Minister rejects appeals in new twist to planning saga

A PLANNING saga that has been ongoing for more than a decade has taken yet another twist.

Keppel Tower development. Picture: JON GUEGAN (30217092)
Keppel Tower development. Picture: JON GUEGAN (30217092)

Environment Minister John Young has dismissed two appeals lodged by a developer against decisions to reject revised plans for The Waves development at Keppel Tower in Grouville.

Work is well under way at the site, but Bob Beslievre, of Sea View Investments Ltd, who is behind the project, had made two further applications to revise the plans which had already been approved for ten apartments in 2018.

One of the applications sought to widen one of the blocks and make changes to the building’s roof so that further accommodation could be created in the roof space. The other proposed changes to a different block so that what would have been a three-bedroom maisonette could be divided to create two two-bedroom flats instead. An extension to the underground car park to provide more spaces was also proposed.

Both applications were refused in late 2019, but the applicant appealed against those decisions and both cases were reviewed by independent planning inspector David Hainsworth.

Deputy Young, in a ministerial decision signed on 9 February, has now upheld the recommendation of Mr Hainsworth in relation to the first appeal, and dismissed the application as a result. The minister also dismissed the second appeal, which Mr Hainsworth had recommended should be allowed. However, Deputy Young said that the proposed extra unit and larger basement for parking would be an ‘unacceptable overdevelopment of the site’.

Deputy Young said he had given ‘full consideration’ to the inspector’s report but that ultimately it had been decided that the proposal went against the Island Plan, a document that sets planning policy for Jersey.

Mr Hainsworth had concluded that the first application to widen the block would amount to overdevelopment of the site because of the impact on the area’s local character. His report says: ‘It is clear from the planning history that this is a sensitive location for a redevelopment scheme of the size proposed and that the approved scheme seeks to achieve a delicate balance between the various concerns. I have considered the matter very carefully and have come to the conclusion that the proposals now put forward would tip that balance, so that the scheme would no longer sufficiently respect the local character and would be contrary to policy GD7.’

The proposals relating to the changes to the maisonette, he concluded, would not represent overdevelopment, however.

The latest decisions come just a few months after archaeologists found what they believed to be remains of a medieval workshop at the site while undertaking investigations which were required as part of the original planning permission for the project.

Other setbacks to the developer’s plans over the years include a high-profile ‘David and Goliath’ case that saw elderly neighbour Mary Herold take the matter to the Royal Court, where she won her case, causing the planning permission granted for a previous scheme to be overturned.

Following that, a third and smaller application was also refused by the Planning Committee, but a revised scheme for ten apartments in four buildings – a development that used almost a third less space than the original design – was eventually approved in 2018.

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