ones who can afford houses like this.

It is even possible that the developer himself realises that it is not certain that going ahead with building these houses would be a going concern - he just might not be able to actually sell any at the end of the day, were they ever finished. Knowing this, and being aware of Article 84 of the Planning Law (that can force someone to demolish and clear a dangerous or deteriorated structure at the owners cost), he might just be trying to get as much money out of the States as possible by continuing to present this as a viable development project and that there is still a real demand for further houses like this and bamboozling the public that what he is offering is a great deal for them.

carts

Being envious of those who have more than you is a distraction that this argument could do without. Surely the issue here is do we honestly believe that government should be allowed to divert tax payer funds (which includes surplus land owned by the public, managed on our behalf by SoJ) to subsidise a private developer (in this case the Jersey NT)who cannot afford to pay market value?

The current owner bought the land at the going rate, at the time, spent a fortune and many years submitting plans until they finally met the requirements of the planning authority and, once permissions approved, the NT swoop in for a States sponsored land grab. On what level does this seem a sound use of our elected officials time and a wise use of our hard earned money? If this proposal is passed what sort of a precedent does it set for the future?

The Enforcer

Carts has pinned down the fundamental issue here to a tee - well done I couldn't have put this better myself.

The princple of restoring/reclaiming the land in question is of course a noble one but given the history of the land and the basis of the States' proposal this can only be described as a morally bankrupt collusion between the States and the national trust...any one who accepts or supports this proposal should actually be ashamed of themselves.

Nick Palmer

Carts, in the traditional Jersey way of arguing, you have almost completely ignored all the points I made about the misleading nature of the rhetoric that the developer has fooled so many with, including you.

"to subsidise a private developer (in this case the Jersey NT)"

If you think there is no difference between development that takes away open space on a cramped Island, where it is quite tricky to get more than 100 metres from some building or other, and "development" that protects and increases such open space then you should get a job in Public Relations or opinion management because you could be a world class spin doctor with a bit more practice.

carts

Have you considered that I'm trying to avoid the emotive blather and stick to the facts...maybe you should remove the log from your eye before attemting to remove the splinter from mine.

The Enforcer

Nick. Your points have been ignored because they are not relevant and are disturbingly flawed. Whilst your argument is based on envy and the bank balance of the developer which is irrelevant I'm keen to focus on the facts. Who has the developer fooled?

He is building on the land he owns and in a manner which is infinitely better that the current derelict eyesore. FACT I think deep down you know who the real fool is....

the thin wallet

emergency talks on unemployment , the health service , and what to do about immigration. to follow after?

whilst money is wasted on a bit of scrubland .

keep a good eye on who votes yes to this sheer folly . and remember that vote when casting your ballot .

Jersey Tax payer and resident

Please do not spend money i have paid in the form of Tax towards this, ask the minority who support it to pay. if they have the support they claim it won't be all that much split between them? if they don;t have the support they need... Unlucky, live in the real world where you have to pay for what you want.

Got to say fair play to them though, some spin campaign - 5000 followers on Facebook!! sounds good until you know that around 80% of Jersey Users have ignored your page.

10,000 signatures - how many people have ignored you while yuo stood on Jerseys busiest street asking?

7000 turn up for your demonstration rally - already 3000 who signed aren't actually that bothered...

this is from the love plemont FB page.. read how many of the comments on it actually support it apart from the one who are running the page.

Sanity

Given that we already own most of Plemont and the current owner has agreed to gift us the prime area near the cliff edge I can’t see any advantage for the ordinary person.

It’s not as if the proposed housing in 3 small clusters of traditional granite farm style properties will look any different to the traditional properties already in this area.

We would do better to offer the owners of the neighbouring modern properties, conveniently air brushed out of the NT literature, a million pounds to move and return the whole valley section to nature. That would certainly improve the area for all, be a lot cheaper and save our government from the damaging spin that is bringing the entire States into disrepute.

Anonymous

Put this to the public vote. We are far more issues like employment, Hospitals and schools for that money. What about a 99 year lease on the land where the properties are given back to nature after that time. In this way people are employed to build and suppliers/shops in Jersey get a short term benefit from the development?

Anonymous

Put this to the public vote. We hare far more issues like employment, Hospitals and schools for that money. What about a 99 year lease on the land where the properties are given back to nature after that time. In this way people are employed to build and suppliers/shops in Jersey get a short term benefit from the development?

Mario

Good points Nick.

As you say if the developer wants to develop why not leave the whole lot to him to look after?

What is the point in the taxpayer paying the maintainance costs for the remaining land if the developer/owners will bare the costs should the states refuse to take over this surplus land, which I presume, will never be allowed to be built on?

None building land is not much good to developers is it? Not much profit in it.

I would call the developer's bluff and say all or nothing. If he wants to maintain the site in perpetuity then let him.

As for buying the land I would much prefer even £14M to be spent acquiring it if it meant the end of the proposed finance quarter. I view that as being a waste of time and money. I would imagine there are others who would also agree with this.

I Pasdenom

Mario,

"...I would call the developer’s bluff and say all or nothing. If he wants to maintain the site in perpetuity then let him..."

If I were the developer I'd take your offer; I very much doubt he wants to give away the land he is, he's only doing so because it's what Planning want developers to be seen to be doing.

Surely the cost of 'maintaining' natural land is negligible until you allow access, which the NTfJ & States never intended to do, and which if it remained in private ownership wouldn't happen.

Perspicuous

The solution is quite simple:-

States buy land at market value and keep it as long term investment.

If times get really tough there's the option to sell it to the NT or consider a loan at a later date.

What do we have to loose?

I Pasdenom

Perspicuous,

"...What do we have to loose?"

The market value of the land.

Perspicuous

...and what do we have to lose?

len

apologies if it is in this thread but does the £2m include the cost to clear the site or will we have another 15 years debate about who pays for that ?

Real Truthseeker

WE WON!!

Sense at last out of the States!

Parktown Prawn

Who are "WE"??

Are the developers kiwi's too??