Jersey chamber concern over planning costs

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The cost of planning applications in Jersey are becoming a barrier to construction, according to the island's Chamber of Commerce president.

David Warr said the fees which have to be paid by developers when they submit plans for approval are far higher than in Guernsey or the UK.

The Planning Department announced a 2.5% rise in the fees for commercial building applications.

Mr Warr said the level of charges needed to be reviewed.

He said: "The main concern that Chamber have is the inability to get the biggest projects shovel-ready and get them building.

Start Quote

This decision has been taken without any reference to the impact it could have on construction projects getting off the drawing board.”

End Quote Phil James Construction Council Vice-Chairman

"Given the state the economy is in at the moment we are mystified that £100m worth of investment is waiting to be put into St Helier and we are struggling to get through the planning phases."

Environment minister, Deputy Rob Duhamel said he was made to increase fees by the Treasury Department.

He said: "We didn't put up our fees because I wanted to. We put up our fees because the Treasury Department assessed that the way for us to make savings was for us to increase fees.

"If the treasury is in a position to offer our department more money so we don't need to put our fees to fund our department then I would be happy not to increase fees at all."

The Jersey Construction Council condemned the increase in planning fees.

Vice-Chairman Phil James said: "This decision has been taken without any reference to the impact it could have on construction projects getting off the drawing board."

"The 2.5% increase may seem small but when placed in the context of a multi-million pound project, the sum will have a significant influence on whether it happens."

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