New Assembly to consider forced sale for school land
A PROPOSITION to ask States Members whether they are in favour of buying land earmarked for the new Les Quennevais School by compulsory purchase has been lodged by the Education Minister.
In October, following an initial denial of planning permission, the project was given the go ahead after architects addressed a number of design issues outlined by a UK planning inspector.
However, progress was halted last month when the owner of three of the eight fields where the school is to be built increased his sale price from £194,000 to £4 million.
Dave Carrel, who inherited the green-zone sites, later claimed in statement from his lawyers that he was being ‘bullied’ into selling off the land for less than it was worth – something the States denies.
In a report accompanying Deputy Rod Bryans’ proposition, it states that BNP Paribas Real Estate (Jersey) were commissioned to value the site of the proposed school. The company eventually stated that the market value of the land was £15,000 per vergée. All of the land, apart from the fields belonging to Mr Carrel, was bought by the States between 22 September and 6 October 2017.
The report states: ‘During the negotiations it became apparent that it would be necessary to agree further terms with the owner owing to the possible diminution in value the owner’s retained land/buildings would suffer as a result of the newly-developed school.
‘A valuation was carried out by a third party on instruction from the owner, which was carried out in accordance with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors Valuation Professional Standards (the “Red Book”).’
The report adds: ‘The valuation ascertained the diminution in value to the retained property (comprising land and buildings) as being £58,900. This was accepted by property holdings.’
Sale terms were then signed with the owner on 7 December 2017, but on 14 February Mr Carrel and his lawyer are alleged to have contacted Jersey Property Holdings to renegotiate ‘major terms’ regarding the sale, including the price agreed and to try to place conditions upon the land once the sale had been processed.
The report added: ‘In the opinion of Jersey Property Holdings the agreed Heads of Terms [sale agreement] are a fair and true reflection of the amount which the land might have been expected to realise if sold on the open market by a willing seller.
‘While the preference is for the public to acquire the remainder of the site by agreement and remains ready, willing and able to pass contract on the basis of the singed Heads of Terms, it is now appropriate to seek the relevant authority and compulsorily acquire the remainder of the [school] site at a fair and proper price.’
The proposition will be debated on 26 June, although Deputy Bryans will not be present as he is not standing for re-election.