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Foreshore property cash demands ‘must stop now’

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GOVERNMENT demands for money from Islanders whose properties are alleged to have encroached on the foreshore must be stopped immediately, a States Member has said.

Deputy Carolyn Labey

Grouville Deputy Carolyn Labey has lodged a proposition calling for a revised policy to cover development work on coastal properties and requiring government officials to stop seeking ‘compensation’ until the new policy is in place.

Deputy Labey’s proposition, which was lodged with the States Greffe yesterday, is the latest development in a long-running dispute involving two home owners in Deputy Labey’s parish. Alan Luce and Julian Mallinson were obliged to pay £50,000 in legal fees and compensation after selling their properties, with officers from Jersey Property Holdings insisting that they had encroached on the foreshore.

An official complaint by Mr Luce and Mr Mallinson was upheld by the States Complaints Board in 2018, but the board’s findings were rejected by Infrastructure Minister Kevin Lewis.

Deputy Labey has called for monies received from the complainants to be returned prior to the confirmation of the new policy, which the proposition stipulates must come to the Assembly for debate by September of this year.

Former Infrastructure Minister Eddie Noel is criticised in the proposition for making an ‘unhealthy assumption’ that those selling affected properties must be able to afford government demands for compensation and costs.

‘In Mr Luce’s case, the action the minister and government of the day chose to take against him not only lost him the sale of his house, it actually delayed any prospect of any sale for a further 15 months, while the minister set about writing a policy to cover his actions and the department having to undergo a learning exercise in boundary-setting and alleged encroachments,’ said Deputy Labey. She added that the delay led to the value of Mr Luce’s property dropping by more than £100,000.

Deputy Labey goes on to state that she sees ‘absolutely no chance’ of the government’s existing policy delivering the best outcome for the Island, and criticises Jersey Property Holdings for ignoring the findings of the States Complaints Board ‘with impunity’.

The Infrastructure Department is required, as part of the proposition, to publish a map of all public accesses, footpaths and rights of way to the foreshore so that property owners know where they stand.

Deputy Labey added: ‘The fact that the States Complaints Board, a body set up by this Assembly, made up of a panel of people who give their time and consideration to cases brought before them by the public, who are supported by the States Greffe staff, and who present their findings to the States in an orderly timeframe; to then have them ignored with impunity by Government, is simply not right.’

Deputy Labey’s proposition is scheduled to be debated in the States sitting commencing on 24 March.

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