Environment Minister paves way for ‘conservation areas’

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THE Environment Minister has published a framework that will pave the way for the introduction of conservation areas in Jersey.

Deputy Jonathan Renouf said the designations would help enhance the ‘distinctive character of local areas’.

The updated framework sets out the proposed process for identifying, assessing and formally designating conservation areas.

Deputy Renouf said: ‘Up until this point we have been able to protect specific buildings and places, but these updates to the law will mean we can better protect whole areas of architectural or historic interest.

‘It’s about enhancing the distinctive character of local areas, ensuring careful consideration is given to the design of any new building schemes there, and helping to ensure they are places that Islanders are proud of.’

This year’s Bridging Island Plan identified 11 areas to be given additional protection, including St Aubin, the historic area of St Helier, Gorey village and pier, Rozel Harbour and the areas around the parish churches of Grouville, St Lawrence, St Martin, Trinity, St Ouen, St Peter and St Clement, which could all receive the new designation when the Conservation Area Scheme is introduced next year.

The scheme follows a successful amendment to the Bridging Island Plan, which was brought by Deputy Kirsten Morel, who called for conservation areas to be set up to help protect the Island’s character and heritage. The plan was approved in March.

The scheme is designed to ensure that historic or architecturally important areas are given special protection and any development within them adheres to stricter rules.

Area-based heritage protection already exists in other jurisdictions, including England, the Isle of Man, and Guernsey.

Changes were made to the Planning and Building Law under the last government, giving the Environment Minister the legal power to designate conservation areas.

A consultation exercise carried out in March and April found that 88% of respondents supported the idea of conservation areas in Jersey.

A post-consultation report summarising feedback from Islanders about the draft framework found:

l84% supported the process for the designation of conservation areas.

lMost respondents (60%) thought St Helier should not be prioritised for conservation area designations.

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