Cannabis farm sub-station plan rejected

Meadow Springs and Clos de Sergent Nursery – La Rue des Cabarettes, St. Martin Plans have been submitted to convert some greenhouses (Meadow Springs) into a medicinal cannabis production facility in rural St Martin. The plans include security fencingPicture: JON GUEGAN

Amended plans for the site, which is at Clos de Sargent Nursery in Rue Des Caberettes, were recommended for approval by the Planning Department but rejected by a panel that included chairman Constable Philip Le Sueur, as well as Deputies Kirsten Morel, Lindsay Ash and Graham Truscott.

A number of local residents spoke against the development, as well as parish Constable Karen Shenton-Stone, who was concerned about the impact on the rural location.

‘This not purely agricultural. This is a industrialisation of the countryside,’ she said.

The Constable added that she was concerned that the amended application had removed the building of an external fence around the planned farm site, which she said States police chief officer Robin Smith had confirmed was a security risk.

Parishioners in attendance also raised concerns that the new substation would block access to fields and that the cannabis industry in Jersey would only be economically viable for a short period of time, meaning the substation would become redundant or used for other purposes.

Joseph Carney, who was appearing for the applicant, said that lawyers had prepared a 280-page document setting out the application in detail.

He added that ‘alternatives’ to the fencing were being considered, which would meet Home Office safety requirements.

The panel voted unanimously to overturn the Planning Department’s recommendation to approve the application, however.

Mr Le Sueur said: ‘I’m not happy. There are too many unanswered questions with this application.

‘It’s another example of us being asked to sanction a large site to support the emerging cannabis industry and riding roughshod over planning policy.’

Deputy Kirsten Morel said that the application ‘should have been retrospective’ because unauthorised work had already been carried out at the site.

He added that features of the proposed building, such as its flat roof, were not in keeping with the countryside setting.

Deputy Truscott said that the application was ‘piecemeal’, while Deputy Ash said that too much discussion around it had centred on the planned usage of the site to produce medical cannabis rather than the ‘application itself’ .

Due to his links with the parish, St Martin Deputy Steve Luce sat out of the hearing.

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