Horticultural lab plans for former restaurant approved

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The Tree House Restaurant and La Marquanderie pub closed in March 2020 after making a £2 million loss, following which it was sold by the Liberation Group to La Marquanderie Holdings.

The plans include the construction of a development of a breeding research nursery, dry store and analytics laboratory within the existing buildings.

Planning officer Gary Palmer recommended the plans for approval and this was unanimously accepted by the committee despite a number concerns being raised, particularly over the lack of information about the planned usage and future occupiers of the site.

Deputy Kirsten Morel questioned whether the loss of staff quarters on the site amounted to a breach of planning policy.

In response, Mr Palmer said the rooms had been used to service the hospitality business and it was a ‘grey area’ whether it qualified as a loss of accommodation.

Deputy Steve Luce asked Kevin Welford, a director of La Marquanderie Holdings, to confirm who the tenants of the site would be, while Deputy Morel asked for the future usage of the site to be confirmed.

Mr Welford said that he could not answer either question at this time. No one attended the hearing to speak against the application being approved.

Committee chairman Constable Philip Le Sueur and Deputies Morel, Luce and Lindsay Ash all approved the application.

Deputy Luce said, however, that while the application was in line with planning policy multiple future applications to develop other areas of the site would be ‘viewed dimly’.

‘I don’t see how I can reject this even though there are many questions that remain,’ he said.

Deputy Morel added: ‘It is unsatisfactory that we still don’t know what this is going to be used for. It would be better to have a full site application for the site but my hands are tied by policy.’

Mr Le Sueur said that the plans for the site remained a ‘mystery’ but suggested that it would be used by the medicinal cannabis industry. ‘I’m concerned by these piecemeal applications by people entering – and I’ll say it – this new cannabis industry,’ he said.

St Brelade Deputy Graham Truscott excluded himself from making a decision on the application due to his position within the parish.

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