Guernsey's Island Development Plan ("Plan") was introduced in November 2016 by the States of Guernsey Development & Planning Authority ("Authority").
The Plan provides a legislative basis upon which planning decisions in Guernsey are made by the Authority. To assist the Authority with the successful utilisation of policies in the Plan in making their decisions, a number of 'tools' are contained in the Plan.
One such 'tool' available for the use is the Draft Development Framework ("Framework"), which is detailed at Annex 3 of the Plan and are quite topical at the moment.
What is a Framework?
Frameworks provide high-level guidance for the development of specific sites.
A Framework considers the location and features of a site and provides guidance to assist with the application of the Plan's policies on the ground and in the resulting development. The aim of a Framework is to provide a site's prospective developer with guidance of how the requirements of the Plan may be discharged when they are making the full planning application.
A Framework is not a formal planning application and does not provide any authority to carry out development on a site. However, the content of a Framework will be considered by the Authority when a full planning application is being considered in respect of the site as it constitutes supplemental planning guidance.
It is recognised that not every instance of development is sufficiently complex or of a scale to require the detailed assessment and scrutiny provided under a Framework, therefore there are only certain circumstances where the preparation of a Framework will be required.
When is a Framework required?
There are a particular set of developments set out in the Plan in respect of which a Framework will need to be prepared. These will be areas not covered by a Local Planning Brief and include:
- residential developments which are:
- in and around Main Centres and provide more than 10 homes (or provide over 1,000 sq. ft. of internal floor space); or
- in Local Centres and provide more than 5 homes (or provide over 1,000 sq. ft. of internal floor space),
- the Admiral Park Office Expansion Area (defined in the Plan);
- the Key Industrial Expansion Areas (defined in the Plan);
- the Regeneration Areas of:
- the Lower Pollet;
- South Esplanade;
- Mignot Plateau;
- Mansell Street/Le Bordage; or
- Leale's Yard
(all defined in the Plan);
- where the proposed development is deemed to be 'Strategic' by the Authority (the Authority have certain guidelines when making such decisions, generally, these will be developments that are considered to have island-wide social, economic or environmental impacts); and
- any other instances that the Authority may specify.
What does a Framework include?
As the content of a Framework will be completely site-specific, the content will always vary, however, the following will commonly be included, amongst others:
- why a Framework was required
- the relevant policies of the Plan applicable to the development
- Site Analysis
- the buildings, trees and features are on the site
- what use is presently made of the site
- the site's biodiversity
- access to/from the site
- what surrounds the site
- any loss of amenity, privacy or light to neighbours
- what is the context of the area surrounding the site
- flood risk
- protected buildings, monuments or trees on or near the site
- designation of the site under the Plan
- utilities serving the site
- public highways serving the site
- Development Guidelines
- whether the development can be solely residential/commercial or if there will need to be multiple uses
- general design principles of the development
- whether any existing buildings, features or trees must be retained
- requirements for open space in the development
- access routes to and within the development
- provision of parking in the development
- provision of 'modern' infrastructure within the development (such as electric vehicle charging points)
- landscaping and planting approaches
- street furniture, public art and any community facilities
- requirements for nature conservation and/or biodiversity
- Sustainable Design
- how access to public transport will be promoted
- how pedestrian safety will be protected
- the sustainable construction techniques used
- the provision for storage of refuse on the development
- the energy and water saving techniques utilised in the development
The requirements will be fulfilled by the inclusion of the above points in a Construction Environmental Management Plan and Waste Management Plan.
What is the effect of a Framework?
Developers of sites that are the subject of a Framework are recommended to carefully consider the content of the Framework in advance of preparing the formal application for planning permission.
The Authority will consider the matters outlined in the Framework when making a decision on planning permission for a site. By familiarising themselves with the findings of a Framework, developers are afforded a look into how the Authority will assess an application to develop the site.
Jason Green, head of property at Collas Crill, has a vast experience of assisting clients in respect of planning and development law in Guernsey. His experience ranges from minor alterations and additions to assisting clients with complex planning disputes in respect of multi-million pound developments. Recently, Jason successfully assisted Island Development Limited in contentious plans for the development on a greenfield at Les Blanches, St Martin. He also acted for neighbours at Stratheden Vinery at Rue du Douit, Vale in opposing a controversial change of use application.
For questions on any aspect of Guernsey planning law, please contact us.