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Les Ormes planning refusal: ‘Strongest possible’ appeal

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AN appeal has been lodged against the Planning Committee’s rejection of plans to build 60 new self-catering units at Les Ormes in St Brelade.

Picture: ROB CURRIE. (26918517)

The Bosdet Foundation, owner of Les Ormes, has submitted a detailed response to last November’s refusal of planning permission for the scheme, citing 15 separate grounds for the appeal.

Mike Graham, managing director of the resort, said he was fearful of the impact on the tourism industry if such applications were rejected.

‘How many more hotels are going to close?’ he said. ‘The Island is losing accommodation for tourists and desperately needs stability.

‘We are spending £45 million on upgrading the Airport, and if we genuinely want tourism to be part of a diverse economy, proposals of this kind must be supported or we will just see a gradual decline, which will see lots of sufferers – restaurants, taxi drivers, the bus company and attractions like the Zoo and the War Tunnels.’

The Planning Committee voted by three to two to reject the proposals, which would have virtually doubled the accommodation at the resort. The decision went against the recommendation of planning officers to approve the scheme, with committee members fearful that the development was too intensive within the green zone designated by the Island Plan, which sets planning policy.

Committee chairman Deputy Russell Labey said the proposed development would be more suited to an urban environment, while Constable Philip Le Sueur, another who voted to reject the plans, described it as ‘a Dandara-style’ development within the green zone.

The application involves the demolition of the indoor tennis centre at Les Ormes, which was built in 1998 but has become under-used. The applicants estimated the new units would bring an extra 5,700 visitors to the Island yearly and help the foundation increase its annual profits, which are given to local good causes, from £350,000 to around £1 million.

Mr Graham said that after a feeling of depression in the immediate aftermath of the decision, the Bosdet Foundation had regrouped and focused on launching the strongest possible appeal.

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The appeal refers to a number of individual planning policies and claims the Planning Committee failed to give sufficient weight to numerous considerations, including:

  • The planning officers’ view that the project would be a improvement on the existing building.
  • The support of the Jersey Architecture Commission and the lack of any objection from the Historic Environment Team.
  • The demonstrable environmental gains from the project

Mr Graham said he anticipated that the appeal will be heard in April.

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