Letters to the Editor: Issue 85August 31, 2011 No Comments
Decision on Land Use Plan ‘very disappointing’
Dear Sir, — Alderney Law requires that the Building and Development Committee shall prepare a Land Use Plan indicating the manner in which the committee proposes that the land shall be used, and that this plan shall be reviewed and revised as necessary at least every five years. The process for consultation with the public and for a public enquiry is clearly laid down in the Building and Development Control (Alderney) Law. Following the Land Use Plan Enquiry, which is carried out by an inspector appointed by the President, it is the responsibility of the Building and Development Committee to lay the Plan and the report of the inspector before the States together with any recommendation which the committee may think desirable. This is incorporated into the Billet which is also presented to the People’s Meeting. The States may then approve the plan without modification or subject to such modifications as the States may consider necessary.
This is the law. The Building and Development Committee spent some five months discussing and debating the alterations to the Land Use Plan, adopted by the States in July 2006, which they considered necessary or desirable, and were unanimous in agreeing the proposed changes. These changes were aimed at removing some anomalies and at providing a sound basis for ensuring that future developments would retain the character and charm of Alderney whilst at the same time providing opportunities for growth. The views of the public were sought, and the proposed revisions were advertised and submitted to the public enquiry. The procedures as specified in the law were rigidly followed.
In addition to the committee’s proposals, and in accordance with the provisions of the law, a number of representations were made to the inspector by members of the public for other revisions which were neither proposed by nor supported by the committee.
Following the enquiry, led by a very well respected and professional inspector, the committee prepared modifications to the Land Use Plan, taking into consideration the inspector’s recommendations and the appropriate proposals were laid out in the Billet. There was much dissention at the People’s Meeting, the primary concern apparently being the perceived erosion of the Green Belt or Designated Zone. In fact, only one change actually resulted in a reduction of the area of the Designated Zone, which would have provided opportunity for business development at a time when new businesses are desperately required. Other areas had only a change of use within the zone. Interestingly, the one recommendation of the inspector regarding a proposal by a member of the public, which for various reasons the committee were not prepared to support, would have resulted in the removal of a part of the very Designated Zone which members of the public were at pains to preserve.
As a result of the matters raised at the People’s Meeting an attempt was made to amend the Billet resolution to allow discussion of the individual changes, but for largely technical reasons this was disallowed. However, there is provision within the law to allow revision of the Plan at any time and, had it been accepted at the States meeting, any amendments proposed by members could have been discussed subsequently. Nevertheless, the majority of the members were not prepared to accept the proposed Plan as a whole without prior detailed discussion. There was also the suggestion that the process followed by the committee was flawed, despite the fact that the process dictated by the law was followed to the letter. Consequently, the States decided by majority that the item should be deferred and brought back to the next States meeting in September in a different form.
This decision is very disappointing. As well as nullifying many hours of discussion in committee and work by the civil servants, it raises an interesting question which is as yet unanswered. The law requires that the reviewed and revised Plan must be brought to the States before the expiration of five years. The deferment to September exceeds this period. The question, therefore, is whether or not it is legitimate to return it to the States at that time? Meantime, the Land Use Plan has not been amended and the anomalies and lack of protection in some areas remain.
Dear Sir — The sensitive development of Alderney is the responsibility of all its residents.The Land Use Plan gives the opportunity for everyone to put their suggestions, views and opinions, at least every 5 years, to be assessed by an independent Inspector at a Public Inquiry.This Inquiry took place in May and the recommendations made by the outside arbiter can be read in his report in theBillet.
During yesterday’s States Meeting, (20 July) at which the revised LUP was presented by the Building & Development Control Committee, there were complaints by some Members that they had not had the opportunity to study the matter, that there were some contentious items and that they wished to vote separately on each proposed change.The debate was postponed until.
The B& D C C has been exemplary in its procedure and diligent in its deliberations since the request for public contributions was invited in September 2010.This ensured that everyone was aware of the LUP Review. As a result, 15 changes to the LUP were published in March 2011 and representations were invited to be sent to the Inspector.Four more requests for change, which arrived late, were advertised and included in the Inquiry.It was revealed yesterday that only 20 members of the public attended the first day of the Inquiry and 16 on the second, yet this was everybody’s opportunity to put their case for independent consideration.
Since the publication of the Billet more interest has been circulating throughout the island. More than 30 people came to the Peoples’ Meeting to make comments and criticisms.
However, the opportunity for a balanced assessment of the peoples’ views is now over. There remain the pressure groups which will try to influence the vote.
It is very disappointing that the LUP procedure, adopted to enable contributions from all who live here, has been generally disregarded, not only by the population but by States Members and the media, whereas now, when the chance is over, some of the proposals are receiving feverish attention.
Decisions have been delayed until September and it is hoped that the States Members who failed to participate in the Review and so find themselves ill informed, will carefully study the measured conclusions of the Inspector, rather than be influenced by opinions which have not been processed.
7 Queen Elizabeth II Street.
Second sea link to Cherbourg
Dear Sir — Reference to a second sea link to Cherbourg; I would like to point out that for well over 10 years we have had a very good, locally based service. Not only has the Lady Marais provided a regular service to Cherbourg, Guernsey and Sark, but, Darren and his crew have always been ready to turn out at short notice, sometimes after dark, to ferry Aurigny passengers between the islands when they have been stranded by fog. One can’t help but wonder why the States tourist board and the local Press which have never promoted this local enterprise seem so keen to support a French based company.
Have we not learnt from the States’ mistake in allowing Blue Islands to fly to Jersey? I am sure everyone is well aware that the lack of passenger numbers resulted in Aurigny pulling out of that route and when Blue Islands ceased flying for the same reason we were left with no direct link to Jersey at all. Don’t let’s make the same mistake again. The Vedettees du Contenin operators have already admitted they got their figures wrong and have pulled out of the original route and now want to muscle in on the Cherbourg route. This route to France will not support two carriers. Based on the French company’s track record so far. I wonder how long they will continue to operate, I therefore urge all passengers to support the Lady Marais or we could end up with no service at all.
La Breque Phillippe
Thank you to the Folk on Alderney
Dear Norman — I would like to say a personal thank you to all the people who helped provide a wonderful weekend of live music during The Dunwell Brothers first visit to the Island.
Firstly to Holly & Paul at the Georgian House and the Moorings respectively for their trust in me and all the staff who worked to make the whole weekend run smoothly.
Thanks to Helen Ackrill at the Fort Group for sponsoring the second event so far “begging bowl out soon Helen”
Thanks to Mel at the Alderney press for the help with the posters and Norman for the generous amount of space.
A huge thanks to all the Alderney folk who turned out to both shows and were so generous during hard times.
Joseph and David were so enamoured with the Island, its beauty and the friendly welcome showed by all that they are already making plans to holiday here in the very near future with their respective partners, I will insist they bring their instruments.
European Cycle Challenge
Dear Norman — I would like to record our grateful thanks to all those who have kindly supported Tom Keenan and Eamonn Murphy in their intrepid 2,350 mile plus round trip of Europe.
Donations to date have reached a grand total of £3,020.40.
We would particularly like to thank the following corporate sponsors of the event Alderney Shipping, Alderney Printers, Aurigny Air Services, BDO, Channel Seaways, Gas Energy, Gardet / Rose & Crown, Lloyds TSB, NP Holdings / Blanchard, Schrader Electronics, and ’Lady Marais’ for collecting the boys from Cherbourg. They were particularly drawn to sponsoring the event by the fact that the two participants independently raised money to cover their own equipment and fund their trip costs.
Full details of their endeavours may be seen by “Googling” Alderney Cancer Relief on the internet and entering “European Cycle Challenge”. This will take you into their Facebook page that includes photographs and comments from well-wishers encountered along the way.
Tom, son of Sue Price and ex pupil of St Anne’s School, and Eamonn have both recently graduated from Ulster University where they studied Electronic Engineering but there was nothing electronic about their grit and determination in accomplishing this fund raising exploit! Thank you guys for pedalling your way through the pain barriers encountered.
Tom and Eamonn were presented with a magnum of Gardet champagne and achievement certificates by Miss Alderney on Cavalcade Day and we must also thank the Alderney Week organisers for once again supporting our island charity.
Dear Editor, — I have just watched the Alderney Week carnival procession. It was a colourful, joyous affair, spoiled only by the appearance of the police in their new “Oswald Moseley” black outfits; oppressive, gloomy and threatening; not at all appropriate for an `En Fete’ holiday isle.
If this is the image that the new regime wishes to project, so be it. But, please accept that the police are on their own!
Alle es Fees.