Last year, Scott had filed for planning permission to create the pitches, which Deputy Lewis had supported. However, despite the application still being in process, the landlord of the site, Jersey Property Holdings, has since reneged on an agreed nine-year lease due to a number of ambiguous covenants attached to the land that nearby residents benefited from.
In response, Scott launched a petition that received 2,300 signatures. That petition was responded to by Deputy Lewis and Deputy Hugh Raymond, who holds political responsibility for sport, who said that ‘objections to the planning application have already been submitted by the majority of the beneficiaries of the covenant’.
There have been precedents when the government has overturned restrictive covenants. This includes the old La Motte Street School, now used by the government, which originally restricted its usage to educating underprivileged children. A similar example is the old Jersey College for Girls, covenanted to be used only as a secondary school for young girls, which was sold off and developed into luxury flats.
Nevertheless, Deputy Lewis dismissed any idea that Scott’s plans could follow suit.
‘It is something that is absolutely essential for that to happen and I don’t think five-a-side football comes into that category, do you?’, he said.
‘There were several gifts of land in the area and the people who were gifted the land have a say in what it is used for and they’ve said no, so I can’t do any more for the gentleman. I don’t know why he seems to think that somehow it is my fault. I don’t know what more he expects me to do.
‘We don’t know how people are going to react to the covenants until the planning application is made. People may think it’s an excellent idea and other people will think it is not. This is the process we undertook. They have a say, they have made their feelings known and I have to respect that.’
When asked why the area has not been maintained to a health and safety standard required for recreational use, Deputy Lewis said: ‘We have a landlord function but it’s the sports that use it. A lot of money has been spent on FB Fields over the last few years.’
In the ministers’ response to the petition, it was stated that the property ‘remains in a functional state’ despite moss covering a large portion of the area and prohibiting it’s use.