19 May 2023
Island Development Plan review
Guernsey's Island Development Plan ("IDP") contains the policies that must be taken into account by the Development and Planning Authority ("DPA") when making decisions on planning applications. It was adopted by the States in November 2016.
The IDP is valid for 10 years (unless extended) and the States are required by law to keep it under review. The DPA was about to embark on a review in 2020 but this was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the States approved an action to carry out a targeted review of the IDP between 2023 and 2025.
The review commenced on 25 January 2023, and it focuses on amending certain policies to meet government priorities. The review focuses on the parts of the IDP concerning housing land supply, housing delivery and employment land supply and will look at any required amendments to the text of the IDP and the proposals map (including boundaries). The review will also look at Areas of Biodiversity Importance and any required minor clarifications/amendments.
The review of housing land supply and housing delivery is likely to involve a review of site allocations, density of development, amenity standards/public amenity, mix and type of dwellings required, boundaries (Main and Local Centres) and the level of development taking place Outside of the Centres in relation to the spatial policy.
The public consultation and research and evidence gathering phase of the review is likely to include a ‘Call for Sites’ where the public can put forward for consideration any land which they consider would be available and suitable for development. This may be particularly relevant to land which is shown on the current proposals map as being just outside a Main Centre Outer boundary or Local Centre boundary.
The much-debated Affordable Housing Policy (GP11) will also be considered as part of the review, which will undoubtedly attract much attention since it is evident that the policy has not achieved its intended purpose.
An employment land supply report will be produced and will examine the policies and site allocations in relation to offices, industry and storage & distribution. It will look at existing premises for these sectors and will outline current and future business needs in terms of land and property. It will also identify an appropriate portfolio of sites potentially to meet demand.
Areas of Biodiversity Importance
The review of Areas of Biodiversity Importance (ABIs) will focus on updating the designations rather than reviewing the policy and the updates will be informed by surveys/assessments that have been carried out over the past few years.
The review offers an opportunity to make minor amendments and clarifications to the IDP, which have been identified since it was adopted (for example, correcting typos).
The DPA has issued the following timeline:
- Research and evidence gathering
- Drafting IDP amendments
- Draft plan published
- Initial representations by public
- Further representations by public
- Public Inquiry hearings (by an Independent Planning Inspector)
- Inspector's report received
- Draft Policy letter
- States debate (if material amendments are sought, this will re-open the Public Inquiry)
- Implementation and monitoring of the amended IDP.
Planning Law review
As is evident from the above, the Planning Laws require a lengthy and expensive procedure to be followed in order to make any amendment to the IDP. To speed up the process in the future and to allow the IDP to be more responsive to government priorities, alongside the IDP review, the DPA will also review the Planning Laws to identify options to streamline the process.
It is important to make representations on the IDP review at the appropriate time and to include all relevant information. If you require assistance, or further information, please contact Rachel Jones.
An original version of this article was first published by Guernsey Property and Construction magazine, April 2023, Issue 13.