Les Sablons planning refusal overturned and Minister's decision found to be 'unlawful'

Jersey's Royal Court has ruled Deputy Hilary Jeune's decision to refuse the application for the £120 million Les Sablons development was "unlawful". Credit: ITV Channel / Le Masurier

Jersey's Royal Court has ruled the Assistant Environment Minister's decision to block a new development of 238 homes and a 103-bedroom hotel in St Helier was "unlawful" and has overturned her decision.

Deputy Hilary Jeune refused the Les Sablons plans, saying the proposed development would be "overbearing and oppressive and of detriment to the amenity and character" of the area.

She had gone against the recommendations of an independent planning inspector, who had supported the development going ahead.

It prompted a rare intervention from the Chief Minister in planning matters. Deputy Kristina Moore criticised Deputy Jeune's decision, saying: "This is an important development for St Helier and the island, improving an area of our town and providing hundreds of much-needed homes".

Following the planning decision and an unsuccessful appeal, the property developer behind the plans - Le Masurier - made a last-ditch attempt to save the project by mounting a legal challenge.

The company argued that Deputy Jeune had "failed to give due consideration" to the planning inspector's recommendations, "failed to give intelligible and adequate reasons" for the refusal and had "apparent bias or predetermination" in her decision-making.

The government did not contest the first two accusations and agreed the application should be re-considered.

Plans for nearly 240 new homes and a hotel in St Helier could be back on the cards after the Royal Court quashed the government's decision.

On Tuesday 5 December, Advocate David Cadin - the Master of the Royal Court - ordered the planning decision be "quashed" and reconsidered.

The court also ordered Jersey's government to pay the developer's legal costs.

Deputy Jonathan Renouf, the Environment Minister, will now have to decide how to proceed with the development.

He previously recused himself from having any involvement in the planning decision as he is a member of the National Trust for Jersey's council, which objected to the development.

  • The Environment Minister said the government will go away and learn from the court's ruling

Deputy Renouf told ITV News: "The courts have decided - not on the basis of the planning decision, they don't comment on those - but they've said the process wasn't followed sufficiently well.

"They have identified a particular issue that we would need to correct before we make that decision again.

"You have to give very detailed information on the weight of your argument - why were you changing the weight of the argument compared to what the inspector had said? - they said the decision didn't show enough evidence of that process."

He said Jersey's government will reflect on that before making a new decision on the application, and that he stands by his Assistant Minister who "asked for" and "followed all the appropriate advice".

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