Deputy John Young has accepted all nine recommendations from the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel regarding the ‘Bridging Island Plan 2022-24’.
Delays caused by the pandemic meant a ten-year Island Plan has been postponed until 2024. The States Assembly usually debates, amends and votes on the strategy every decade but ministers have said that a new plan would not have been possible until after the 2022 election due to the disruption.
Responding to concerns from the panel that a bridging plan ‘might be over ambitious in what can realistically be achieved in a limited timescale’, Deputy Young said that proposals would be ‘properly resourced and progressed’ and included in government plans.
The minister said he expected there to be a ‘high degree of consistency in key policy matters’ between the bridging and ten-year plans. However, any future plan would be reviewed ‘on its own merits’.
Recommendations included developing a communications strategy, prioritising the identification and provision of affordable housing sites within the public estate and seeking the views of affordable housing providers.
Deputy Young said he looked forward to bringing the ‘important work’ to the Assembly next year, with the aim of addressing the affordability of housing, inappropriate development, climate change and sustainable transport, and improving St Helier for the benefit of residents.
He accepted that the current Island Plan was ‘outdated’ and that housing provision had become more limited, posing ‘a challenge to responding to the current housing shortage’, and that uncertainties around Brexit and Covid-19 made it difficult to model future population and inward migration figures.
The minister launched a public consultation last year seeking Islanders’ views on planning policy.