Hansard 03/05/2019

STATES OF JERSEY

 

OFFICIAL REPORT

 

FRIDAY, 3rd MAY 2019

 

PUBLIC BUSINESS - resumption

1.Elected Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the States Assembly: selection and appointment (P.31/2019)

1.1Senator S.Y. Mézec:

2.Island Plan (revised) 2011: site to be rezoned for Category A housing – Field 632 and part of Field 559, La Route du Manoir, St. Peter (P.39/2019) - proposition to reduce lodging period

2.1Senator K.L. Moore:

2.2Island Plan (revised) 2011: site to be rezoned for Category A housing – Field 632 and part of Field 559, La Route du Manoir, St. Peter (P.39/2019) - proposition not to reduce lodging period

2.2.1Deputy R. Labey:

2.2.2Deputy M. Tadier of St. Brelade:

2.2.3Connétable R. Vibert of St. Peter:

2.2.4Deputy J.H. Young of St. Brelade:

Mr. M.H. Temple Q.C., H.M. Solicitor General:

2.2.5Deputy S.G. Luce of St. Martin:

2.2.6Deputy J.H. Young:

2.2.7Deputy J.A. Martin:

2.3Island Plan (revised) 2011: site to be rezoned for Category A housing – Field 632 and part of Field 559, La Route du Manoir, St. Peter (P.39/2019) - proposition to reduce lodging period - resumption

2.3.1Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

2.3.2Deputy J.H. Young:

2.3.3Deputy R. Labey:

2.3.4 Connétable C.H. Taylor of St. John:

2.3.5Connétable S.A. Le Sueur-Rennard of St. Saviour:

2.3.6The Connétable of St. Peter:

2.3.7Deputy J.H. Perchard of St. Saviour:

2.3.8Deputy K.G. Pamplin of St. Saviour:

2.3.9Senator K.L. Moore:

Deputy M. Tadier:

2.4Island Plan (revised) 2011: site to be rezoned for Category A housing – Field 632 and part of Field 559, La Route du Manoir, St. Peter (P.39/2019)

2.4.1Senator K.L. Moore:

2.5Island Plan (revised) 2011: site to be rezoned for Category A housing - Field 632 and part of Field 559, La Route du Manoir, St. Peter (P.39/2019) - amendment (P.39/2019 Amd.)

2.5.1The Deputy of St. Martin:

2.5.2Deputy J.H. Young:

2.5.3The Connétable of St. John:

2.5.4The Connétable of St. Peter:

2.5.5Connétable M.K. Jackson of St. Brelade:

2.5.6Senator K.L. Moore:

2.5.7Connétable J. Le Bailly of St. Mary:

2.5.8Deputy K.F. Morel:

2.5.9Deputy C.F. Labey of Grouville:

2.5.10The Deputy of St. Martin:

2.6Island Plan (revised) 2011: site to be rezoned for Category A housing – Field 632 and part of Field 559, La Route du Manoir, St. Peter (P.39/2019) - resumption

2.6.1The Connétable of St. Peter:

2.6.2Deputy J.A. Martin:

2.6.3Deputy I. Gardiner of St. Helier:

2.6.4Deputy M. Tadier:

2.6.5The Connétable of St. John:

2.6.6The Deputy of St. Martin:

2.6.7Deputy L.B.E. Ash of St. Clement:

2.6.8Deputy M.R. Higgins of St. Helier:

2.6.9The Deputy of St. Peter:

2.6.10Deputy K.F. Morel:

2.6.11Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

2.6.12The Solicitor General:

2.6.13Connétable A.S. Crowcroft of St. Helier:

2.6.14Deputy J.H. Young:

2.6.15Senator S.W. Pallett:

2.6.16The Deputy of Grouville:

2.6.17Deputy R.J. Ward of St. Helier:

LUNCHEON ADJOURNMENT PROPOSED

LUNCHEON ADJOURNMENT

2.6.18Deputy J.H. Perchard:

The Solicitor General:

2.6.19Senator S.Y. Mézec:

Senator T.A. Vallois:

2.6.20The Connétable of St. Mary:

2.6.21Connétable R.A. Buchanan of St. Ouen:

2.6.22The Connétable of St. Brelade:

2.6.23Senator K.L. Moore:

3.Proposed Government Plan 2020-23: increase in revenue expenditure on the arts, heritage and culture (P.40/2019)

3.1Deputy M. Tadier:

3.1.1Deputy J.H. Young:

3.1.2Deputy R. Labey:

3.1.3The Connétable of St. Martin:

3.1.4The Deputy of Grouville:

3.1.5Deputy S.J. Pinel of St. Clement:

3.1.6The Connétable of St. Ouen:

3.1.7The Connétable of St. John:

3.1.8Deputy L.B.E. Ash:

3.1.9The Connétable of St. Saviour:

3.1.10The Connétable of St. Mary:

3.1.11Deputy I. Gardiner:

3.1.12Deputy S.M. Wickenden:

3.1.13The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

3.1.14Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

3.1.15The Connétable of St. Helier:

3.1.16The Deputy of St. Martin:

3.1.17Deputy K.F. Morel:

3.1.18Connétable P.B. Le Sueur of Trinity:

3.1.19Deputy M.R. Higgins:

3.1.20Deputy J.A. Martin:

3.1.21Deputy G.C. Guida of St. Lawrence:

3.1.22Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

3.1.23Deputy R.J. Ward:

3.1.24Senator S.W. Pallett:

3.1.25The Connétable of St. Brelade:

3.1.26Deputy M. Tadier:

STATEMENTS ON A MATTER OF OFFICIAL RESPONSIBILITY

4.Statement by the Chief Minister regarding next steps in the development of the new hospital

4.1Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré (The Chief Minister):

4.1.1Senator K.L. Moore:

4.1.2Deputy G.P. Southern of St. Helier:

4.1.3The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

4.1.4Deputy J.H. Perchard:

4.1.5Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

4.1.6Deputy K.F. Morel:

4.1.7Senator K.L. Moore:

4.1.8he Deputy of St. Martin:

4.1.9Senator S.W. Pallett:

4.1.10Senator S.C. Ferguson:

4.1.11The Connétable of St. Brelade:

ARRANGEMENT OF PUBLIC BUSINESS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS

5.Deputy R. Labey (Chairman, Privileges and Procedures Committee):

5.1Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

5.2Deputy J.A. Martin:

5.3The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

5.3.1Deputy R. Labey:

ADJOURNMENT


[9:30]

The Roll was called and the Assistant Greffier of the States led the Assembly in Prayer.

PUBLIC BUSINESS - resumption

1.Elected Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the States Assembly: selection and appointment (P.31/2019)

The Bailiff:

We turn to the item of business we were discussing yesterday.  Senator Mézec.

1.1Senator S.Y. Mézec:

I emailed Members yesterday evening, to let them know that I would seek to withdraw my proposition, as it has been amended on the basis that it would then deprive the Assembly of the opportunity to debate the proposition that has been lodged by the Chief Minister, which I think is probably a much more sensible way forward.  So, I would ask to be able to withdraw by proposition.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Are Members content for the Senator to withdraw his proposition?

Deputy J.A. Martin of St. Helier:

Can we have the appel, please?

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Very well, the appel has been called for.  If Members are in their seats, those who are in favour of allowing Senator Mézec to withdraw his proposition, if they could cast their votes now.  I ask the Greffier to open the voting.

POUR: 35

 

CONTRE: 5

 

ABSTAIN: 0

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré

 

Connétable of St. Lawrence

 

 

Senator T.A. Vallois

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

 

Senator K.L. Moore

 

Connétable of St. John

 

 

Senator S.W. Pallett

 

Connétable of St. Martin

 

 

Senator S.Y. Mézec

 

Deputy K.F. Morel (L)

 

 

Connétable of St. Saviour

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.A. Martin (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.P. Southern (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of Grouville

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.C. Lewis (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy M. Tadier (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy M.R. Higgins (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.J. Pinel (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Martin

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

Deputy R. Labey (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.M. Wickenden (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.J. Truscott (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Young (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.B. Ash (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.C.U. Guida (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Deputy of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. John

 

 

 

 

Deputy M.R. Le Hegarat (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.M. Ahier (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Perchard (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy R.J. Ward (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy C.S. Alves (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.G. Pamplin (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy I. Gardiner (H)

 

 

 

 

 

2.Island Plan (revised) 2011: site to be rezoned for Category A housing – Field 632 and part of Field 559, La Route du Manoir, St. Peter (P.39/2019) - proposition to reduce lodging period

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Very well, then we move to the next items of business, which is the Island Plan: (revised) 2011: site to be rezoned for Category A housing - Field 632 and part of Field 559, La Route du Manoir, St. Peter, a proposition of Senator Moore.  Before we start the proposition, it cannot be considered at this meeting, unless the Assembly agrees to reduce the lodging period, in accordance with Standing Order 26(7).  Are Members in agreement that should be the case?

Deputy R. Labey of St. Helier:

I do not know, Ma’am, if this goes ahead, I am going to have to withdraw and suggest that the rest of the members of the Planning Committee, apart from Deputy Huelin, who is conflicted anyway and, as the Deputy of St. Peter, would not consider the proposition.  There is an awful lot of people away, it is a very important proposition, I am not sure that this is not best deferred until the next sitting.

2.1Senator K.L. Moore:

We have passed the minimum lodging period now and I did, in fact, lodge mine, I am afraid to say, in the right time, but I sent it to the Greffe in the wrong format.  I sent it in a PDF and, unfortunately, for some administrative reason, it was not accepted at the time and I was out of the Island, which made it difficult to reformat it, particularly with my poor technological skills.  I do apologise to the Assembly for that and I am grateful that so many of you are here today, on Friday.  If we had, as what is normally the case, started out sitting on Monday, with questions, we could have got to this stage by yesterday.  I really would be very grateful if Members could debate this proposition today.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Deputy Labey, are you making a proposition that we should not take this matter, do you not think we should talk on that proposition?

 

2.2Island Plan (revised) 2011: site to be rezoned for Category A housing – Field 632 and part of Field 559, La Route du Manoir, St. Peter (P.39/2019) - proposition not to reduce lodging period

2.2.1Deputy R. Labey:

About 6 or 7 Members are going to have to withdraw and there are an awful lot of Members not present today.  It has massive implications, this.  I do not want to speak for, or against, the proposition, because I am in the situation on the Planning Committee where there are a set of circumstances which would mean, if the proposition is successful, that it could be determined by the Planning Committee.  So, it is absolutely right, I think, that we should play safe on that and withdraw, so that there is no question that we have taken part and already predetermined the benefits, or otherwise, of the scheme.  It is going to be a small Assembly deciding this important point, so on this occasion I would not relax the rules and suggest that we take it at the next sitting in May.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Deputy, providing the Assembly is quorate, then that is not going to be an issue, providing we have sufficient Members.  I make it we have 39 Members in the Chamber at the moment and perhaps Members could indicate if they are on the Planning Committee, so we have an idea of the numbers.  So, there are 6 Members and you are suggesting that you feel that the Deputy of St. Peter would be conflicted on this matter.

Deputy R. Labey:

The Deputy of St. Peter is conflicted, as a member of the Planning Committee, to determine any application that is in the Parish of St. Peter.  So, he would naturally step out of the Planning Committee, which means that he can participate in this debate.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

It would leave us with 34 Members of the Assembly, which is more than sufficient, it is more than the quorum, so it is a matter for Members, obviously.  Does any other Member wish to speak on Deputy Labeys proposition?

2.2.2Deputy M. Tadier of St. Brelade:

Yes, there are 2 issues here.  First of all, whether or not the panel needs to excuse themselves and presumably the Minister would need to make the same consideration as a separate one and it should not impinge on this decision as to whether we take this today.  I would go further to say it is completely improper if the Chairman of P.P.C. (Privileges and Procedures Committee) is standing up with his other hat, as Chairman of the Planning Applications Panel, to try and influence the fact we do not take this debate today.  While trying to remain neutral as the Chairman he should … that is a conflict within its own self.  The other issue is we only have 2 items of business on the agenda and if we do not take Senator Moores today, which has been lodged one day earlier than mine and both of our projets have been lodged the requisite amount of time and we are here today, so I do not see what we are quibbling about.  In the past, we have reduced lodging periods less than the 4-week period on many occasions, sometimes it has been a matter of days when they have been lodged and we have debated them.  We should not be able to pick and choose, based on what we think.  The argument, just summing up, about the Planning Committee removing themselves, that is something that will happen in any debate that they need to remove themselves in and there will always be people out of the Island on States business.  If the Chairman thinks that there were too many people on the Planning Applications Panel, then maybe he should consider reducing that, but that is a completely separate issue.

2.2.3Connétable R. Vibert of St. Peter:

I wonder if we can have some advice on whether the Planning Committee do need to excuse themselves, because my understanding is that this is a rezoning matter and I have already heard comments that there is absolutely no reason why they should withdraw themselves.  It is not a planning matter; it is a rezoning matter.

[9:45]

2.2.4Deputy J.H. Young of St. Brelade:

Since the subject has been raised about conflict and the Attorney General, I would like to record the fact that the advice I have received is that this is, in fact, like a mini Island Plan debate, which considers land for rezoning.  Since there is no application on the table, there is not a conflict of interest.  However, I accept what Deputy Labey says: it is uncomfortable, it is an uncomfortable thing and, therefore, I think it is a decision for individual Members to make as to whether, or not, they feel conflicted and withdraw, as it is always in these matters.  But, for my part, I shall be staying, because I think Members would expect that in a mini Island Plan zoning debate at least the Minister is there to advise on process and so on.  That is my position.  If the Attorney General does not consider that advice I have had from the officers is right, then, obviously, we will act on it.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Solicitor General, are you in position to advise?

Mr. M.H. Temple Q.C., H.M. Solicitor General:

I was trying to hurriedly get to the Planning Law.  I have not yet got to it on this machine, but thinking, perhaps without the benefit of looking at that legislation, as I understand it there is no formal planning application that is in issue in relation to this land.  It is simply a rezoning consideration debate.  I would say that, given that, technically, there is not a requirement for members of the Planning Committee to withdraw from this debate and not participate in it.  That is my advice, but it is entirely a matter for members of the Planning Committee if they have some personal discomfort in participating and voting in this debate.  That is a matter for them.  But, as a matter of law, there is not a planning application which Members are being required to consider, so it is not a requirement that they should withdraw from this debate.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Thank you and, certainly, Deputy Young is correct, that in the past those of us who have sat through previous Island Plan debates will recall that it is the whole Assembly who deals with that, whether or not it is your particular Parish that is being discussed.  Thank you for your advice, I would feel more comfortable that it is not a problem for the Planning Committee to remain.  It is obviously a matter for members, themselves, if they feel that they are conflicted in any way.  Deputy of St. Martin, I saw your light on.

2.2.5Deputy S.G. Luce of St. Martin:

I am a little bit concerned.  Being a member of the Planning Committee is a very serious issue, is a very important role and it takes an awful lot of training.  My concern here is that we elect a number of people to go away and become experts in planning matters and then, when we get to a position where we have a proposition about a planning matter, we then exclude all those knowledgeable people from the debate, people who could make a really valuable contribution.  In the same vein, I would be very unhappy if the Minister withdrew for the same reasons, but maybe one way through this, to ease the Planning Committees concerns, would be for the Minister to say, at this point, that if an application on the site came forward, he would put it to a planning inspector, as we have done previously and make the decision himself, which would immediately mean that the Committee would not be involved.  I take the point about the rezoning, I think it is really important.  There is nothing in my amendment, for example, which changes anything in the proposition other than the site; it moves the site a few yards.  How could that be an issue where the Planning Committee Members would not want to be involved?

2.2.6Deputy J.H. Young:

I think I should respond to that.  The first part I, personally, agree with, because I do think it is important that we have informed debates and Members with knowledge and experience; it is very disappointing if we do not have that.  But, there is absolutely no question that if we had an application at the moment, I would have to withdraw and I believe others would have to as well, but we do not have an application.  I think, in terms of the hypothetical situation the Deputy invited me to comment on, if we were to get an application today before the States rezoned a site then it would have to be referred, under the law, to a public inquiry under section 12 of the Planning Law.  That would have to be as a matter of fact and I would intend to act in accordance with the law.  We are in a hypothetical here; any zoning would not take place, even if the States approved it, the zoning would then have to come back, as I see it, on a separate formal proposition, as part of an update of the Island Plan.  I am afraid it does get procedurally quite complicated, but if the application came in now, there would have to be a section 12 inquiry.  If the application came in after the rezoning had taken place, then it would normally go to the Planning Committee. Unless the application was so wildly contradictory and represented major problems for the wider Island community, it would then go to the Planning Committee.  I think we are in hypotheticals.  My comment reinforces the advice that I have had that without an application today there is no conflict and I am grateful for the confirmation.  I plan to stay.  Albeit it is uncomfortable, but nothing overrides … it is important that Members make their own decision.  That is the whole principle.  If Members feel uncomfortable they have to decide, but it is a personal decision.  Mine is I am going to stay.

2.2.7Deputy J.A. Martin:

Just quickly, I want to bring the Assembly back to the proposition by Deputy Labey, which was to move it and I am sorry, but this to me would be impinging on the rights of, in this case, a Senator acting as a backbencher and she had basically lodged.  I understand what Deputy Labey is saying, but we are in these positions and from memory the Senator said she cannot be on Island on 21st May; that takes us to 4th June.

Deputy R. Labey:

I am happy to concede there are enough numbers and withdraw that proposition.

Deputy J.A. Martin:

I think we should let the Senator go ahead and the Planning Committee, it is all down to them, and I fully understand either way which they want to do.

 

2.3Island Plan (revised) 2011: site to be rezoned for Category A housing – Field 632 and part of Field 559, La Route du Manoir, St. Peter (P.39/2019) - proposition to reduce lodging period - resumption

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Very well, if Deputy Labey has withdrawn this position then we return to the main proposition, which was that this matter be taken at todays meeting.  Does any other Member wish to speak?

2.3.1Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Could I have one point of clarification - and this may be a recollection, so I could stand to be corrected absolutely, but on the basis this is effectively an Island Plan amendment - from recollection there is a different set of standards in terms of the timescale in lodging, similar, I think, to budgets and things where it is from the Tuesday is the date, not the day of the debate, is that correct?

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

There is a longer time period for lodging of Island Plan propositions, as in the main Island Plan proposition but I do not think, in this instance, that that would apply.

Senator K.L. Moore:

I certainly was not advised of that.

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Could we just seek some clarification?  It is my recollection and I might be completely wrong, that when the main debate that you referred to, which some of us still remember …

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

The Island Plan should be 12 weeks for lodging.

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

But there were major debates and the point that was made very clear to us that if you were a day late tant pis essentially, so it then had to go to the next sitting.  I just want to clarify that in my mind.  I might be wrong.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

I am not entirely sure that is correct, but there is a longer timescale for lodging for the Island Plan as a main proposition, I am not sure that this applies to this particular proposition.

2.3.2Deputy J.H. Young:

Could I just respond before the Attorney General and I apologise for interrupting?  The point I would like to emphasise is I do not consider today, with the proposition we have, this is an Island Plan debate, because the law also has a number of provisions, it sets out that only - whether Members agree with it or not, but it is the law - the Minister can lodge proposals for zoning, no other Member may do so.  Also, it is subject to a very detailed process, including a public inquiry and so there is separate subordinate legislation setting out all those requirements, so this is definitely not a substantive Island Plan amendment debate.  I would want Members to understand this.  As the proposition is different, I think the proposition really requests me to put it into that process.  If I am wrong, perhaps I can be corrected.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Thank you, Deputy.  I think we see it as very much it is a request for rezoning, it is not a full Island Plan proposition and, therefore, the time constraints of that would not apply.  It is simply a proposition, taken in its own right, requesting for something to happen in the same way as any other proposition.  I think we are comfortable with the timescales that we are working to that the Senator has now got to the point where her proposition has been lodged, with sufficient time, but it is for this Assembly to determine whether it can be taken today.

2.3.3Deputy R. Labey:

If I can continue then with the dilemma for the Planning Committee, notwithstanding the comments of Deputy Luce, who does highlight the ultimate irony here, in that the Planning Committee are not involved with something that is completely pertinent to their expertise.  We have announced that this is not an Island Plan rezoning debate, but it is an enabling debate for an application, which may not be live at present, but has been previously and the architects drawings for which are all over the Members coffee room.  It is an enabling proposition, to enable a previously turned down application, which is everywhere in the Members room.  I think there is conflict here; I am uneasy with it, I am not compelling my Committee to recuse themselves, I personally feel it is too close and I have to think of the applicant in this situation and whether the applicant, having heard me pour forth in this debate about the enabling of this application to go forward, would then be happy for me to sit determining it.  Whether the applicant would be happy is a major consideration, so I will be recusing myself, it is up to the other members of the Committee if they feel that they wish to, or not, with no pressure.  Zero pressure from me.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

I think it is, it is a matter for the members of the Planning Committee.  If you feel that you are conflicted do not take part in this debate, but I do not feel that there is any real necessity for you to do so.  It is entirely a matter for you. 

2.3.4 Connétable C.H. Taylor of St. John:

My feelings go to the families in St. Peter, they want to know one way or the other and I think that should be taken into consideration.  I think we should get on and debate it.

2.3.5Connétable S.A. Le Sueur-Rennard of St. Saviour:

I am a Constable from another Parish, so we have to be very careful here, but was there not a Parish Assembly that said they would be very happy for it to go into the Island Plan?  I think that is what the parishioners had decided.  I may be wrong, but I have a feeling that was what was going to happen.  Very difficult when you are a Parish Constable and you are to offload things, or be pushy for another Constable.  I am a little bit uncomfortable with this at the moment, because I believe the parishioners had a Parish Assembly and said they were quite happy for it to go into the Island Plan.  I may be wrong and maybe the Constable will tell me what is right.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

We are in danger of going into the main debate.  We are supposed to be debating whether, or not, to take this matter today. 

2.3.6The Connétable of St. Peter:

I will cover that in the debate itself, but, yes, there was a Parish Assembly, which rejected this proposition.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Does any other Member wish to speak on the proposition that this matter be taken today? 

2.3.7Deputy J.H. Perchard of St. Saviour:

Just really briefly.  I think we obviously should take this today.  There are enough of us here to have the debate, even if the Planning Committee recuse themselves.  We have all showed up today, it is a States week.  I know that Fridays are not typically overspill days, but, personally, if I have a States week coming up that looks busy, I tend to keep Fridays free, just in case.  I think the fact that we are all here and that we are quorate means that we should debate this and stop talking about debating it. 

2.3.8Deputy K.G. Pamplin of St. Saviour:

Just to echo what the previous speaker spoke.  I am sitting here a little bit frustrated, why did we not talk about this yesterday when I said: Let us see who is going to be here tomorrow and what we are going to discuss tomorrow.  Let us learn from this moment, let us have the debate.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Does any other Member wish to speak on the proposition?  If not, I call upon Senator Moore to reply.

2.3.9Senator K.L. Moore:

I thank those who have spoken.  Let us not dwell too much on this, we have spent quite enough time and I think Members are at a point where they are perfectly able to make a decision, one way or another.  I respect the point of the Chairman of the Planning Committee, but let us think what this debate really is about, it is about our use of land.  It could be applied to any green site in the Island if we were to look at any site that was facing a similar future.  So, the plans may be on display, those that were previously submitted, but those plans may be changed if they were to be resubmitted and the Planning Committee itself will determine the detail.  But this debate today is simply about our use of that green space and whether it is appropriate to make way for additional housing in the Island.  So, I do hope that Members will allow this debate to go ahead as we are all present and engaged already in the debate, thank you.

Deputy J.A. Martin:

Can we have the appel?

[10:00]

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Very well.  Members are invited to return to their seats and I ask the Greffier to open the voting on whether to take this matter today.

POUR: 31

 

CONTRE: 2

 

ABSTAIN: 5

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré

 

Deputy M.R. Higgins (H)

 

Connétable of St. Lawrence

Senator K.L. Moore

 

Deputy of St. John

 

Deputy R. Labey (H)

Senator S.W. Pallett

 

 

 

Deputy S.M. Wickenden (H)

Senator S.Y. Mézec

 

 

 

Deputy G.J. Truscott (B)

Connétable of St. Saviour

 

 

 

Deputy I. Gardiner (H)

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. John

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Martin

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.A. Martin (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of Grouville

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.C. Lewis (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy M. Tadier (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.J. Pinel (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Martin

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Young (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.B. Ash (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.F. Morel (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.C.U. Guida (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Deputy of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Deputy M.R. Le Hegarat (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.M. Ahier (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Perchard (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy R.J. Ward (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy C.S. Alves (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.G. Pamplin (S)

 

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.A. Martin:

While we are on the subject of Public Business, I heard Deputy Tadier say there might be some doubt about whether … I know it is in time now, but it was not apparently on the initial list, so we all know where we are, after this debate can we debate P.40/2019 today?

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Yes, it may well be for good housekeeping that we deal with that matter, so we can then hit the ground running beyond that.  Yes, so the next item is in a similar vein, we need to get the agreement of the Assembly for it to be taken at this current meeting.  Deputy Tadier, do you want to say anything in particular?

Deputy M. Tadier:

I think I pressed the pour button. [Laughter] The argument has been made already and I hope the same arguments apply to my proposition.  I do not think I need to say anymore.

The Constable of St. John:

Like so many debates, they resolve themselves in the end.  Could I raise the défaut on Senator Ferguson?

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

If Members agree the défaut can be raised on Senator Ferguson.  If I could ask Members then to please show if they are in favour of Deputy Tadiers proposition.  I will take that as a yes, I think.  I was going to ask, before we started, for Members to give a degree of tolerance today, given that we are all sitting in different chairs, but I think it is a little late now, after that half hour. 

 

2.4Island Plan (revised) 2011: site to be rezoned for Category A housing – Field 632 and part of Field 559, La Route du Manoir, St. Peter (P.39/2019)

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

We will return then to the item of business which is before us, which is the proposition of Senator Moore and I ask the Greffier to read the proposition.

The Assistant Greffier of the States:

The States are asked to decide whether they are of opinion to refer to their Act, dated 17th July 2014, in which they approved the revised 2011 Island Plan and to agree that the Minister for the Environment be requested to bring forward, subject to the provisions of the Planning and Building (Jersey) Law 2002, a draft revision of the Island Plan, such that on page 247 of Chapter 6 (Housing) at Policy H5 Affordable housing in rural centres after the words Access to affordable homes provided on this site shall be controlled and managed through the St. Martins Housing Association, there should be inserted bullet-point 3 and the words Field 632 and part of Field 559, La Route du Manoir, St. Peter and access to the dwellings to be controlled through the Affordable Housing Gateway, with priority given to those who can demonstrate close links with the Parish of St. Peter..

Deputy S.M. Wickenden of St. Helier:

Because I am on the Planning Committee, I want to make it clear publicly that I will be withdrawing, I would not like to be thought to be predetermining and this is definitely something that is very emotive in the Parish.  I have had many emails on that basis, therefore, I am going to be withdrawing as a member of the panel.

Deputy G.J. Truscott of St. Brelade:

In the same vein, I am the deputy chair of the Planning Committee and I likewise will be withdrawing from this debate.

Connétable D.W. Mezbourian of St. Lawrence:

I will also be doing that, as has been customary during the 15 years I have sat in the Assembly, thank you.

The Connétable of St. Martin:

I am also on the Planning Committee, so if everybody else is I should do as well.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

With that in mind, can I just urge Members to keep an eye on our quorum throughout todays proceedings and to make sure we always have the requisite 25.

Deputy K.F. Morel of St. Lawrence:

I am on the Planning Committee, but I understand the difference between zoning and planning so I am staying.  [Approbation]

The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

It is all about the perception, Deputy.

2.4.1Senator K.L. Moore:

It is a matter of disappointment that members of the Planning Committee have taken that decision.  Perhaps it is something we need to look at from a P.P.C. perspective.  I was also going to apologise to Members for the length of my speech, but I can reassure that this speech will be shorter than the time that we have spent debating whether we can listen and enter into this debate.  So, let us go.  This proposition, as we have raised this morning already, focuses on a small site in one Parish; the debate, though, is about an Island-wide issue and it is important that Members consider the needs of the Island and its residents, both present and future.  Some might argue that we should put the debate off until the Island Plan and respect a vote of the Parish Assembly which decided to do that.  I do feel compelled to ask Members to put that vote aside today, because we need to address the bigger picture.  There is a housing crisis in the Island and we need to take action.  Secondly, because the Parish Assembly, sadly, voted on incorrect advice.  The Constable of St. Peter did the right thing, he consulted with Ministers, shared their advice with his parishioners.  He did that in good faith, but that advice to put this debate off, due to resourcing issues, was, in my view, questionable.  No doubt Members will hear from the Minister during the course of this debate.  I would just like to remind Members that earlier this week, when we agreed the principles of the Public Finance Law …

Deputy R.E. Huelin of St. Peter:

Sorry, can I suggest that … you were suggesting the advice was because of resourcing issues, can I just say I went to the Planning Department and that was the advice …

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Are you prepared to give way, Senator?

Senator K.L. Moore:

No.

The Deputy of St. Peter:

That was the advice that I was given.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Deputy, you need to sit down, because the Senator has not given way.

Senator K.L. Moore:

I hope the Deputy will address his views in his own speech, thank you.  So, earlier this week we agreed the Public Finances (Jersey) Law and alongside that law will sit the Public Finances manual.  In that manual it sets out, helpfully, the role of an accountable officer, which is described in these terms: While accountable officers are not responsible for making policy decisions, that responsibility lies with either the Council of Ministers, individual Ministers, or the States Assembly; they are accountable for the implementation of policy and due regard for the need for efficient and effective outcomes of States priorities.  The Island Plan is, of course, a big project and that does require considerable work from officers to bring forward the Ministers plan for debate and then to implement the decisions of that result.  It is important to note that the department has 4 experienced officers working on the project, already, with a budget of £350,000 to buy in additional support.  There is currently a bid, which is expected to be successful, for an additional £650,000 to ensure that any support that is required is available for the process.  The accountable officer appears to have met his responsibility in ensuring that this project is well resourced, to follow the directions of the Minister and this Assembly.  I have it on good authority that if the Assembly is minded to support this proposition today, the revision of the existing Island Plan will not put back the very well-resourced progress of the next Island Plan.  I will not begin to suggest why the Constable, who I hold in the highest regard, was steered on to this course of delay.  I will stick to the facts and in doing so it is important to refer to precedent.  Officers have experience of making revisions to the Island Plan.  In 2008, just 3 years before the current Island Plan was agreed, 8 sites were rezoned, because the Assembly of that day saw that there was a need to provide additional homes for both first-time buyers and the over 55s.  It took action to supply some additional homes.  This happened, again, in 2014 when 3 sites were rezoned for first-time buyer housing.  Sadly, those homes have not yet been delivered.  If the Minister is requested today, by the Assembly, to rezone the land for a build at Manoir, there should not be a lengthy delay, as the plans for the scheme are ready to go.  As the Minister for the Environment noted on Tuesday, until 2013 the availability of housing and development progress was monitored by the annual report on residential land availability.  This was clearly produced as a check and balance annually against the Island Plan and to inform decision makers as to whether the needs of Islanders were being met by the plan.  It is a 10-year document and that is an absolutely necessary thing to do, in my view.  When the previous Minister refused the application for these homes, one of the reasons that was cited was the proposal was premature ahead of the completion of work to establish a clear and detailed understanding of the Islands affordable housing needs.  That work has now been done and Members will have received the much awaited objective Housing Needs Assessment and the Housing Needs Survey, which both demonstrate significant need for affordable homes over and above what is currently being delivered.  It has been put to me, by an experienced officer, that if a planning inspector were to receive the information that was lacking when he considered the plans last year, it is most likely that the recommendation to the Minister would have been different.  It is a shame that there are not other schemes ready to be included in this proposition.  As every day passes and we fail to address the issues of supply and affordability, we fail the very people that we rely upon to treat the sick, to teach our children, to build and mend our homes and offices.  The Chief Minister has announced a policy development board which will conduct a wide-ranging review, costing about £120,000.  One has to question what additional information is needed.  Why can the Minister not ask the policy officers, in the Strategic Housing Unit, to draw up some recommendations for Ministers to consider?  There is a skill base and experience within our civil service that are more than capable of using the evidence that already exists.  The Ministers have had a year to get to grips with their roles, a crisis requires action and swift decision making, not endless requests for information within which Ministers can bury themselves and avoid making a decision.  This debate is a call to action.  It will, at times, be emotional because it strikes to the heart of the issues of our day and I hope that I will demonstrate to Members that they have to think very carefully about rejecting this proposition.  We have acknowledged we have a housing crisis; do we also accept that failure to tackle that crisis will lead to an economic crisis too?  How many Members pledged to tackle the cost of living in their manifestos and hustings speeches?  I certainly did and delivering affordable homes is an important part of that issue, as it makes a fundamental difference to the quality of life and the spending power of Islanders.  This is another reason why it is important that the debate is supported today, because this debate is about young working families in our Island.  Skilled people, people who keep others’ lives on track, we are here to make their lives better, are we not?  We can make a step towards doing that today, putting this off for another 2 years simply compounds the difficulties that those families are facing.  A child born today will be 2 by the time the Island Plan is agreed.  Then there will be planning applications and everything that goes with the process.  Remember those 3 sites that were rezoned in 2014 and are still not delivered.  What difference will it make to those children, who will live there?  It will give them better health and life outcomes as the alternative of staying in their current home is likely to be cramped, damp and inadequate.  A decent home is not just a nice to have, it is a must have.  The negative consequences of inadequate housing are particularly hard-hitting and long lasting on the health and education of children.  We often ask why we have such high levels of respiratory problems in the Island, such as asthma, is that because of housing?  Remember the 1,001 days, which was the critical days, those first 2 years of a childs development, where the bonding and attachment encourages the development of the neurons in a childs brain.  That bonding and attachment is much harder if that parent is under stress.  In the Future Jersey report in 2017, it describes some of the factors that are caused by insufficient and poor quality housing.  They described it as physical and mental well-being, financial security, work life balance, educational achievements and life satisfaction.  Last week, we were told that the cost of housing is continuing to rise and at a far greater rate than elsewhere.  One of the simplest economic concepts, that even I can grasp, is that of supply and demand.  This debate unlocks an opportunity to provide an additional 65 homes, when we were told by experts that we needed over 1,000 to fulfil supply.  There are only, at the moment, 40 affordable homes being built at Samarès and 40 that are due to be released shortly on the Girls College site.  In the 1970s, the popular States loan scheme enabled hundreds of families to build their homes on greenfield sites.  In 1973, Ville du Bocage in St. Peter was underway.  People drew lots to find out whether they had been successful and which home they would be allocated on the site.  The cost of one of those family homes was £8,500, around £180,000 in todays money.  So, how much did the average person earn in that year.  It was £975, the equivalent of £19,900 in todays money.

[10:15]

So, homeownership was still something to save carefully for, but the gap was not quite as wide as it is today, making that purchase a more achievable and affordable prospect, then.  The problem was that those families grew up on the estates, they were happy, they became happy homes, some made improvements and some decided to move on, but when they did that, those homes are sold at the market rate.  A typical house, on one of those estates, in need of refurbishment, will currently sell for at least £475,000 and then you have to do the work to it, as well.  As we all know, the average salary today is just over £30,000, so one of those average homes, if 2 people are earning an average salary, is almost 8 times the total of those 2 average salaries.  Well beyond any mortgage that they can find.  These families, I think, have had enough.  They have had enough of living in rental stress.  In 2015, 73 per cent of low-income households, living in private rental accommodation, were in rental stress.  Today that figure will be higher.  What does it mean?  Well, in terms of the fact the Jersey Policy Forum also warned us, in the briefing pack they kindly provided for the rental price caps debate, nearly two-thirds of households had an income, after housing costs, which was below the average.  Two-thirds.  The impact is that many ask themselves why they continue to live in an Island that, although it is home, does not give them the simple opportunity that a young family would hope for, a decent and affordable home, a garden, an independent and affordable life.  Some say that such an ambition is not a given right.  Fair enough.  Of course, we should all strive and not expect everything for nothing.  However, we do have to ask ourselves and I look around the Assembly and the majority of us are owner occupiers.  Many of us, myself included, are landlords.  There is a moral difficulty here that, on the one hand we pledged to put children first and on the other we perpetuate a system where the normal aspirations of British society are simply unattainable for the majority of people.  Worse, we perpetuate known health and well-being consequences that I outlined earlier.  Let us not forget the findings of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, which identified housing as one of the factors of Island life that has a negative impact on children.  It is stated in the Executive Summary: Significantly, there has been little evidence in Jersey of political initiatives to tackle the causes of social problems known to render children vulnerable to care admission, including child poverty, addiction, inadequate housing, mental health problems and social isolation.  The U.N. (United Nations) Convention on the Rights of the Child, which we say we want to meet, states in Article 27: You have the right to food, clothing, a safe place to live and to have your basic needs met.  You should not be disadvantaged, so that you cannot do the things other kids can do.  The Public Health and Safety (Rented Dwellings) Act was enacted at the end of last year, following the work of the previous Minister for Housing.  It is probably too early to know how many tenants will be able to make use of this law in order to take action against landlords, who do not maintain their property to a healthy, or respectable, standard.  There may be an unintended consequence of that, in that some properties will be taken out of the market altogether, or at least for a period of time, as they will be uninhabitable and too small to meet the new requirements.  I know that some Members have reservations, also, about the stipulation that applicants should have a strong connection to the Parish.  I do totally understand and respect that; however, I would like to state that St. Peter is already a diverse community. The Honorary Police Force, for example, would cease to function if it were not for the volunteers who come forward from both the Portuguese and Polish communities, in particular, so that these people will be able demonstrate close links to the Parish.  I set out some of the other stipulations in an email to Members earlier.  The spirit of the H5 policy in the Island Plan is about building communities; it is about keeping Jersey special and that means finding a way for families to live close by each other, so that they can support each other easily through the different stages of life.  We must also sit, of course, within the existing Discrimination Law.  The Deputy of St. Peter will now, no doubt, speak in this debate.  He will argue that I am unnecessarily raising hopes of young families, who are on the waiting list and will warn Members against supporting this proposition, because it is better to wait for the Island Plan process to come along.  He has also been heard to argue that parishioners, who contributed to the consultation process, got it wrong, as did the Statistics Units housing experts, who have assessed need.  Rather than 3-bed homes for families that the Parish needs, he put it that they need, instead, more one and 2-bedroom flats.  Well, let me just remind the Deputy and Members that 18 one and 2-bedroom flats, plus 18 2-bedroom homes have got permission already and Dandara will soon start building at the top of Mont Fallu on the Broadlands site, a former farm, that is now considered brownfield.  The planning application was passed by officers after the standard time period and there was not a single objection.  The same company is also due to build 72 one and 2-bedroom flats at Beaumont, on the former Jersey Post site.  Of course, those properties will be sold at the open market value.  St. Peter is doing its bit in terms of building on brownfield sites and, of course, there are many other developments around the Island going on now, not to mention Horizon, Girls College and others that are underway in St. Helier and St. Clement, in particular.  The previous Minister for Housing supported these developments.  The objective Housing Needs Assessment has told us that we need to build a minimum of 1,100 homes for the affordable housing band buy.  The Minister for Planning told us, in question time this week, that we are due to deliver 1,000 homes by 2025, but many of the sites that he mentioned and referred to are either being built for social housing, or for the open market, not for the affordable homes.  This proposition is a plea to push on with a small development by hearing what we are being told by the experts and by our constituents, to offer solutions in good time.  Is that not why we are here?  We must, of course, talk about the natural environment.  Rezoning land is a big deal.  It should be, we value our natural environment and quite rightly want to protect it.  Ten vergées of agricultural land is a miniscule percentage, 0.0003 per cent of the total area farmed in the Island.  Losing 10 vergées will not impact on the farming operation across the road, it will, however, still have ample grazing space for its cows and producing milk for Islanders.  They farm almost 500 vergées.  However, the impact will be on the future of the farming operation in its entirety.  They recently invested in a robotic milking system, to improve productivity and expanded, taking on an old farm and returning it to agricultural use.  This site could have been redeveloped, the adjoining golf course could, for example, have expanded on to it.  There are not many farmers looking to increase their operations in the Island.  In fact, by the end of this year, there will be just 13 dairy herds remaining.  In 1982 there were 245 dairy herds.  This traditional economy, the Jersey cow that we are so proud of, itself is under threat.  This farm has been visited by a number of famous faces and featured on French, German, Scandinavian and Japanese television programmes promoting the culinary excellence that can be found in the Island.  Just last week the farm was featured on the Great British Menu, it has also been on Countryfile, The Hairy Bikers, Shaun Rankins ITV programme as well as Little British Isles and a hugely popular French programme, Lamour est dans le pré, which is, I am told, a version of The Farmer wants a Wife.  I am reminded that my own nana’s farm namesake, Christina the Cow, regularly reappears on It Will Be Alright On The Night.  If you have not seen it, I urge Members not to spend time looking for that one.  This is make or break time.  The uncertainty surrounding this development has caused, already, a young farmer to change his mind and step back from a future in the industry.  Plans are in place to scale back the farming operation.  Twenty of their cows were shipped to the U.K. (United Kingdom) this week.  The sale of 10 vergées of land would assist, in order to continue the operation.  If the land sale does not go ahead, planning permission will be sought for the farm building.  At least Deputy Morel will be happy, as those buildings will be a brownfield site.  I share this information not to threaten Members, but to simply explain the fact of the matter.  I do need to deal with another delicate matter also.  There have been rumblings, I know, about the farmers wife and her relationship to the scheme, because she is the senior Procureur at the Parish.  I can assure Members that the Parish, itself, has not been involved with the purchase of the site.  Andium Homes was appointed by the Parish at an early stage to deliver the scheme.  Not a penny of ratepayers money has been spent on the scheme, so there is no conflict of interest.  The Parish consultation was conducted by a Constables working group; they shortlisted 8 sites and assessed them against a variety of location factors, such as their location, access to services, bus stops, avoiding sprawl or ribbon development, airport noise.  I shared the list and the colour chart with Members earlier this week.  The next best site was deemed less favourable, as it was further away from main services, which would push up the building costs.  It was further away from shops and amenities and also contributing to sprawl, or ribbon, development.  Throughout the process, there was regular communication with parishioners, workshops and a facilitated consultation event, as well as the 3 Parish Assembly votes.  All of which were clearly supportive of the site and of the principle of building affordable homes.  The Parish also worked with Planning and Infrastructure officers, who gave them advice from day one.  It was praised for the level of public consultation.  Some will suggest, today, that we should ensure that all brownfields are used before using a greenfield one.  I absolutely respect that opinion and, of course, greatly value our beautiful countryside.  I was one of the Members who voted for the protection of the Plémont headland, for example.  St. Peter is doing its bit in terms of building on brownfield sites, as I have explained, but Islanders need more homes.  Developing a small site, in the centre of a village, with easy access to infrastructure is, in my book, a price worth paying.  It is preferable to filling in green sites in smaller, outlying areas.  Most importantly, it will give 65 families an opportunity to give themselves a better chance in life and to keep a dairy farmer milking.  It must be stressed now that I hope this debate will not stray into the area of personalities, or the politics of envy. Let us focus on the issue at heart, the need to take action and offer a future to families.  What are they to do?  Some of them are considering leaving the Island.  Can we afford to lose those skills?   Already, small business owners are telling us that they struggle to recruit skilled roles.  We have a housing crisis.  This debate is an attempt to make a small step towards resolving that crisis.  If we do not begin to take action, we will have an economic crisis also, because the Island will grind to a halt, due to a lack of people with the skills that we need.  The Ministerial Decision justifying the refusal of permission for this site was published on the same day that plans for 2 luxury homes were passed in a protected area of St. Brelades Bay.  Among the reasons for refusal was that sufficient justification to warrant the departure from the Island Plan had not been demonstrated.  May I suggest to Members that we now have the evidence required to demonstrate the need for affordable housing.  The current Minister for the Environment has stated that he will not rule out limited expansions of village envelopes, if this can be accommodated within the community.  The Parish in question is right behind it.  They have been consulted and voted in support of the plan, on 3 occasions.  Does this not give the Minister the confidence that this development would be welcomed by the community, in the centre of the village?  There would be a minimal impact to spatial planning, as this site is within the built line and there are fields beyond it.  I hope that Members have taken the opportunity to study the illustrations of the site that have been provided by Andium and I thank the Constable for allowing me to display them here.  This development will enable a farming family to stay in business and continue to invest in the future of farming.  The delivery of this site would enhance the centre of the village and improve the lives of 65 hardworking Jersey families.  I urge Members not to allow themselves to be sidetracked by diversions today.  Let us focus on the bigger picture and how we, as an Assembly, wish to make a difference for families.  To conclude, in 2008, during the rezoning debate the then Minister for the Environment, Senator Freddie Cohen, gave this summary: In this case there are 2 irreconcilable issues, I want to defend the countryside and, as Minister for Planning, I want to provide decent homes for our retiring (in that case) population.  A number of officers at Environment, from the Rural Strategy Group have raised the issue of the loss of farmland and rezoning of a few sites.”

[10:30]

“However, they represent just one side of this debate and that of effective rezoning, specifically on the loss of farmland and nothing else.  It is my job to balance all the issues and my conclusion is unequivocal.  Having considered all the issues, I have no doubt that building our rural communities and providing much needed high-quality housing for our retirees prevails.” Wise words from 2008 and, of course, I ask Members to substitute that need for retirees that that debate focused on to firsttime buyers that this debate focuses on.  I hope Members will approach the debate with similar balance and take this opportunity to put children first.  I look forward to hearing what they have to say.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Is the proposition seconded? [Seconded] Before we open the debate, there was a bleeping noise to my right during the course of Senator Moore’s speech.  I am sure somebody will wish to contribute something to the Christmas appeal, if they are going to fess up.

Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

Can I raise a point of order, just a technical one?  A member of the public has alerted me that the States of Jersey Assembly website is down, which they wanted to look at the Senator’s proposition, as did I and I just think it is important for those listening and watching and for us Members that there is a technical problem.  It is nothing nefarious, but I understand it is being worked on, but I just mention that because I think it is important. 

 

2.5Island Plan (revised) 2011: site to be rezoned for Category A housing - Field 632 and part of Field 559, La Route du Manoir, St. Peter (P.39/2019) - amendment (P.39/2019 Amd.)

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

We have been made aware of the blip and people are on it at the moment.  There is an amendment from the Deputy of St. Martin and I ask the Greffier to read the amendment.

The Assistant Greffier of the States:

Page 2, delete the words “Field 632 and part of”.

2.5.1The Deputy of St. Martin:

I am hoping that this is going to be a very quick amendment.  Certainly my speech is not going to be very long.  We have got still some work to do today, but what I wanted to say to Members this morning is that my amendment is not about housing; it is not about the need for housing; it is not about building in the green zone; it is not about the density of building in the green zone.  This amendment does not change the number of units being proposed and it does not vary the size of the proposed development.  It does not change the amount of agricultural land that will be lost.  This amendment is only about the provision of green open amenity and community space in the countryside and for Islanders generally and it merely moves the site in the Senator’s proposition a little further to the east.  It is a - and I hate to use the word in case it makes Members uneasy - backstop, should Members approve this proposition.  Should Members, when we get back to the main debate, decide that this development should go ahead, then my amendment safeguards a green open space, to be saved for posterity in the heart of the village.  The Island Plan and previous Island Plans before it have served us well, especially in the countryside and we enjoy a largely protected countryside.  Unlike other places, we have escaped the plague that can be ribbon development.  But the current plan that we have is creaking and the review that we have recently had announced cannot come soon enough.  In the meantime, maintaining open space for parishioners and Islanders has never been more important, because once you build on areas like the one that is proposed this morning, you never get the opportunity to go back.  I do not want to start the debate and the discussion about the main debate here.  As I said at the beginning, this is a very simple and easy to understand amendment.  It just moves the site a little bit further to the east, but the important thing is should - and I stress the word “should” - this development go ahead, it does protect, in the heart of the village, an open green site, which people, not only in the Parish, but throughout the Island, can enjoy for ever more.  I hope Members will understand what I am trying to achieve here and vote in favour.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Is the amendment seconded?  [Seconded] Does any other Member wish to speak on the amendment? 

2.5.2Deputy J.H. Young:

Just a brief comment.  As Minister, I have already published comments both on the amendments and the substantive proposition, to help Members.  I think the only point I want to record here is that the principle of the Deputy’s proposition, about having open spaces within schemes is the right one, unquestionably; but, of course, that is part of the current policies and that any scheme should have integrated, good quality, well-designed and accessible open spaces within the heart of the scheme.  So, that is the policy.  My understanding of the Deputy’s amendment, I think it does so potentially by extending the scheme, rather than within, but, of course, that would be subject to his own detail, but nonetheless Members should be aware that the proposal is in line with a policy intention, but if the effect of that is to extend the area of loss of land, that, of course, is not the same as doing it within a scheme.  But at the moment we do not have a scheme, but in terms of zoning, I find it a bit difficult what to do on this one, but I just want to alert Members to that principle, open space is important in schemes.

2.5.3The Connétable of St. John:

I shall be very brief.  I think the Deputy of St. Martin’s proposition is truly excellent, absolutely right.  We have St. Helier built and the lack of parks and open space in St. Helier.  As the various villages develop, it is vital that we bear that in mind and that we do not think: “Well, they are in the countryside, so they do not need open space.”  Yes, they do, and it is important and I would urge Members to support this particular principle.

2.5.4The Connétable of St. Peter:

Ville du Manoir is a Parish development and, as such, any development scheme should first be brought before a Parish Assembly.  The scheme suggested in this amendment has never been discussed with myself, prior to yesterday, or any other Parish official and the amendment contains details of the proposed development and rezoning.  This amendment, having been lodged by the Deputy of St. Martin, proposes rezoning a similar area to that in the abridged Ville du Manoir scheme.  The scheme includes a large area, which would become a village green.  I believe that is how it is described.  However, we really do not have a need for such an area, as we have an existing village green adjacent to both the Parish Hall and our youth and community centre.  It is used extensively by the Parish pétanque club and numerous others.  We also hold our summer fête there.  If evidence is needed that it exists, myself and the Deputy have just booked it for our regular meeting with parishioners.  In fact, if you want to see this green, you can join us on 9th July, when I believe the Deputy will be serving Pimms.  We also have a children’s play area alongside, which has just been completely refurbished and Jersey Sport, last week, congratulated us on the area and we discussed further sports equipment that could be added to that green.  So, we do not require a second village green a few hundred yards from the existing one.  I believe that the inclusion of this village green takes more land out of agricultural than the original scheme and I think that is, obviously, something that we would not want to see.  The use of greenfield, or agricultural, land has been one of the prime objections raised at Parish Assemblies held to date.  I believe, for that reason, it would certainly be rejected if it ever came before a Parish Assembly.  I urge Members to reject the amendment, as the Parish has not requested an alternative scheme and I will not be voting for it.

2.5.5Connétable M.K. Jackson of St. Brelade:

Just a couple of points I would ask the proposer to enlighten Members on.  One is that, while I support the concept of green space in any development, clearly this proposal will creep the development further into the green countryside, so I have to say that I am not comfortable with that concept.  Secondly, I am unclear as to what effect it will have on the property values for the landowner.  Clearly, an open green space will not have the same value, perhaps, as a built space and I wondered if he had given any consideration to the effect of that.

2.5.6Senator K.L. Moore:

Just briefly, many good points have already been raised and I am quite perturbed by the idea of pushing the site further into the green zone and consuming more vergées of land.  When I discussed it with the Deputy of St. Martin and he explained that there was already a greenfield in this particular Parish, that was safely away from the road, he put it to me that, perhaps, that field, if it remained in the centre of the village, could be then used for agriculture, which would be obviously a good thing.  However, I would like to give a little personal context to that idea.  My father grew up on a dairy farm in the centre of a village.  It was the second-longest village in Devon and as he inherited it and tried to farm that land, as the size of the village grew and grew, it became more and more difficult to sustain an agricultural operation in the centre of the village, due to the noise, the smell, the dust, the complaints just flowed in, notwithstanding the difficulties in driving cattle down a road where people wished to drive.  I have to say I am rather uncomfortable by the idea around this.  As the Constable has said, there is an excellent amount of amenity space in this village, which is safe.  Also, if Members are concerned by the idea of ribbon development, if I could just quote from the Jersey Architectural Commission and the report that they gave to the planning inspector on the original inquiry, it said: “At the request of planning officers, the applicant presented the scheme to the J.A.C. (Jersey Architectural Commission) on 24th November 2017.  The Commission noted the following: the Commission are of the view that the site appears to fit in its location well, notwithstanding the wider policy context.”  So, I hope that assists Members and I will not be supporting this amendment.

2.5.7Connétable J. Le Bailly of St. Mary:

Once upon a time, Jersey - the whole of Jersey - was a green mass.  What changed that?  People.  Over the years we have had population explosion.  It is called progress.  Without it, this Island would not have survived financially.  During our progress, we have required housing.  The majority of that housing has been built on agricultural land; there was no alternative.  We are in a housing crisis.  The cost of housing and rents is out of control.  It will not improve, unless we are able to provide land to do this.  There was a time when the Planning Department had sites earmarked for housing.  If this happens, the public are not aware of it, as it does not seem to be the case today.  We do not even have a hospital site.  In the early 1970s, village developments in the Parishes were being built on States loans systems on all agricultural land.  There was no alternative then.  I was fortunate to get a plot on the St. Ouen village scheme, 50 years ago.  If I had not, I would have left the Island, so I can understand the frustration of those couples and families, who are desperate to have a home of their own now, not in 5 years’ time on a promise.  Why are we here?  I am here to serve the people.  If that means sacrificing a field for people to improve their lives, I will do that, because it is essential to these people.

[10:45]

My pledge to the people who elected me is: “It is not what I want, it is what you want.”  I apply that pledge Island-wide.  The people of St. Peter have made their wishes clear in a Parish Assembly.  I will uphold their views, as there is an alternative site being proposed, so that people, who are desperate for a home, will not be ignored.  Should we, in the States, be interfering with a Parish issue?  The people of that Parish have made their wishes clear at a Parish Assembly.  We should respect those views.  It is not an Island-wide issue.  The whole scheme takes place on private land, so how is it right that we are making this an Island issue?  The main thing here is that we provide muchneeded affordable housing for people desperate for homes.  If that can be provided on an alternative site, then the objective has been achieved.  What would be even better is that both sites are used and that does become an Island issue, because everyone in this Island shares that responsibility to help people less fortunate than themselves.  If we do not do that, why are we here?  We cannot all become N.I.M.B.Y.s (Not in My Back Yard).

2.5.8Deputy K.F. Morel:

I am preferring to speak to the amendment, rather than the proposal.  I just want to maybe clarify here; I do not quite understand.  There was me saying I understood the difference between zoning and planning and now I am getting confused.  The proposition that the Deputy has brought moves the entire rezoning to Field 559 and, therefore, leaves Field 632 as agricultural land, so it could not be used as a village green, I do not think, because it would remain as agricultural land, so it would have to remain in use as a field.  Yes, you can have cows between the housing development and the Carteret pub, so I do not quite understand how that works.  The other aspect I wanted to say was that the Deputy is moving into planning areas, because he is saying in his proposition, ignoring what I just said about 632 would remain in agricultural use, but he is saying it would be used as a village green, but there is no way that this can ensure that it is used as a village green.  The truth is, it remains agricultural land.  To change it into a village green, we would have to rezone it, in order to become a village green, or it could be rezoned for housing itself.  So, I do not think the amendment works, to do what the Deputy wanted it to do, but I may be wrong and I certainly defer to wiser minds than my own.

2.5.9Deputy C.F. Labey of Grouville:

This is just a quick question of the proposer of this amendment.  I would like to know, the Parish Assembly, what they felt about moving this, the rezoning from one field to another and I would like to hear from the Constable and possibly the Deputy if this was discussed in detail, before I cast a vote one way or the other.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Constable, is this to ...

The Connétable of St. Peter:

Yes.  If we are talking about the amendment and the moving of that, this has never come to a Parish Assembly.  I never received even a phone call about it until it was lodged, so this has never come to a Parish Assembly.  As I spoke, I really do not believe that any Parish Assembly would vote for this.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Does that answer your question, Deputy?

The Deputy of Grouville:

Yes, but it gives me about 10 more.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Does any other Member wish to speak on the amendment?  Very well, if there are no other speakers, I call upon the Deputy of St. Martin to reply.

2.5.10The Deputy of St. Martin:

This amendment is about open space; it is about retaining green areas in the heart of development; it is about people having access to just green areas, which makes everybody feel so much better.  Protecting green space, in the heart of the developments, for the community is vital.  I am not good enough with my words, the Minister said it better than I do.  We will all know there are a number of fields around this Island that we must never ever build on for the benefit of Islanders, because the view, the ambience would change the whole area so greatly.  Can you imagine, for example - and the Constable of St. Brelade is sitting over there - driving from Beaumont to St. Aubin and not seeing those fields on the right of you at the bottom of St. Aubin’s Hill being cropped for local produce?  Can you imagine, for example - and I look at the Constable of St. John - walking out of St. John’s Church to face a major development in that wonderful field that we see covered in cows on a regular basis?  Can you imagine, for example, driving from Five Oaks towards St. Helier and never seeing green fields on the left-hand side between Five Oaks and the top of La Vallée?  Those sorts of areas need to be protected for ever, so that as we build around them, which we will have to do, there is still green open space for people to enjoy.  The Constable of St. Peter and others - so I address those people who say I am after a village green here; maybe I have misrepresented myself to start with - but my intention, certainly in the early days, and Deputy Morel is quite right, this area that I would save - we would save - from building would remain a field.  My intention would be for it be used as a field.  Brown cows and green fields is something we strive for and brown cows in that green field is something we should continue to strive for.  The difference would be that, as we continue to develop the area around St. Peter, that green area would remain a field until such a time as somebody proposed to do something else with it.  My hope would be that it would be at that time people would say: “We cannot lose this green heart to an ever-increasing area of development in our Island and if it is not going to be farmed, let us leave it as a green open space for people to enjoy.”  I am thinking now of St. Saviour and driving down Patier Lane, is it, just above the Parish Hall, where we have got a little field there with a couple of benches and some trees growing, a wonderful area for those people who have recently moved into the development to enjoy.  I am not taking lessons on driving cows - or driving might be the wrong word - or using cows in green fields around the countryside from the Senator, because while her father may well have done in Devon, I certainly did it for many years in St. Martin and that field will be accessible to dairy cows one way, or the other, even if it is heifers, dry cows that can be put in a horsebox and taken; that field could stay in agriculture for many years to come.  The Constable of St. Mary, I felt, was talking to the main debate.  I did not really hear anything in his speech about my amendment, but I am grateful for Deputy Morel, because I just wanted to state, again, that while, at some time in the future, it may well become a village green, the intention in the immediate decades would be to remain in agriculture and keep it for agriculture.  The Deputy of Grouville: I have had no Parish consultation.  This is about moving what might be an application a few yards one way.  This is not going to have a great effect.  There is no difference to the number of houses, no difference to the amount of land that is going to be lost.  All it does is just move the site ever so slightly.  I am surprised that the Constable would say that his parishioners, if it went to a Parish Assembly, would not vote for this.  Why would his parishioners not want to maintain a green open natural area in the heart of a village, which is continuing to develop and will continue to develop?  I hope Members understand what I am trying to do here.  This is simply about ... this is not changing the number of units, anything like that, just moving it slightly to the east, so that for ever more this part of the Island will maintain an open green area for everybody to enjoy.  I ask for the appel.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Very well, the appel is called for.  Members are invited to return to their seats and I ask the Greffier to open the voting.

POUR: 6

 

CONTRE: 26

 

ABSTAIN: 3

Connétable of St. John

 

Senator S.C. Ferguson

 

Connétable of St. Martin

Deputy S.J. Pinel (C)

 

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré

 

Deputy of Grouville

Deputy of St. Martin

 

Senator K.L. Moore

 

Deputy J.H. Young (B)

Deputy of St. Mary

 

Senator S.W. Pallett

 

 

Deputy L.B. Ash (C)

 

Senator S.Y. Mézec

 

 

Deputy G.C.U. Guida (L)

 

Connétable of St. Helier

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Saviour

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Connétable of St. Ouen

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.A. Martin (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.C. Lewis (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy M. Tadier (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy M.R. Higgins (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.F. Morel (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Deputy of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. John

 

 

 

 

Deputy M.R. Le Hegarat (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.M. Ahier (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Perchard (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy R.J. Ward (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy C.S. Alves (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.G. Pamplin (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy I. Gardiner (H)

 

 

 

2.6Island Plan (revised) 2011: site to be rezoned for Category A housing – Field 632 and part of Field 559, La Route du Manoir, St. Peter (P.39/2019) - resumption

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Very well, we now return to the main proposition.  Does any Member wish to speak?

2.6.1The Connétable of St. Peter:

This proposition is not about delivering houses, or not.  Whatever the outcome, the Parish will continue to move forward with plans to deliver affordable housing.  As all of you will be aware, I had lodged a very similar proposition, some weeks ago, but withdrew it following the decision of the Parish Assembly, which opted, instead, to allow the development to be included in the new Island Plan and for the scheme to be developed with the planners into something that could be brought forward within the plan when it is debated by the States Assembly.  Both myself and Senator Moore, ultimately, have the same aim, but we differ on the best method of achieving that.  There is no doubt that there is a chronic shortage of affordable housing for first-time buyers and I remain absolutely committed to delivering affordable housing in perpetuity for families, who would otherwise find it impossible to purchase their own home.  However, I also believe that the Island Plan offers the best way forward to achieve a successful outcome and to deliver the houses that these young families in St. Peter deserve.  I brought the matter to a Parish Assembly, as after reflecting on the proposition I had lodged, I attended a meeting with the Parish Deputy, at which 2 planning officers advised us on the process that would be triggered if the proposition had been accepted by the States Assembly and how this compared with including the development within the Island Plan.  The meeting confirmed some doubts I already had regarding the risk of asking the Minister to consider rezoning the land, which would not necessarily speed up the project and could have knock-on effects on the resources within the Planning Department and limiting their ability to work on other projects.  Indeed, accepting the proposition in no way guarantees that the Ville du Manoir development will go ahead.  It simply triggers a process by which the Minister may bring a further proposition for rezoning, on which a further vote would have to be taken.  One significant advantage of the Island Plan route is that the development can be viewed in the context of Island-wide development, rather than a standalone development and I believe this is important.  The Parish Assembly voted 35 votes to 92 in favour of the Island Plan option over bringing the matter to the States by way of a proposition.  I can say that I am disappointed that, in recent days, I have been approached, on a number of occasions, with a suggestion that the Parish Assembly was misled and, by inference, that I had misled them.  I do not believe this to be the case.  I do, however, understand that one can have different views and if you approach different people, you may well get a different view on a matter, but I stand by what the planning officers told us.  I also understand that there is a fairly substantial element in the Parish who consider that the proposition may offer a faster route to deliver Ville du Manoir.  However, I do not agree with their views.  There is also another element of the Parish that do not wish any development, whatsoever, to be undertaken and that is not just limited to Ville du Manoir.  In fact, they have raised significant opposition to one of the alternative sites, which many people at a Parish Assembly have offered as an alternative.

[11:00]

I respect that Senator Moore believes that every avenue must be explored and I understand why she has brought this proposition.  She wishes to demonstrate to those who have already seen the scheme rejected once, that everything possible has been done.  Rejection of the proposition will, perhaps, bring some closure to those people, who believe that this is the best route.  Having given you my views, I leave it with the Members of the Assembly to make the correct decision and respect the decision taken by our Parish Assembly.

2.6.2Deputy J.A. Martin:

I wanted to speak before the Constable of St. Peter, because I had some questions, but they can easily probably be answered by the Minister for Children and Housing, so this is why I speak early.  It is sheer confusion.  This is one of those debates, which over the years, taking things ... the Island Plan debate is one of the hardest debates and there are always amendments, but you have a context of the Island Plan, the needs.  I have read the Senator’s proposition and I find it hard to understand why 25 per cent of all need for 3-bedroom new family homes is in St. Peter, when you take the population and you take, say, the population of St. Saviour and St. Helier.  Would we not all like to live in the leafy Parishes?  This happens to be St. Peter.  Now, I am concerned that I know people in St. Helier, who are on this list of 1,200, which was closed to them.  They will have never have had a connection to St. Peter, they will never be able to get on this list, but the people who may be - and this is where I do not know - already sitting in social housing, they are now earning more, they are able ... and they have been vetted, they are earning under the £85,000, but they are earning enough to get a mortgage, but they are sitting in a 3-bedroom house, possibly, St. Saviour, St. Helier, St. Clement, where the majority are, but they are then jumping the queue, because they are on the lottery for these 65 homes in St. Peter.  When you read the comments and I do not know which way Deputy Tadier is going on this, but I was on it very early, looking at the need for housing and it was in 2011 we found out we had 3,000 vacant properties and literally I think that has grown.  It is not ideal.  Not a lot of people do want to live in a converted, lovely, 3-bedroom flat in St. Helier that used to be a shop, or above a shop, but I am sorry, I want to come back to what the Constable of St. Mary has just said.  He said this is not an Island problem.  Well, I am sorry, it is.  Literally, he said: “Let St. Peter decide and in the 1970s we did it, we concreted over fields and we built homes and this is just one more field to concrete over and build 65 homes.”  Again, I go back to why is it not in the Island Plan?  I am not comparing like for like.  Is every Parish going to bring to me 65 to 100 homes and how many fields of agriculture?  Then I sit here and with my naïve hat think yesterday and I said: “Come on, it will be money” but here we are on a housing debate, suddenly just concrete over a good agricultural field.  Where will you bring credentials today?  Everybody voted, yesterday, to carbon this and low that and: “We are going to do it.”  We are in a race; we are even running to do it.  The next day it does not matter, just concrete over.  Again, I know there is need.  Are we comparing like for like?  Are we putting the families in St. Peter above the rest of the 11 Parishes?  I have not got enough information.  I know that the Senator sent out some criteria.  What I will tell you and this is what I addressed with the Minister for Children and Housing and I know we are working together, there is the Housing Gateway now to get on to get in, but there are different housing policies to get out.  I know of 3bedroom houses being sat in by one person, who can afford to pay.  In many of the housing trusts, there is no policy, or need to get them out.  Well, there should be.  There absolutely should be and we do not have everything right.  We are working on it.  I am working with the Minister for Children and Housing.  We need to have more say in what Andium can do, as well.  There are so many issues that I do not know the answer to and I have the emails, not so much this time, but when it was rejected last time, this field, by the then Minister for Planning ... and I do feel for all the people, but I feel for all the people of the Island who are not going to get ... and when we had ARK over and we were downstairs about the housing need, I said: “What is the need and what is the want?”  They said: “We have not looked at that.”  We asked: “What do you want?” and this is what they told us and this is what they can afford.  Well, do we not all want to move?  Do we all not want our children to move into a lovely 3-bedroom house with front and back garden in a leafy country Parish?  Yes, we do.  Well, we cannot have all the priorities together.  This is one of the reasons I am really torn.  At the moment, I have got more questions than I have ever got answers, but I think if ... and I am told now, I did hear the Constable of St. Peter say he did go to a Parish Assembly.  The Parish Assembly said they could wait for the Island Plan.  We have everything in.  I totally disagree with the Constable of St. Mary that this is just a Parish issue, because why would we then have an Island Plan?  Why do we look at a Housing Gateway?  Why do we say people on ... these are a lot of people, who are on social housing, who have moved in when they were young and could not afford it.  Their children have grown up.  They are still in their mid-30s, early-40s and they want to buy, but they would only live in St. Peter.  What gives them the right to go up that list, before anybody else?  I know the Senator will get a chance to sum up.  I have put some questions there to the Minister for Children and Housing.  I do not think we have got everything right yet you know.  We are trying to help everybody in the Island and St. Peter wants to give up ... I am told, and I need to hear this more, that this is fantastic agricultural land.  This goes back to the Senator; I think she said her father, or grandfather, had a dairy farm in Devon and there was so much ... it was in the countryside and then there was more and more housing built and it squeezed out the farm.  Well, that is what we are going to do.  We are squeezing out all our country and our agriculture for housing, but are we making the most ... and I am looking forward to hearing from my Constable, because he gave up a lot of St. Helier to help out the country Parishes.  I have complained to him, but we cannot have it both ways.  St. Helier is taking it; we are waiting ... I know the Senator says Samarès is only 40 and then we have got other sites, but there are houses that are sitting in trusts, by Andium, whose tenants ... they want to sell, the tenants in them cannot buy, but they are not getting rid of them quick enough.  That is because we have about 400 one and 2-bedroom flats that are coming online in the next 2 or 3 years and they then will free up.  Can people wait?  Are they living with their parents?  Are they living in a 2-bedroom, or a onebedroom flat with one child and ideally they want to move to a 3-bed?  So do we all.  You have to weigh this up; I have to weigh this up.  Is it something, you know, did everyone go green yesterday and today we have just forgotten about it?  Of course we have, because just concrete over this field, and another one, that will be: “Let us come back, St. Brelade, St. Martin.”  I mean, St. Saviour has taken their fair share, like St. Clement, like St. Helier, but there will be the other country Parishes.  It is only another field, let us do it.  I am erring not to support this.  I need some answers from the Minister for Children and Housing and I am working with him and I think I know some of them.  I think me and him, if we know the same things, do not know enough to make sure this is an absolutely fair way to allocate 3-bedroom homes in the Island ... sorry, I know I should let the Parishes get on and do exactly what they want, but I am here for St. Helier and the Island.  St. Helier has given up enough and then to find out St. Helier residents, who want to buy, are barred from the Gateway, because there are too many people on there already, they cannot even get on this list, too much unknowns for me.  At the moment, I am not supporting.  I will listen.  It is probably 60:40, so there is room to try and persuade me.

The Connétable of St. Mary:

Can I make a point of clarification to the Deputy?

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

If it is a point of clarification, Connétable.  Your microphone.

The Connétable of St. Mary:

I did say that it was not an Island issue, because it was a Parish responsibility, but I also did say that what would be even better is that both sites would be used and that does become an Island issue, because everyone in this Island shares that responsibility to help people less fortunate than themselves.

Deputy J.A. Martin:

That is a second speech.  There was no clarification in my speech.  I stand by what I said.

2.6.3Deputy I. Gardiner of St. Helier:

My first instinct, when I saw this proposition to build on agricultural land, was to straight away: “No, I do not want to build on agricultural land” but I have thought about it a bit longer and I said: “Oh, this agricultural land, that is located in the centre of St. Peter’s village, where we have lots of things happening and it might be there is a point to bring it to the housing.”  Second, I was sure that the people of St. Peter supported it and I was surprised, today, to hear in the Chamber that, apparently, they voted against.  I am a bit confused, but I will put it on the side.  I would like to address a bit in depth a topic that Deputy Martin brought here before, which proposition is touching it, connecting it to close links to the Parish, where I challenge my strong belief about equality of opportunities.  It was triggered by the table that you can find on page 6 of the proposition, where it has mentioned that 124 people of 244 applicants met the Gateway affordable criteria and so we have almost double the people than we have housing.  Full criteria met, 86.  Children, but no links, 38.  I do agree with the proposition, which says there is no doubt there is significant demand for these homes, both in St. Peter and Island-wide.  I started to look into a connection between the Discrimination Law, Island Plan, affordable criteria for the Housing Gateway and what I found that, in short, where land is developed: “The development is in accordance with a development plan that provides for the orderly, comprehensive and sustainable development of land in the manner that best serves the interests of the community.”  I ask myself: do we think about Island-wide community or St. Peter’s community?  I am not sure.  It can be disputed; it can be debated.  It is really not straightforward.  Yesterday, you probably saw my email, that I asked to clarify the criteria about links to the Parish.  Again, the answers were very ... I could not get it, completely understand.  This is the reason I am asking the Senator to address.  I am bringing 2 possible situations.  It might well not happen, but at least it will give me clarity to understand how it will be prioritised and how it will be dealt when the applications will come through.  The first situation, you have a family with 3 children in great need, first-time buyers, 10 years with housing qualification, income £80,000 and above, but they live in St. Clement, or St. Helier, they do not have any link to St. Peter.

[11:15]

They were born in Jersey, they have fathers and mothers born in Jersey, they are 3 generations, 4 generations in Jersey, but they never had any links with St. Peter.  When this will come, the greater need and links to St. Peter, which criteria will apply to make a decision?  The second situation: 2 families with completely similar conditions, children, need, income, first-time buyers.  One family, 3 generation links, live in St. Peter, another family live in St. Ouen, but one works in Co-op and another works in Tech Park in St. Peter.  I realise that links to St. Peter, it can be somebody who lives in St. Peter all their life or have worked in St. Peter.  So, how will these 2 families be assessed, on which criteria, if this criteria is transparent?  I realise that it might be an imagined situation, but it can be a different situation and this is the reason that it is so important to have transparent criteria, how the prioritisation will be done.  When they change an Island Plan, I do feel that if we are changing the Island Plan, it should be an Island-wide benefit.  But again, I do want the people to get the free loan and to have the housing.  Deputy Martin really pointed out it should be absolutely fair allocation and I would like the Senator to address this fairness in her closing speech.

2.6.4Deputy M. Tadier:

I am pleased to be back in the world where Deputy Martin and I are agreeing on things.  I think I am probably split, not necessarily in the same proportions, because a lot of what she said is absolutely germane and I did have the pleasure of working with her on the Housing Scrutiny Panel a few years ago.  We still have not got to grips with the housing crisis that exists in Jersey.  I do call it a crisis, because I think that is what we have and many of us see that in the day-to-day casework that we have, which often involves income support and the Affordable Housing Gateway.  So, before we even talk about affordable housing for people to be able to buy, we know that there are many in Jersey who cannot even do that.  They are either on income support, or they are struggling to pay private rents themselves, the rents of which are higher than what you would be able to get a mortgage for.  This is the paradox that we have in Jersey - it is not limited to Jersey - with the current iteration of the capitalist system, which I hope we all agree needs to be at least amended, so that it works in favour of the very people that we are trying to serve.  But I appreciate we are not here to reopen a wideranging housing debate.  There will be certain elements of that that need to be addressed to this proposition nonetheless.  They say that the personal is political and I tend to try and shy away from using personal examples that relate to myself, or my family, but sometimes it is unavoidable and I think sometimes it is also helpful though for the public to hear from the people they have elected and their personal experiences.  On the one hand, I very much know what it is like for my parents.  I have only got one parent left and this is going back quite a few years now, when they were first of all able to buy their very first home in Jersey themselves.  That was great for them, having started a young family; I was not around yet.  So, they moved from Grouville, where they were renting.  I do not want to go into too much detail, but it is funny how things come around.  I was brought up in the west.  I currently live now in Fauvic, in Grouville.  I probably will not live there all my life, but I think it is great, it is nice to experience different parts of Jersey.  They lived in Fauvic as well.  They lived in Fauvic before I was born, pretty much near the very same house that I am currently renting.  But they moved to Don Farm, where I grew up, because they were able to secure a States loan and they were able to do that on land, which was not a greenfield; it used to be the sand dunes or Les Banques, I think we call it in Jersey.  They did not have any ties to St. Brelade before, but my mother had ties to France and Mayenne and she had ties to different places, probably in St. Helier when she started living in Jersey.  My father had ties to St. Clement and Grouville, being educated in Grouville and St. Clement schools.  But, they were given the opportunity to buy a house on a new plot which they built with their builder, as many of the families did in Don Farm, and before that in Clos des Sables.  To specify that you would have had to have links to the Parish back then would have been partly ludicrous, because how do you get links to the Parish, in the first place, if you do not, at some point, move to that particular part?  Are we saying that you need to be able to trace your family back hundreds of years and you need to have lived in that area all the time?  But, on the other hand, I can see that there is an element of sense in this.  We all know that when we are dealing with housing cases and somebody needs to be moved, whatever, whether it is within social housing, or if they need to be moved from private to social in any of those combinations, people tend to like to - in some cases - remain either where they live, or where they have family links.  So, it would be ridiculous, for example, if somebody currently renting in St. Peter was not given a chance to buy one of these properties if and when it becomes available in the heart of the village where they already live, rather than somebody who does not mind where they live in the Island.  Somebody like myself might say: “I am quite happy to live in Grouville, St. Helier.”  I would love to move back to St. Brelade, but ... so it does seem logical that there is at least a legitimate desire to somehow use a sensible mechanism.  I am not sure if this wording is the right way to go about it, because I think, on the other hand, we compare it to the current system we have got with the so-called choice-based letting system that runs as the Affordable Housing Gateway.  I do have to address some of these comments to the Minister for Children and Housing.  I think he is already aware of these issues and, hopefully, he can also continue to put pressure, because what we have seen in the - I would call it ironically named choicebased letting is that people do not have any choice, really, compared to what they might have had in the past.  We constantly see people, who might be in band 1, that means they need to be housed urgently, being told that: “You have to take the first place that you are given and that you look at and if you do not look at a place and you do not take it, we are going to drop you down to band 2.”  What is all that about?  Not even a question of being able to choose which Parish you live in, or choose whether you might have a garden, or choose whether you are upstairs, downstairs, or whether you are in a high-rise flat when you might have a buggy.  Of course, Andium and Income Support, Social Security, will say that they do take these into account, but the reality of this is the bureaucratic system does not really allow for it.  If you do not take what you are given, first of all you get kicked off the band, or you might get kicked off the Gateway completely and then you can appeal it.  Ma’am, I think the Constable of St. John is vigorously flashing his light, just so you know.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Are you willing to give way, Deputy Tadier?  Your light, Connétable.

The Connétable of St. John:

I was just wondering what his family history and where his parents have lived has with relevance to this debate, that was all.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

I think the Deputy is entitled to give some background to the views that he is expressing.  It is relevant when we are looking at the fact that the proposition seeks to have a connection with the Parish when this land is rezoned, so I do not think it is unnecessarily out of the remit.

Deputy M. Tadier:

The last part of the proposition says that the scheme should give priority to those who demonstrate close links with the Parish.  I apologise if my personal experiences and short family history that I have given do not find the pleasure of the Constable of St. John.  I will try not to talk about my family too much in the future, but I do know that the Constable has told us a little bit about his family.  I know all sorts of things about his daughter’s wedding dress and the fact that he came from South Africa and I think that adds to the richness of the debate.  It is good to bring the personal element into the Assembly because, at the end of the day, we are all real human beings and we are not robots and we are not all ideological slaves either, so let us make this ...

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

If we could now return though to the proposition.  [Laughter]

Deputy M. Tadier:

But I will return to the other parts.  The dangers of intervening on spurious points of order.  Now, the other point quite clearly is, first of all, is this the right time to do this outside of an Island Plan?  I am reluctant to give that argument too much credence, because we are seeing that used all the time.  We will probably see it used in my arts funding debate in a moment, saying: “Well, you should wait for the proper process to be done.”  Of course, the argument that Senator Moore will, no doubt, be using is: “Well, I cannot guarantee what the outcome of an Island Plan is going to be” but I know that we have got this very good scheme on the table, which is going to give affordable housing to people right now.  In the same way that I was on my feet only a few weeks ago saying that we need the Ann Street development to go ahead, because it is a good scheme, it has been developed and that there are people waiting to move in there and just because there might be a slightly better scheme somewhere around the corner, or this is not the perfect site, we should not go ahead with it, these are the kinds of considerations that need to be brought to bear.  But similarly, I do have concerns about giving up an agricultural field in the countryside, which we know we are going to need, to consider food security in the Island.  We do not know, not just because of Brexit, but also because of climate change and also because we need to reduce our carbon footprint.  So, if we are not going to be bringing over lots of food in aeroplanes, or by boats, from the U.K., from France, from South Africa and from Morocco, where some blueberries might come from, we have to start growing some more of that stuff here.  How can we do that, if we are giving up valuable green space?  These are all the considerations that are in the mix.  It is not a clear-cut debate and I look forward to the Senator’s summing up to give us the reasons why we should go for this particular scheme, but, as I said, I am not uncomfortable about doing this outside of the Island Plan, just about whether this is the right thing to do and, on balance, where the public interest lies.

2.6.5The Connétable of St. John:

The issue here is a simple straightforward one.  It is not whether Planning got it wrong, or whether this planning application should be submitted.  The issue here is quite simply should this Assembly decide to progress something which the Parish Assembly has rejected?  Should we intervene and overrule a democratic Parish Assembly?  That is the issue we have here and it is very simple and very straightforward.  The Parish Assembly took place.  The votes were, I think, 92 to 35 in favour of a certain process and the Senator has brought a different process.  That is her right.  She has a different view, but at the end of the day, when you represent a Parish, the Parish Assembly is the ultimate decision-making authority.  It was a properly-conducted Parish Assembly.  I have spoken to independent people, who were present in the Parish Hall.  They have said it was a fair and genuine Parish Assembly.  There was no deception, there was no misleading in any shape or form and so the accusations that I have received by email, saying that the Deputy and others lied I find very insulting and categorically not true.  It was a properly carried out Parish Assembly that the parishioners decided and I do not think that this Assembly should overrule a Parish issue, which has been decided on by a Parish Assembly.  I urge Members, therefore, to reject, very firmly, this proposition.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Can I just clarify, Connétable, when you talk about emails in which people are accusing the Deputy and Connétable of lying, are they emails that have come?  Are you insinuating that it has come from States Members?

The Connétable of St. John:

They are not from Assembly Members.  They are from members of the public.

2.6.6The Deputy of St. Martin:

Obviously, I was a bit disappointed with the number of votes I received for my amendment.  I am fairly self-critical and, of course, I need to give myself a good talking to.  I need to do better, I need to explain better and maybe I need to stop trying to talk ad lib and write down my speeches, as I always used to, so I say exactly what I mean.  I am trying to work out why so few people went for my amendment and it may well be because people misunderstood my position on this.  Certainly, I know the media represented me quite recently as taking a stance against the current Minister for the Environment and nothing could be further from the truth, because, as I said yesterday, I am certainly not going to be hypocritical enough to do something 18 months ago and change my mind today.  I have always been very consistent on this issue and I will remain consistent.  I will not be supporting this proposition.

[11:30]

The amount of advice the Parish was given on this was extensive and I wish they had followed it more clearly, because, despite what the Senator may say, I do not think things were done as well as they could have been.  Certainly, I was very upset during my time as Minister to receive emails from parishioners in St. Peter, because those parishioners were ... I hate to use the phrase “misled”, but they were given the impression that the application was so far down the road that they were in a position they had been allocated and chosen houses on a scheme before the field had even been rezoned, or the application put in and approved.  I felt desperately sorry for them, because on one hand I had them saying to me they had almost chosen the carpets and fittings in their houses when the application had not got anywhere near being approved.  I realise there is a desperate need for housing.  The Senator, in her proposition, criticises me for not doing more in my tenure as Minister, but it is not for the Minister for Housing to decide housing prices and it is not outside of the Island Plan for the Planning Department to come forward with propositions which it will have to decide whether they are acceptable, or not.  I did my utmost in my time as Minister for the Environment to encourage the Housing Department to prove that there was a need for housing, so we could then go away and States Members could come forward with sites, so I was really upset that people in St. Peter felt that they had been given the impression that this was a fait accompli.  The Senator claims that the Parish were not involved.  I cannot see that.  It is just plain wrong that they went as far as they did and just presumed that things were just going to go in the way they wanted them to.  We have spoken already about the contradiction in the Putting Children First and where we are with this particular application, but as somebody has already mentioned, not less than 24 hours ago we decided we were going to go carbon neutral in a very short number of years and here we are, just a few hours later, proposing to build houses on a green open natural field, which could be covered in plants, that would lock up carbon, or trees that will convert carbon.  Then I come to affordable housing.  I am part of a committee now.  Now I am no longer a Minister, I can go back onto Parish committees, looking at redevelopment.  One particular committee I sit on is the one that is going to build affordable housing in St. Martin.  It has taken years for us.  I remember, as a very lowly and new Deputy, bringing the proposition to the Assembly to rezone the field.  It is years and years, but that is not the point.  The point I want to make about affordable housing is something that I have realised in the last few months is the cost of building affordable housing is something we are really going to have to think hard about.  Even if you are given the plot, even if you go out and build a large number of houses on a cut-price bulk wholesale scheme, it is going to be hugely difficult for young people, for young families in this Island to buy what they think is affordable housing.  The States are going to have to work really hard.  We are going to have to look at where we are with Andium, look at our States-owned sites.  If people really want to own their own properties into the future, we, in this Assembly, are going to have to come up with some schemes to help them.  This Island Plan review, for all those reasons, cannot come soon enough.  It is desperate that we get on as quickly as we can and I applaud the Minister and his team for taking on the challenge of trying to get this Island Plan done in short order, because it will be a huge challenge and finding those housing sites is not going to be easy.  But, returning to this proposition, before we start covering fields, green fields, in houses, we have got to look at developed sites, we have got to look at greenhouse sites, we have got to look at brownfield sites.  We have got to look at, really importantly, converting existing buildings, existing structures on this Island, which are not currently used for any useful purpose.  We talk about brown cows and green fields.  That is the catch-phrase that I, as a farmer, and others still use to try to get over so quickly the feeling that one gets and the way we want to promote our Island to not only ourselves, but to those outside, brown Jersey cows in green Jersey fields.  This is as green a field with as brown cows as you could wish to have, adjacent to an existing dairy farm.  It is incredible that we try to promote brown cows and green fields and at the same time consider building on those same green fields.  I am going to support the Constable of St. Peter and for the same reason that the Constable of St. John has just said.  That is another issue altogether, but it is not right that Parish Assembly decisions should come here and be changed.  I do not want to pre-empt any more that the Minister for the Environment may have to say, but I cannot stress enough the new Island Plan review is a vital, vital document, but I cannot support this proposition.

2.6.7Deputy L.B.E. Ash of St. Clement:

I would just like to congratulate Senator Moore on bringing this.  I think, yesterday, the Minister for the Environment said that we are very good at not doing things in this Assembly, such as ruling out People’s Park for the hospital; we are very good at that.  We are good at not doing things.  But this is a genuine attempt to resolve a problem and to bring forward more housing in a quicker time and I applaud her for that.  I think she made a great speech into why we need housing and it is something that needs tackling and I think many of the points there could almost be a template for what we need to do.  I will, unfortunately, not be able to support it, purely on what the Constable of St. John said.  I feel it is a Parish issue.  They have had a vote on it and I do not think it is the position of this Assembly to overturn that vote.

2.6.8Deputy M.R. Higgins of St. Helier:

I might say that, at the moment, I am undecided.  I listened to Senator Moore and everything she said about the need for housing, the suffering, the numbers of people who are either in rental stress, or are living in poor accommodation; yes, I want better housing.  I want it, no doubt about it, but something that concerned me and it was something that Deputy Gardiner brought up, it is this thing about the Parish restricting - it is a restriction, in fact, I see it as almost like geographical apartheid - “We are going to have our people in this Parish and maybe no others.”  That is what it is and I find it offensive.  The need is Island-wide and the Parishes should not restrict access to it, simply because of a connection with a Parish.  Sorry, it should be based on need first.  So that is one thing.  The other thing too that has come over quite clearly is this is a Parish spat.  There are a lot of arguments going on within the Parish and I feel very uncomfortable here trying to sort of rule on it.  On the one hand, the Parish have had an assembly where they have said: “Wait for the Island Plan.”  That sounds pretty reasonable, it sounds democratic.  On the other hand, there is the ... I was going to say the heartstrings being torn about the need for housing.  In fact, it was very interesting listening to the Deputy of St. Martin talking about how, when this plan came forward - I do remember thinking some of the conversations that were going on - it was a done thing, it was all going to happen.  Yes, people I think may have been promised things.  Again, that is totally unacceptable.  Unless you have gone through all the processes and it has all been agreed, there should not have been any discussions in that way.  I am uncomfortable about what has gone on in the past on this particular development.  As I say, I am torn.  I will give an indication of where I am at the moment, though, I am leaning to rejecting the proposal.  So, the point is here we need to hear ... I want to hear something about this geographical apartheid, which I really find reprehensive and, secondly, I would like to know a lot more about this particular scheme and a bit more about some of the goings-on behind the scenes.

2.6.9The Deputy of St. Peter:

What we are debating here is not whether the Parish of St. Peter, or indeed the Island, need affordable homes.  That is an absolute given.  I think Deputy Higgins is right, there is a little bit of conflict over this going on in the Parish.  I did not want to use this to put my position politically, or what I said during the election, but I think it important to note that in the vote.je video that we had, the 2-minute video, which was just after this application was refused, I said that I would be looking for plan B.  Plan B is what I think - I believe - that I brought to the Assembly a couple of months ago.  It is also important to note that I am behind finding homes, either in this Parish, or preferably in St. Peter, ideally, but if not in St. Peter, finding homes for those 65 families who effectively had the keys to the door, were promised the keys to the door previously, but had their dreams not realised.  I know some of them think I am not supporting them.  I absolutely am behind finding homes for them and unpicking the expectations - false expectations - that they were given.  We are also not debating whether Field 632 and part of 559 are the optimum solution.  We are going back to debating finding homes for these families.  What we are debating is what is the right process of delivering these affordable homes in St. Peter and all other Parishes.  This is about risk assessment, this is about the timing, this is about the process that we are going to follow.  Now, I think Senator Moore, who I am sure spoke and listened very clearly during her ... listened to the due diligence that she took with Planning and comes to this Assembly with her personal view that she believes.  I have another side to this.  I asked for a piece of work to be carried out by the Planning Department and I asked for 2 parallel processes to be run, with risks and milestones to go through, one of which is if P.13, which was the Constable’s proposition, was followed, then if everything went to plan, then the by-laws will be approved in Q4 2020.  If the Island Plan process was adopted, then the by-laws would be approved Q3 2021.  Now, that is 9 months and we have already lost a month, so we are down to 8.  The condition, or the caveat, to that by the Planning Department was that was assuming unlimited resources, OK, and in order to make sure and double-check my facts, I checked an email this morning from Planning and they confirmed this: “There are not infinite resources.  The opportunity costs of doing one thing means that another thing may have to be dropped.  It is also considered that the resources required to effectively run 2 Island Plan review processes [which is effectively what this will be] in parallel is inefficient and will serve to detract from the comprehensive Island Plan review process.”  So, it is quite clear that the dates will be distorted adversely for those 65 families if we proceed down this direction and route.  Also, what we know on 4th April is the then Minister for the Environment turned down planning applications for 65 homes in St. Peter.  He cited 7 specific reasons for refusal.  He was quite clear that only 2 of them will be addressed by this.  Now, it is subjective as to whether - and we have heard the Minister for the Environment speak - that will require to go to the Planning Committee, who have left the Chamber, or go to the independent planning inspector.  However, the point is it does not make it - if I am allowed to say - a slam-dunk that planning permission will be approved, because what we know is nothing else has been approved in a change to the Island Plan to give any reason that planning permission will have a different outcome.  We have talked extensively about the need, over the last 10 years, since the last Island Plan, about the ... I think it is now 7,000 homes.  That is not in any doubt whatsoever.  However, what is absolutely relevant here is that the new survey and data is not available to a planning inspector, should he determine on this.  He only has the information that is within the Island Plan to make his decision.

[11:45]

So, while again I support Senator Moore in what she is saying, it does not, I believe, become relevant information for the planning inspector when he determines; unless, of course, that has changed.  However, what we do know is that as a result of the Constable of St. Lawrence’s question on Tuesday, the new Island Plan is up and running and will incorporate full engagement and consultations with the Parishes on this subject.  They will be going out to all Parishes, country Parishes alike, and working closely with them to review and submit their Parish plans for consideration by the Island Plan.  Now, we know this is due for debate in the first quarter of 2021 and what we also know, as an Assembly, it is beholden on us, or our obligation, to bring forward amendments should they be appropriate and relevant to your Parish to that Island Plan.  The point is, we can influence the Island Plan and not, as in this proposition, challenge the Island Plan, work with the law, not against the law.  Now, I am absolutely convinced, totally believe, that this is the right process to go forward to deliver on behalf of those 65 families in St. Peter, but more importantly, make sure we have a plan within the Island Plan that can deliver affordable homes for all those in need across all Parishes.  That is why I will encourage you all strongly to vote against this proposition.

2.6.10Deputy K.F. Morel:

I just want to be quite quick.  I just want to say that, yes, I agree with Deputy Huelin.  For me, the problem very much is in the process.  We are on the eve of a new Island Plan process and Island Plan debate and ultimately will end up with a draft Island Plan.  The Parish, having taken that decision, I feel who are we to overrule them?  The Island Plan is the right way to do this, given that we are so close to that debate.  I do have issues, as Deputy Higgins and I believe Deputy Martin have said, with the Parish lists ideas.  It seems slightly backward-looking to think that whether it is family ties, or some ancient ties with a Parish, that you, therefore, gain some right to then be in that Parish, because really what we are talking about here - in fact, wholly - we are talking about the future.  Communities of the future can be built by anybody, from anywhere.  Anyone, whether they are from Grouville, St. Ouen, St. John can come and live in St. Peter and they will do a fantastic job, I am sure - I have no doubt - of building a wonderful community in St. Peter.  So, to restrict it to those who only have kind of a historic link or ... I know it could be a current link with St. Peter, but to only have links with St. Peter just seems short-sighted.  In fact, I strongly believe that it is through the mixing of people’s experiences, from different places and different areas that we get a more vibrant society.  If everyone comes from the same place, you end up with a very boring society.  I do struggle with the idea of the Parish kind of lists, they are odd.  On top of that, I am sorry though, because this is a story of ... it has not been one of the finest episodes in St. Peter’s Parish life.  It is a story of broken promises, false hopes, some lies placed here and some disinformation placed there.  Sorry, I am not saying that has happened, but claims of misinformation, et cetera, so it has not been a great history.  But I would like really to focus on something else about the future and that has been raised by Deputy Luce, the Deputy of St. Martin and that is if we have one benefit of waiting the year, or 2, that it will take to put this into the Island Plan, that I strongly believe that at the moment, Jersey is not in a position ... we do not have a construction sector that is able to meet the challenges of Deputy Ward’s proposition that we passed yesterday.  The construction sector is not currently building sustainable homes in this Island.  If we were to allow this to go ahead, the quicker we do this, the more likely those homes in St. Peter will not be sustainable homes.  They will be built to the same unsustainable standards that we are building with today.  By putting this through the Island Plan - and I wonder whether, through the Island Plan, we can make demands on sustainability and maybe the Minister for the Environment will be able to take that on board or guide me in that - we give an opportunity to have more energy efficient, more carefully thought through housing in St. Peter and elsewhere in the Island and also to demand of the construction sector that they meet the needs of Deputy Ward’s proposition that we passed yesterday.  It is amazing, here we are the next day and climate change really does feed into this debate and it should not be forgotten.  So, I do say, please do think that by putting this through the Island Plan we get an opportunity to make sure it is a more sustainable development, if one ever ends up there.  I would just like to finish on one other reason that we really should not build.  That is in the report, the Senator mentions that the field is only 0.0003 per cent of Jersey’s agriculture, that is three-ten thousandths of Jersey’s agricultural area.  Every single field that we build on has only been some ten-thousandths of a per cent of Jersey useable agricultural area.  It really is death by 10,000 cuts.  You take this field, you rezone this field, it is not coming back ever.  That is important.  It will never come back, so I do point to issues that I raised publicly recently about the real need.  Jersey’s water is one enormous resource, one precious resource that we need to look after and land is the other.  We need to use it properly, in the best way possible, the most ... it is not just the most economic, the efficient way possible.  We need to use every piece of land and think: “What way should this be used?” and move forward in a way that gets the best return for the whole of our community.  At the moment, we do still, across this Island, because I do not see it as just a Parish issue.  Across this Island we do have brownfield sites that should be used before we look at this site.  So those 2 things really, brownfield issues and the fact that if this was to go through the Island Plan, we might have a chance of making a sustainable development there I think you should bear in mind when making your decision.

2.6.11Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Yes, I will try and keep it fairly short.  I was obviously very disappointed to hear the remarks from the Deputy of St. Martin and obviously of his experience of the whole process previously, particularly around process and I absolutely agree with everything he said.  For the avoidance of doubt, I will not be supporting the proposition, because, obviously, it is a bit of an ad hoc approach.  It is obviously very focused on a single Parish, but particularly, in fact, as Deputy Morel has referred to, we are using a mechanism again that results in the loss of open countryside and what is very good agricultural land, I understand.  That does not seem to me the right way of doing it, particularly at the time that we know ... and I absolutely know that the Minister for the Environment is very keen to accelerate the Island Plan process.  That is what he is saying is the right place for it to be.  Equally, we have also got the Housing Policy Development Board created, which obviously includes the Minister for Children and Housing and those 2 pieces of work are very important to where we go on the overall housing and planning policy.  I do endorse the comments made by the Deputy of St. Martin around the cost of building over here.  In fact, that was very particularly why one of the specific works I am expecting from the Housing Policy Board is to look at building costs, because we know that in terms of what the components are, it is an expensive process and that generates the cost that people are being charged for the properties that they are trying to buy, which are labelled affordable.  That was one of the key aspects that came up during the elections.  It was something I committed on and I am hoping we are going to be seeing some delivery over time on that.  But I think what I am also informed, that what it effectively amounts to is an interim review of the Island Plan on a specific site, there is no guarantee of delivering any successful outcome, because what I understand is it is going to be considered within the strategy policy framework of the current Island Plan.  It is likely to be regarded by a planning inspector, appointed to review it, as premature, given that there is an ongoing review of the Island Plan and no doubt it detracts resource and effort from that very important piece of work.  Perhaps, finally, and as has already been alluded to, it is specifically against the explicit resolution of the St. Peter Parish Assembly last month, which was to pursue the proposal as an integral part of the comprehensive Island Plan review, as opposed to following the course proposed in this proposition.  I think, for all of those reasons, I am not supporting it and I would urge the rest of the Assembly to follow likewise.  It is a very emotional and compelling case that is being put forward, but we have to act in the wider interests.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Solicitor General, obviously you want to speak.

2.6.12The Solicitor General:

A number of Members have raised questions in relation to this issue of demonstrating a link with the Parish.  I just wondered whether it would be helpful for me to make one, or 2, comments on that point.  I will start with the Discrimination Law, because there is a potential case for a factor whereby the allotment of housing favours people who can demonstrate a particular link with a Parish might be discriminatory on the grounds of race.  There is a number of general exceptions to prohibited acts and discrimination on the grounds of race would be a prohibited act, but in Schedule 2 to the Discrimination Law, there are a number of general exceptions to what would otherwise be prohibited acts.  The first of those is an act done under legislative, or judicial, authority.  Essentially, that provides that an act of discrimination is not prohibited under the Discrimination Law if it is done necessarily for the purposes of complying with any enactment, conditions lawfully imposed pursuant to an enactment and also an order of a court.  Now, an enactment in this case would be the Planning and Environment Law of 2002 and that does include certain provisions, which would be relevant in this context.  Article 2 of that law does provide that: “It is the intention of the law to ensure that when land is developed, the development is in accordance with a development plan that provides for the orderly, comprehensive and sustainable development of land in a manner that best serves the interests of the community.”  Those last words are particularly relevant: “sustainable development ... that best serves the interest of the community.”  The word “community” is not defined in the Planning Law, so it would be something, if it were to come before a court, the court would have to find the meaning of that word, because it might be argued that the community is the Island community at large, but then there is an equally persuasive interpretation of that word that a Parish is a community.  There seems no reason why a Parish could not be a community for the purposes of the law.  So, what I am coming to is that there is a potential lawful reason for imposing a sort of condition that specifies that applicants for housing need to demonstrate a link to a Parish, but what I would stress is that there needs to be ... if that were to be imposed and it would be imposed, presumably as part of a planning obligation agreement, which would be imposed under Article 25 of the Planning Law, but if that sort of condition were to be included in such an agreement, there would need to be clear criteria setting out what is meant and how a link with the Parish can be demonstrated, because, as Deputy Gardiner was saying in her speech, there are potential tensions in this area.

[12:00]

Where applicants for housing may demonstrate huge housing need and how those applicants need to be looked at in relation to persons that can also demonstrate links with the Parish but, perhaps, whose acute housing needs are not quite as acute as those of other applicants.  So, there would need to be very clear thought given to the conditions that were specified as regards demonstrating links with a Parish, but in themselves a link with a Parish is a potentially lawful condition, in my view.  But the key is to set out some very clear criteria as to how the Housing Gateway would operate these sorts of conditions, because that would give a person, who was disappointed by a decision taken in relation to say a refusal to allot a house to a particular applicant, that would give them a remedy, because it would be a decision that was capable of being subject to a Judicial Review application in court where the approach of the decision maker could be tested in court and if it was found wanting then the decision could be quashed, or it could be remitted back with certain guidance given.  So, I hope that is of assistance to Members, who may have been expressing some concerns about this suggestion of a link with a Parish, because it is a point that applies, no doubt, to other Parishes.  I am aware that there are one or 2 other Parishes where there have been developments, which are Parish-based, so it is a point which is, perhaps, of wider interest than just this particular proposed housing scheme.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Thank you, Solicitor General.  That is very helpful. 

2.6.13Connétable A.S. Crowcroft of St. Helier:

I do not propose to speak at length, because much of what I was going to say has been said and more persuasively by other speakers, but Deputy Martin did challenge me to speak, so I am going to have to say something, or face her wrath.  First of all, if I could refer to something the Deputy of St. Martin said when he was berating himself for not being more persuasive when he spoke on his amendment.  I thought that the Deputy of Martin, in his summing up, was extremely persuasive when he spoke of the importance of these large agricultural fields in each ... if not every, in most of our Parishes, and the importance they hold for the community, not just in terms of whether you can walk on them, or not.  It is simply that you can see them and you can see our Jersey produce growing in them and our Jersey livestock on them.  I believe that those agricultural fields are very important and I will certainly save ... I will keep my powder dry until the Island Plan debate when I hope to do all I can to continue to protect the Island’s greenfields.  The additional point I want to make, which I do not think has been referred to - and it does have some bearing on the decision we took yesterday about climate change emergency - is that we may well be facing problems of food security in this Island and I would be extremely loath to see good agricultural fields built on when we may need to grow food on them to feed our community.  The arguments that the Senator made in her speech, which were pretty Orwellian to me, where she seemed to be suggesting that by supporting this proposition we would be helping the dairy farm.  I really could not follow that, because it does seem to me that the more agricultural land you have in use, the better.  It may suit this particular operation to have less, but I know there are other people out there who would probably be quite happy to grow on it.  So, I think food security is important.  I think we need to bear that in mind.  The other point I wanted to make is around sustainability.  It has not been mentioned yet, but it is a fact that the more housing estates we build around the Island ... and I accept the arguments of my fellow Constables that they want to have vibrant villages for their communities, but the more housing estates we build, which are beyond the reach of the capital of the Islanders in terms of getting to work, getting to school, then the more we increase the need to travel and the more we increase the need to travel the less able we will be to deliver on a climate change emergency, so Members need to bear that in mind.  That is one of the reasons why ... it is not the only reason, but it is one of the reasons why I have always supported using brownfield sites, particularly in the urban areas, for the provision of housing.  So, I will not be supporting the proposition.

2.6.14Deputy J.H. Young:

I think the Senator made a very well-argued contribution to undoubtedly the major issue that the Island faces, as well as population, is how we house our community, but I think the debate ... and also that has led to also many wide-ranging submissions, all of which, from my point of view, all point to the need for a proper process and rationale for how we tackle that issue.  In fact, the legal advice we have just had further illustrates that and the risk if we do not do that.  So far we have got ... I picked up affordability, use of agricultural lands, issues about houses and flats, because the majority of the dwelling units now we are producing are flats and yet, as we know, people have aspirations for homes, family homes.  I understand that.  Then there is this whole issue of Parish links that the Deputy of St. Martin raised, rightly, and then tenure ... rental versus purchase and so on, open space, sustainability; just a few.  At the moment, we have got policies on some of those.  Some of those are not ... in fact, some of those need review and others are just not there at all and we have got a number of processes running to arrive that those solutions.  We have got the housing group, which I am a member of, and that is feeding into the Island Plan Review.  I suppose what we have got, I think, is there is a real risk here of having ... Deputy Huelin referred to parallel processes.  I had hoped, when I was elected ... and I am going to put in an apology to the Senator, because the Senator makes reference to my nomination speech and I am going to apologise to others.  I had been determined that when I came into this role that such was the need of housing we would do an interim review but, of course, when I got into office I faced the reality of: “Well, resources; where were they?  What is the logistics of doing this?”  Being a Minister, when you are trying to push people to do things, it is ... one cannot always win.  Now, what I have accepted is that rather than do an interim, it was better to do an accelerated Island Plan process and, therefore, the pressure is put on to bring forward that Island Plan process and, of course, we have now got the money.  I said, in my answers to the Senator the other day, is that we are going to have a briefing session on the week beginning 13th May, which is very soon, taking you through what the intended timescale is on that and also that follows, which I hope is a trouble-free meeting of the Council of Ministers on this which is, I think, next week setting out the steps.  But, nonetheless, I have got to address if the proposition is approved today how ... what that would do is it asks me, as Minister, to effectively invoke ... it will require me to invoke the procedure for a change to the existing Island Plan out of cycle and, of course, that obliges me, as Minister, to go through the whole lengthy process in the law.  It is not open for me, as Minister, to just wing it, if you like.  I have got to go through step by step; it is all prescribed, date, timetable, including those ... I cannot remember if it is 13-week lodging periods, or what-have-you and then there is also a public inquiry and the problem is that until the new Island Plan policies are agreed it is inevitable ... as I think the Chief Minister must have been reading the notes, because he more or less said, but I will just explain that a bit more.  That if we were to do that I think the inspector will be bound to make those judgments based on the existing planning policies that we already know have resulted in a rejection.  Now, there is an issue and there is another ... you know, planning is all about legal complexities.  In the U.K. I think one can take into account planning policy that is in consultation, or in evolution, but I do not think we can in Jersey.  So, again, I think the whole becomes incredibly overlap ... there will be an overlap between the 2 processes, between the major Island Plan and doing this review and also it will become very confused I fear and, of course, really what we would be doing, we would be doing an ad hoc approach for a single Parish.  So much as I would like to be able to progress this, I think there is, inevitably, going to be arguments.  All the arguments that the Members have spoken of are going to arise in that planning inquiry and, of course, we have got ... one of the key processes that we have relied on in the past is the existing Parish planning processes, the Parish plans.  What we are being told here is that this proposal has not got the endorsement of the Parish Assemblies.  So, that puts such an inquiry process in a very weak position.  There is no question, I think, that the much better way to do this is to go forward with this proposal in the new Island Plan review process and we can get an emerging policy out of that, as soon as we can.  Now, I think that there are several stages of that Island Plan process.  The first will be to include a strategic view of where homes should be provided across all Parishes and that means looking at a kind of highlevel assessment of the policy options.  Now, at the moment, our policy is that the zoning of greenfields is a last resort in the policy hierarchy.  It does not rule out using greenfields, but it is a last resort through the other options and, of course, that ... myself, I think we have all got our positions on election.  That was my position, when I was elected to be a Deputy, that I would be arguing that that position is maintained, but it is a strategic option, along with others, which will come forward as part of the policy options of the Island Plan for Members, with the input of the public to decide.  Now, current thinking on this is ... to give you a flavour, one of the proposals in the Island Plan process I will not discuss with Members is the idea that, early in the autumn, we have an in-Committee debate about those policy options when we produce them.  I found today a good starter for 10 because, already, listening to Members’ comments it is starting to set the agenda for that work.  Really, it is going to be very difficult to progress the Senator’s proposal, no matter how well-intentioned and it sincerely is, because there is no question we are in massive housing difficulty.  The Senator referred to the Land Availability Report, which I already conceded should have been maintained and would give information to Members being able to monitor where we are much more accurately.  It is my belief, when I took on my office, I was told: “Well, we are doing all right.”  I said: “Well, we are not.  How can we be doing all right?”  Well, the answer is, is that the Island Plan targets were met, but because of the population growth, they have absolutely gone out of the window so, therefore, that is the adjustment that needs to happen and part of that will be looking at the various reports we have had about future demands that will inform that plan.  So, I think I just want to counsel Members: “Look, we have got an Island Plan process.”  I do not want to take a position ... I have tried to avoid in everything I have said taking the position on this individual proposal, other than say that at the moment the policies say: “Agricultural land is a last resort.”  Personally, as a Member, that is the policy I would like to see sustained and, again, that is the policy, again, which every planning application and planning inquiry will make that judgment under the current plan, but it is for Members, in the Island Plan process, to decide whether they stick with that, or they vary it, or whatever and I think that is by far the better process.  Deputy Morel raised the issue of sustainability and energy efficiency.  There are a couple of things.  We have got some policies in the Island Plan about that.  I think those can be strengthened, they can be adapted and there are things we can do on the by-laws, but I would counsel.  So, I am going to say that this proposition is premature.  We are having the start of the debate and it is useful to help us work out what we are going to do on the Island Plan, but I think it is too early to make a decision and so, therefore, I could not support this proposition.

[12:15]

2.6.15Senator S.W. Pallett:

People say you should not speak on an empty stomach and I get very angry when I have got an empty stomach, so I am going to have to try to ... clearly, I have seconded the proposition, so I am going to support it, but I need to do it, I think, in as calm a way as possible.  We heard a lot about process, a lot about policy, a lot about strategy.  I am a fairly simple, I think, pragmatic person.  I have not heard an awful lot about delivery and I have certainly not heard a lot about delivery in any real speed and the word “crisis” has been used a few times and I do wonder what people understand by the word “crisis”.  As an Island, I think we have got many needs, but I think housing is probably one of the more imperative needs.  We do have a housing crisis, whether we like it, or not.  The people I speak to on a regular basis, young people, even elderly people that cannot downsize, cannot move to where they need to be later in life are of the opinion that this Assembly ... we are not moving forward quickly enough.  We have a housing review being undertaken and I think that is a good step, but is it going to deliver any new stock at any real speed, which is why I support Senator Moore in what she is trying to achieve.  I know we have been told there is an Island Plan review underway, but I think if we wait until the end of that review and wait until the end of the delivery on a new Island Plan, we are going to be kicking potential new development down the road for several years, not just a year, or 18 months.  Certainly, this particular scheme would not be delivered within this political term, I do not believe and, for me, I do not think that is acceptable.  We know that plans for the scheme are ready to go.  I am not going to get involved in Parish politics.  I have had enough of that over the years and been bitten more than once, so I am not going to get involved in St. Peter’s politics and I know there are planning processes to follow to be able to deliver this scheme, but I think we have got the ... certainly, a needs assessment in place, I think, to be able to support a scheme like this.  What frightened me is the number of homes, of all types, we are going to need and we are going to need them quickly.  We are not going to need them in 5 years’ time.  We need them in one, 2, 3 years’ time and again the worry about waiting for an Island Plan is we are going to be waiting far too long to be able to deliver anything.  I mean, we all went through an election last year, last May and we all heard, I think, the hopes and fears of young people and young families and I think some of us might have forgotten that.  I certainly have not.  I certainly have got a young family that want to be able to live in this Island, want to be able to live in their own home.  At the moment, I have only got a small role in Government and I do understand the need for good planning.  I do understand the need for having the necessary evidence to deliver and the need for good process, but I have also, I think, made it quite clear, I think in any area that I am involved with, that I think, within this political term, we need to be able to deliver and I think the public expect us, as an Assembly, to deliver within this political term.  I have heard a lot today that worries me about putting things off and putting things back and I think we do need good housing.  I think we need good housing for all sorts of reasons.  From my point of view, some of the areas I am involved with, the health and well-being of our own population, depends a great deal on having decent housing to be able to access.  There is a balance and I certainly understand from the Constable of St. Helier’s point of view and that is all of his Deputies, that there has to be a balance ... I think homes supplied in St. Helier and an understanding, I think, that there needs to be delivery of homes in other Parishes, in Parish developments, be they village developments, or small developments within Parish settings, I think that is something we have to accept.  We all accept there needs to be affordability and that is true of my own family; my own daughter, who has struggled to find something that has been affordable for her, but we do need a diverse range of properties.  It is not just affordable housing.  As I have said, there needs to be housing as well for elderly that need to downsize.  I think that is one issue, I think, we have not really put ... I am not going to go through in-depth into that, because it does not really touch the proposition, but it is nevertheless important.  People are mentioning connection to the Parish and I do want to comment on that and I am glad the Solicitor General has mentioned some of the terminology that might be used and something that might best serve the community.  I think, in St. Brelade, we have had one or 2 schemes, certainly one within my time as Constable, that looked at affordable housing and had criteria around connections to the Parish.  I know Deputy Higgins mentioned geographic apartheid, that is a new one on me, but I think, nevertheless, he raises a point, but for young families I think it is important that they have got support around them and quite often that support will come from parents and grandparents.  It is important that that support is near at hand.  Again, I mention my own daughter.  She wants to live in St. Brelade, purely because we can support her at a very early stage in her life.  I do not think that is being discriminatory.  I think it is just being realistic.  I can understand Deputy Gardiner and her worries about that and there are opportunities, I think, sometimes to look at what scheme you are delivering and maybe have a mixed scheme that allows people from outside the Parish to come in and mix that with those that have got family connections.  Again I, like everybody else, worry about ... I mean I was with the former Assistant Minister for Planning in the last term.  I do not want to see overdevelopment in the countryside and I certainly do not want to see overdevelopment in certain Parishes that have already had their bulk of development - St. Brelade being one, St. Clement another but, again, I think there is a need to make sure that we balance where we do build our houses.  Protection of the countryside is important.  From an economic development point of view, it needs to remain important to those that visit the Island.  We need to make sure that we have got sustainable farming capacity and a capacity to carry on farming at the levels that we do now and even increase the levels we do now.  As I said, I do not want to get sucked into St. Peter’s politics, but, again, during the election last year, I met many St. Peter residents with the scheme that were desperate to see the scheme come about and I think it would be wrong of us to push this back any further than we have to.  They are desperate for a home of their own.  Again, a lot has been said about things that have been promised.  I am not aware of that.  I know I have spoken to the former Constable of St. Peter previously and I do not think that is the case.  I think they had expectations, but I do not think anything was ever promised to people.  I do not think people were expecting to get a key of a house next year, but they were expecting this to be moved forward quicker than it currently has been.  I know a lot has been said about: “We are close to a new Island Plan.”  Well, I am sorry, but we are not close to a new Island Plan, in my eyes, in terms of delivering some new housing, or new housing such as is being put forward by Senator Moore.  That, for me, is years down the line, if we wait for an Island Plan.  I want to see this delivered in this term.  That is the reason I have seconded this.  I know it probably challenges a lot of processes that people want to see followed but, as has been said by the Senator, there is capacity within offices, within the Policy Unit, to be able to bring forward a review of the Island Plan.  Now, some may say: “Well, why do that when it is so close?”  But, again, I will get back to the point, what are we going to deliver for young people in this Island if we do not start to think about schemes like this and getting them to a stage where we can deliver on them.  Again, I cannot stress enough about delivery.  We do need to deliver and we do need to deliver quickly on housing.  I think that is about as far as I need to go.  Again, I wrote some big words on here, but the biggest word I wrote on the bottom of this piece of paper was “delivery” and I do not want to let young people down in this Island and my worry is we are going to do it again.  We are going to get to the end of this term, we will be in 2022, knocking on people’s doors, going around Parishes, with young families looking at me again going: “What have you done?  What have you delivered?” and the answer will be ... I hope it is not “not much”.  I hope it is going to be: “We have managed to deliver some things” but if we are going to hang our hat on the Island Plan and get it all in an Island Plan before we get to a point of rezoning and starting to look at places where we can build homes my worry is we are not going to do a great deal between now and 2022 and that saddens me.  So, I would ask people to support this proposition.  I know it has got its challenges, but they are not challenges, I do not think, that are insurmountable, so please support this, because I think it is the right thing to do for young families in this Island.

2.6.16The Deputy of Grouville:

I am quite glad to follow the previous speaker and I feel his frustration and that of Senator Moore.  I think it is a case of delivery versus the process we have and the process that we have of going through an Island Plan in one chunk is to best deliver a co-ordinated well-thought-out plan and to stop this piecemeal development of the countryside and other areas.  It is to take the whole issue of housing, of need, of criteria in one and look at the Island and see how we can best deliver.  I mean the process we have is every 10 years and I would question that now, I really would, because, as Senator Moore said in her opening speech: “Children that are being born now, if they are not lucky enough to have a house allocated, or be able to get on the housing ladder in this next Island Plan, those children are going to be in their teens, possibly, when they have a home of their own.”  So, I would question - and I think we need to question - is this the best way of delivery?  It might be the best way of planning things holistically, but I am sure still we could do better.  If States Members are frustrated and bored of sitting here all week then you just wait for the Island Plan, because we are going to be sitting here for 2 weeks at least and at the end of those 2 weeks I am not sure that that is the best way to proceed and to plan in a very coherent way.  I will get back to where I wanted to be with this speech.  I wanted to talk about criteria and there are 2 lots of criteria and the housing criteria is one that I have questioned now, for many years.  People may remember, at the beginning of this week, I asked the Constable of St. Lawrence a question about the housing criteria, because this has troubled me for some time now and indeed I brought it up to the Minister for Children and Housing at one of our Council of Ministers’ meetings and it is something I wish he would co-ordinate, because I need some figures.  We have been given figures on need, this desperate, urgent need of 3,000 plus new homes needed, but it is this criteria of the Parish lists and the Gateway list.  I was very grateful to the Solicitor General for his intervention on community, so how are we defining a community and what makes people of the Parish, if you like?  So is it to do with your parents, how long you have lived in a Parish, if you have served in the Honorary Police, your grandparents, where is the criteria?  To my mind, I have asked for it over and over and I would like to see an open and transparent criteria, preferably where each of the Parishes all have the same criteria.

[12:30]

That would be even better.  Also, is it possible that one person who comes from, say, Grouville, their partner may come from Trinity, they could find themselves on 2 Parish lists.  Is that possible?  Yes, it is.  So, there is a bit of duplication in this need.  Is it also possible that we could find their names on the Gateway list?  So, here we are, the urgent, desperate need, we could have the same people on 3 different lists.  I am looking at the Minister for Children and Housing, because I think he needs to co-ordinate this.  This is to do with housing and the Parishes can do their bit, but I would like somebody to co-ordinate this criteria and tell me exactly what the need is and exactly what the criteria is for going on the Parish lists.  Not only that; what kind of marketing, if you like, how are we telling ordinary Jersey folk that they are eligible to put their names on the list?  How many young people know that they can go to their Parish Hall and put their name on the list?  What kind of marketing, or information, is put out there?  I am not sure.  I have not seen anything, personally.  So, that is the first thing; the criteria for housing and the Parish lists.  Secondly is the criteria of the sites.  Now, we are about to start a process of site identification.  Some Parishes have already started this process.  In my own Parish, I believe - I am not privy to this, even though I have asked - what is the criteria for sites?  Not sure there is a defined criteria, as such, but I believe some people have been going around the Parish, trying to identify potential new sites.  Well, again, where is the openness and transparency for these sites coming forward?  What is being looked for?  Is it just down to the Constables to bring these sites forward, or can anyone bring them forward?  Can somebody, that owns a field, that has no particular agricultural value, who thinks: “Well, that could fit a few houses on”?  Can they come forward?  Can they put their name down on some Planning list?  I do not know.  I do not know.  So, I would like to impart some of this information to parishioners and to Islanders, so that we can have a co-ordinated approach to this.  So, there is the housing need.  There is the site need and both need to identify the criteria.  This particular field I will get around to now, I think, because that is what we are meant to be debating today.  I would like to reiterate, I share Senator Moore’s frustration, because there are families in desperate need and I could identify 3 or 4 sites, potential sites, for redevelopment tomorrow in my Parish to satisfy an urgent need, but we have apparently got this process.  So, this particular site I am looking at it and I am afraid ... I am basically green.  This site, for me, is good agricultural land.  Two days ago, we were debating climate change ... not climate change, climate emergency and recognising that we have an emergency and then, 2 days later, we are looking to concrete over a field.  It is not just an ordinary field for me.  It is a good agricultural field.  Yes, we have a housing need, but we also have a need to grow our own crops.  OK, some of the farming practices - do not get me on to those just yet, I do not think we have got time today - but we are going to have to start growing our own a lot more, not shipping in beans from Kenya.  We need to sort of regard agricultural fields as they should be.  We have a housing need, but we have a need to eat and I would like to see far more grown locally for the community, going back to that word as well.  So, for me, this field is a no, but I would like to see a lot more openness, transparency in this whole process of delivering houses sooner.  Maybe we have to sort of revisit an Island Plan more often than we do but, yes, a lot of work to be done.

2.6.17Deputy R.J. Ward of St. Helier:

There are so many contradictions going on both with this debate and what is going on in my head and I make notes when these things are going on and I can see the contradictions in the random nature of the notes I have made and they are all over the place, so I will try and get through them.  I have many questions, because I am unsure as to where to go with this.  I have been ... I will not use the word “berating” but, perhaps, lambast - I do not know what the word is - the Minister for the Environment over the last few days about having a co-ordinated approach to what we are doing and not being ad hoc or taking just one aspect of what we are doing, in terms of the way we address a climate emergency that we thankfully all agreed that we have.  There is an issue here for me over this being a greenfield.  I am not hung up on the word “green”.  I am just hung up on the use of that field and I think we do need to look very carefully but, at the same time, I am absolutely aware of the need for housing.  I am a St. Helier District 2 Deputy and I absolutely understand the desperate need for affordable and quality housing.  There are other contradictions that come from that.  We also have a Waterfront site, a States of Jersey Development Corporation land, which has plenty of homes being built on it, which are totally unaffordable and are being advertised for £1.5 million as lock up and leave and these are the sort of contradictions we have to address and I hope we do in the Island Plan.  But, we have a system and a process and it does need to address the wider range of the way that we do these things.  I am concerned.  That is the other side of this coin for me and if the Island Plan is not very good, then let us change it.  If something is not working change it and it does look like we are addressing the situation.  I do have a question that needs to be asked.  How much quicker would this process be than if we went ... I am afraid I need numbers.  I need statistics that explain what is going on and that is something I think is really important.  I also need to be reassured that this project will not fall foul of the Island Plan, anyway, if it is agreed, because we could be spending all of this time and creating an even larger delay, which worries me in the long term if this is not agreed, because of other reasons.  It is a genuine question, because I do not know the answer to that.  I am not a planning inspector.  The other thing I would say, as well, is that addressing the issue of sustainable homes ... there was a point put by Deputy Morel and it is something we really do need to address and I hope we do in the Island Plan, because we have to start thinking longer term in terms of the way we build our homes.  If they are more sustainable when we build them, they become a lot cheaper to run in the long term and, therefore, they make the lives of those people inside them much better, because they have more availability and most of their income ... less of their income is going on heating or let alone the important impact on the environment and the climate around us, so we have to start doing that from the beginning.  That is such an important issue and so a delay that gets that right could have much greater benefits in the long term.  I hoped that would be the case.  The other contradiction for me - well, I do not know if it is a contradiction - or the other issue for me is the one on the Housing Gateway and qualification for an area.  I mean, there are residents who have been moved from Hue Court for probably the right reasons, because it desperately needs refurbishing.  They are, perhaps, not being given the choice as to whether they live in the local vicinity and I will not stand here - I am sure you understand - and accept that residents in my District, who perhaps are poorer, or have less income and are reliant on social housing, will have a different set of choices simply because of that.  That is not the sort of equity in a society I want to be part of, so that is a real issue for me.  I have said this before and I am going to keep saying it, we have to address empty homes.  We have to address the fact of what empty homes are available and I asked the question about is this really the last resort.  Have we been through all of those issues and therefore will build on what is a greenfield that could be agricultural?  I will say something about that though, I think the definition of those fields needs to be looked at very carefully, as well, because one of the issues we will have to address, if we are going to get anywhere on this Island, is soil regeneration and we can do that.  As an allotmenteer, which I have given up, when we first had the allotments at Surville and I thank the Deputy of St. Helier for this ... this is relevant.  I will prove to you it is relevant.  The fields were atrocious in the first few years, because of the way they were farmed beforehand, but they got better and better as the years went on, so there are some issues over that in the long term, so we have to think really carefully about where we are building anywhere, is what I am getting at, so I hope that is relevant.  So, those are so many questions that I have and I hope one or 2 of them you can address.

Senator K.L. Moore:

May I ask a question of the Solicitor General please?

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Yes.

Senator K.L. Moore:

Some Members have referred to any subsequent decision-making process that if this proposition was carried today and any future decision taken regarding the rezoning that any decision-making process would be based on the Island Plan and the information that was provided to it in relation to need.  It has been suggested that recent documents, the Housing Needs Survey, the Objective Housing Assessment, would not be taken into account and I thought, I am afraid, that we ought to ask the Solicitor General for confirmation of that, because it appears incongruous.

 

LUNCHEON ADJOURNMENT PROPOSED

Senator K.L. Moore:

You might like to take the recess and I can ask for an adjournment now.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

I think that would be fair for the Solicitor General unless you are ...

The Solicitor General:

Yes, I think ... I cannot answer that one off the top of my head I am afraid.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Very well, the adjournment has been proposed.  Is that seconded?  [Seconded] Members show if they are in favour.  We stand adjourned until 2.15 p.m.

[12:42]

 

LUNCHEON ADJOURNMENT

 

[14:16]

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Very well, we resume the debate on the proposition of Senator Moore and the first name on my list is Deputy Perchard.

2.6.18Deputy J.H. Perchard:

I think the real tragedy with the process that we have been hearing about today is the fact that the residents of St. Peter, who are on this list, whether or not we agree that they were promised anything, feel that they had been promised something, or at least were incredibly shocked and surprised when the initial planning application was turned down.  I think that, irrespective of the result of this debate, we do need to consider how we are engaging with people generally when going through such processes, because the fact of the matter is this is a prime piece of agricultural land and I think that anyone, perhaps, in the know would have said quite early on: “Look, this is very unlikely to be passed in the end, because of the fact that it is a prime piece of agricultural land that is currently in active use.”  I think it is a great pity that the residents of St. Peter were given the impression that this would be likely, if not guaranteed, to happen.  They have been through 3 years at least of extensive consultation, according to reports and an email, I think, States Members received, or I certainly received, from one of the residents.  They said it has been going on for 5 years for them and it is really unfair to put people in this position and to put people in a position where they have such high hopes and expectations that something is definitely going to happen when the reality is it is perhaps not as likely as it seems to them.  So, I do think that the kind of moral of this story is that we have to consider a different way of engaging with people throughout these consultation processes that is informative enough to make people understand that there is not a guarantee, but also to expose the probability of success and the probability of failure and the reasons for potential success and the reasons for potential failure.  I think those things were obviously not made clear, because if they had been we would not have received ... I would not have received the many emails I have received expressing shock, disappointment, lack of trust in our ability to make promises and questioning our dedication to people in need as if that would not have happened if those probabilities were clearer.  I do not think it is fair on them and it is not fair on the people working behind the scenes to get these kinds of projects done.  The question I would like ask the Senator and it is a sincere question, that she might like to address in her summing up is: is this particular greenfield site genuinely the last resort in the Parish?  Are there no brownfield sites in St. Peter?  Is it the case that if we want St. Peter to contribute, in terms of housing, that there will be an inevitable rezoning, no matter where we put the houses?  I do want to know that.  I am really surprised that no one has mentioned the population and I can kind of understand why it has not perhaps come up to the degree I was expecting, but we are talking about supply and demand of housing and we keep talking about increasing supply and we do not talk about reducing demand.  I really do challenge the Government and I urge those on the Policy Development Board for Population to seriously consider how we can reduce demand, because I think increasing supply cannot be done infinitely.  That is obvious.  In the same sense that economic growth cannot be an infinite goal, because you will never infinitely grow and so I think we can all agree that we have a population issue and, therefore, have a housing issue.  One of the most obvious solutions to me is reducing demand by looking at net migration.  We have 1,500 people leaving on the Island on average every year and 2,500 coming in.  We are having plus 1,000 net migration every year.  Why have we not put a limit on that?  Why have we not said: “Until we have a serious population policy that is a long-term vision of how we are going to address these issues?”  Why have we not said net migration is zero?  Until then you still have 1,500 people coming in every year if you make net migration zero.  So, these are the kinds of solutions I would expect to see alongside - as Deputy Morel rightly pointed out - an extensive plan for the environment and for the climate and alongside population policy, alongside the Island Plan; all of these things have to work together and be tied in together.  Having said all of that, is it fair that these people become the victims of promises badly made?  Is it fair that they become the victims of processes that we did not make clear and is it fair that after years of waiting for something that they were led to believe, or that they interpreted as being a guarantee, that they are now the ones suffering?  I have said I do not think it is good enough.  I do not think that we should ever be in a position again where we have given the impression, deliberately or otherwise, that we are guaranteeing something that we cannot deliver, that we cannot guarantee and we cannot promise.  I think that is completely wrong.  So, it is a much more complex debate than it appears on paper.  I am unlikely to support it, but I will wait for the summing up of the Senator, simply on a principle that it is prime agricultural land and I just do not believe we should be rezoning it.  However, I urge the Assembly and I urge the Government and I urge the Connétable and the Parishes to ensure that whenever we are carrying out these kinds of consultations and these processes and projects, that we make it absolutely clear to the Islanders that will be affected what the likelihood is of success and what the likelihood is of failure and why.  Because, that is clearly what has not been done here and that is clearly the problem and that is why, I think, we are having this debate at all. 

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Thank you, Deputy.  Shortly before the adjournment, a question was asked of the Solicitor General by Senator Moore.  Are you in a position to answer it now, Solicitor General? 

The Solicitor General:

Yes, I am.  In relation to Senator Moore’s question, if we look at her proposition, it refers to the revised 2011 Island Plan and the States are requested to agree that the Minister for the Environment be requested to bring forward, subject to the provisions of the Planning Law of 2002, a draft revision of the Island Plan and then it asks for a change to page 247 of the existing Island Plan.  So, the proposition is subject, obviously, to the Planning Law of 2002 and the Planning Law contains requirements in Article 3 and also Article 4(a) in relation to the preparation of the draft Island Plan and Article 3 expressly also applies to a revision of the Island Plan.  So, in my view, if this proposition were to be passed, it would apply to the revision that is requested of the Minister to the existing Island Plan.  Then the Minister has to, by Order, prescribe his proposals in relation to the revision of the Island Plan and there are certain minimum requirements as to what that Order should contain.  There has to be provision for the revision to be publicised and for representations to be provided by members of the public.  So, that is a minimum requirement in terms of any ... there has got to be a proper process for consideration of a draft revision.  There is an existing 2009 Order, which is called The Planning and Building Island Plan (Jersey) Order 2009, which is a detailed Order, which sets out in quite significant detail procedural requirements for that 2009 draft Island Plan, as it then was, which includes provision for the appointment of an inspector to consider the draft revision, following representations from the public.  So, it is quite a lengthy and detailed process and it may be that if this proposition was passed, the Minister would have to consider whether he would use the existing 2009 Order, or whether he would issue a specific bespoke Order for this particular revision that is requested.  But, as a minimum though, if he did issue a new bespoke Order, that Order would have to comply with the requirements in Article 3 of the law, so there has to be a proper process for members of the public to make representations and also, basically, for a public hearing of those representations.  So, it does, on its face, seem to me to be quite a lengthy process.  Even if the Assembly were to approve the Senator’s proposition, there would still subsequently be quite a lengthy process for the Minister to go through in relation to issuing a draft revision and then for members of the public to signify their views in relation to that.  The Senator asked also about the existing evidence concerning housing need and, in my view, it would be perfectly appropriate for the Minister to consider the existing evidence of housing need as part of his publishing a revised policy, or proposal, in respect of this particular site.  Having said all that though, if, at the end of this process of rezoning this particular site, then there would have to be a subsequent process for obtaining a development permission.  So, planning permission would need to be applied for and then there would be another process that would have to be gone through in respect of obtaining permission.  It may be that the Minister would appoint an inspector to deal with that particular development application.  Now, I say all this because it may be that having gone through all of those stages in the process, that development permission may not have been obtained at the stage when the new full Island Plan gets started; that the planning process for the new full Island Plan gets started and if the development permission has not been obtained at that stage it seems to me that the whole matter can be considered afresh as part of the arrangements for the new full Island Plan which is due in 2020/21.  Article 1 of the Planning Law of 2002 is quite clear when it refers to an Island Plan; it means the Island Plan approved for the time being by the States.  So, it seems to me that if there is a new Island Plan that comes into place which, if it were to revise the arrangements for this particular site - then that is the authoritative Island Plan for the purposes of the law.  Sorry to give that slightly long-winded answer, but I think there is no other way of communicating the process involved just in rezoning and then in development. 

[14:30]

2.6.19Senator S.Y. Mézec:

I think this debate has been quite tricky and I have certainly found it very difficult to decide which side I should end up falling on for this.  When the Constable of St. Peter brought a similar proposition recently, I had spoken to him and I had made up my mind that I would support that proposition and he put it in the report to his proposition that I would do that.  Then, when he took it to the Parish Assembly and the Parish Assembly made the decision it did, I presumed, well, that is that then.  So, I was a little bit surprised when Senator Moore then brought it back to this Assembly.  But having listened to her opening speech, I have to say that she has almost convinced me to support this and I think, on the balance of things, I will probably vote for this proposition.  It is quite interesting, we do this a lot in this Assembly where we have an overarching issue that there is unanimity on, or close to unanimity and then, when we come to the practical application of something that contributes to that issue, we are divided again.  So, in this case the Island-wide issue is the issue of housing need.  Each of us knows how seriously important that is to the Island.  We have had enough objective statistical information provided to us to know what an issue it is and then we have a specific example of the housing need being attempted to be met and we are divided again.  I cannot help but compare this, in my head, to the debate we had on Ann Court, which was more or less the same thing really, was it not, that everybody agreed, yes, we need extra housing, but not on this occasion for this particular scheme because of X, Y and Z that I do not like.  So, I look at this proposal for St. Peter and I can completely understand why some people have got strong feelings against for particular reasons.  There was a little bit of a debate about the particular format of the scheme, where a village green would, or would not, be part of it.  I think the St. Peter Village is a very nice part of the Island, they have got good facilities and so, if people feel that it would not be enhanced by one particular change to it, I can completely understand that.  The fact that it is an agricultural site, again, I completely understand why some people would feel that it is not appropriate to build on there.  The question has been asked about why can we not look at alternative brownfield sites and, again, I understand that, as well.  But there are things to weigh that up against, you know, the fact that there are not decent brownfield sites close to the Village like this one, so you would not be contributing to the community that there is at the Village and there would not be the infrastructure that you could connect it to.  It would make it more expensive, people would be more likely to drive, rather than be in that area with all of its amenities nearby.  So, that is one thing that I find persuasive in support of this proposal.  The one that I think is probably the toughest that I am interested in hearing Members’ views on and they have expressed views on this point, is this idea of the Parish link, which some feel is quite tenuous and I can understand that as well.  When the Mézecs moved to Jersey, St. Peter was where we lived, so do I have a claim to this when my family lived on St. Peter’s Arsenal, even though I’ve never lived there, versus somebody who may have not lived there very long.  There are all of these things to weigh up, so I understand why there is a perception of discrimination there.  But, let us look at the Housing Gateway; there are other forms of discrimination that are already in the Housing Gateway, the most obvious one being housing qualifications, the fact that you may be in more need that someone who does have housing qualifications and you cannot get on the list.  So, that system, in itself, is imperfect.  It does need to be changed and there are other things we have got to look at with the Housing Gateway, whether that is household income, whether that is housing qualification, whether that is this, this or that, there are other things that have to be looked at here.  But I have to say, there is a degree to which that debate is academic if you do not have the homes for these people to move into.  That is what has concerned me, that we have a waiting list with the Housing Gateway at the moment and I know, as Minister for Children and Housing, that there are lots of people who are in dire need of housing in the social sector, who do not fulfil the criteria, because of where they are set.  But, if we expanded that criteria, there would simply be more people competing for the same number of homes and, as Deputy Tadier alluded to before, there would be no choice in that system and people would not have the freedom that they might otherwise want to live happy lives and have that flexibility.  So, there are problems there.  What I think has persuaded me to fall on the side of supporting this proposition, even though there are plenty of reasons for arguing it may well be imperfect, is the fact that if these homes are provided, then that will alleviate, at least, some housing need that there is on the Island.  Maybe not too much, maybe not as much as we would like, maybe not in the best way that we would like, but it would alleviate at least some.  When we have got such tough discussions ahead of us on addressing housing need, whether that is in building more homes, or whether that is on the regulation side of things.  When I took the stand I did on Ann Court, against my ministerial colleagues there, because I thought this was a scheme that was so far down the road we had to go ahead with it to provide that need, I find it very difficult to justify taking a different position in this instance.  I am uncomfortable voting against what the Parish Assembly decided and I think that is not an ideal position to be in, but I think we have to weigh up the interests of the whole population of the Island when making decisions like this and so I think, on balance, I fall in support of this proposition. 

Senator T.A. Vallois:

Madam, before the next speaker, may I give my intention to invoke Article 84 with regards to a proposal of closing the debate? 

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

A proposal to close the debate needs to be at least 30 minutes before you intend to make it.  So, yes, that is fine. 

Senator T.A. Vallois:

Thank you. 

2.6.20The Connétable of St. Mary:

It was pointed out by Deputy Labey that she is very concerned with criteria required in each Parish in order to get on the list of applicants for a property.  Do we need criteria in each Parish?  The criteria are already Island-wide; we already have that: it is 10 years’ residency.  Should that not matter?  It should not matter if you come from Trinity, or Timbuktu.  The housing crisis affects us all; it is obvious that we need to build more.  We call it affordable housing.  Affordable housing is nonexistent in the present form.  We need to change our method of building to achieve this.  We also need to identify sites that are suitable now, Island-wide.  However, this is a Parish issue.  The Parish of St. Peter electorate have rejected this project.  We have to respect that.  As a Constable, I have to respect that.  If this happened in St. Mary, I would be obliged to support our parishioners also.  So, where are the alternative sites?  This is where our Planning Department should be ahead of the game, having identified sites before they are needed, not wasting time not knowing which way to go when we have a crisis.  I have to respect the wishes of the St. Peter electorate, so I shall be supporting their view, reluctantly, disappointing many people requiring homes.  The whole way in which this has progressed to date seems to have been mismanaged.  We have building contractors ready to commence, yet the basics have not been achieved like securing the site, a cart before the horse situation.  This needs to be right.  Making a possible mistake now, before the Island Plan review, cannot be right.  It may be better to change our view on how we build.  We may need to think seriously of building up rather than out and that type of build is perhaps more suitable to St. Helier and other urban areas.  We need that Island Plan now. 

2.6.21Connétable R.A. Buchanan of St. Ouen:

It is interesting that we have spent a whole day talking about climate emergency and I, for one, am reasonably signed up to that concept.  I think we need to recognise that, in Jersey, we also have a housing emergency and I do not think that is understated and, in part, that is caused by our lack of population control in the past. [Approbation] Unfortunately, or fortunately for us, these people are here now; they have families, they have children and they desperately need houses.  It is our duty to provide that housing to them and I will come on to, a bit later on, how I think that might be possible.  But we cannot escape that problem.  There are families, who are living in pretty poor conditions, with young children and, as a Government, one of our stated aims, as the Senator quite rightly said, is to put children first.  If we do not address the housing situation fairly soon, we are not putting children first, in my view.  For those of us who live in country Parishes there is a further issue and it is one for people of my age; it is headed up Village demographics.  In St. Ouen, we have not had a new village built for some time and sadly, or otherwise, the people that are occupying those houses are pretty much my age - and I am a pensioner - and it does have an impact on the vibrancy of Parish life.  For those people who live in town, it is perhaps not such a problem, because you have a more diverse population.  But it affects things like the Honorary Police and other societies that we try and run, because the people that are coming forward to help us are getting older and older; they are again my age and, to be frank, we are all getting a bit tired.  The other issue I have is that this proposition seriously conflicts me, because St. Ouen has a very long list of first-time buyers and I am constantly being contacted by them to find housing sites in the Parish and to help and I have a great deal of sympathy with them.  So, it is very difficult for me to vote against another country scheme.  However, we have to think very carefully about the Island Plan.  This is the plan that should sort out all these problems and I implore the Minister for the Environment to make it such; it is very important.  Do not underestimate the importance of the Island Plan.  We have a big crisis and we need this plan to sort this out.  I am not particularly keen on doing piecemeal developments, because we need to look holistically at the whole of the Island, to look at all the Island housing sites and make sure that what we are proposing is absolutely correct for the Island and it addresses all the needs that we have.  I really feel sorry for the residents of St. Peter, just the residents of St. Peter who are in a desperate position.  They have been disappointed time and time again and I feel desperately sad for them.  But I think the answer has to lie in the Island Plan and we have to get this right.  We have to address the housing needs and also I think we have to put behind us - and I know I am going to make myself unpopular by saying this - the concept of using greenfield sites.  I do not believe that there are enough alternative sites in this Island to satisfy our housing needs, so we have to think very carefully about compromising our views on greenfield sites.  I know, for some people, that would be a complete anathema.  However, I think we have to reflect on what has happened in the past.  We, as an Assembly and we, as an Island, have allowed people to come into the Island and we have allowed our population to increase and, frankly, we have to accept the consequences of doing that.  We cannot escape those consequences, we cannot bury our heads in the sands of the environment and say: “We cannot desecrate our Island by using greenfields.”  We have to balance this with the needs of people, who need housing.  I think if we do not do that, we are failing these people, but also we have to think very carefully about the environment.  When we build houses in this Island, in the future, they have to be environmentally friendly and there are lots and lots of examples in the U.K. of houses that look wonderful, but are very environmentally friendly and we must insist that we raise our housing standards to those levels.  We have spent a day debating our carbon neutral policy and we must be true to that when we design and look at our building regulations; it is absolutely vital, otherwise, why have we spent a whole day talking about the environment?  We have just wasted that time if we do not do that.  As I said, St. Ouen has an unfortunate history, as well, with housing developments.  Those Members, who were in the previous Assembly, will remember the debate on Field 622, which has painful memories at St. Ouen.  We lost that by a very small margin and there were a lot of very disappointed people in St. Ouen, who will be feeling pretty much the same as the people in St. Peter feel now.  However, I have another difficulty with this and that is voting against the wishes of a Parish Assembly.  Although, in the phrase of Senator Mézec, I might be the Constable of a rotten borough and I say that with tongue in cheek, nevertheless I have a great deal of respect and admiration for democracy and if another Parish has voted and said they do not want this to happen, they want it to go into the Island Plan, then I feel duty bound to at least give that serious consideration and, therefore, I ask Senator Moore to address this point in some depth, because it is a serious consideration for me.  If I vote against the wishes of the Parish of St. Peter, I feel almost that I am letting my own parishioners down by saying I do not respect their democratic process and I do respect their democratic process.  Parish democracy is very important and if the parishioners say they do not want this, they want it to go in the Island Plan, then that is their stated view and we have to respect that.  For me, it is going to be a very difficult decision which way I vote.  I have not made my mind up.  I have listened very carefully to Senator Mézec, who outlined some very sensible reasons why I should support this plan. 

[14:45]

But, as a Parish Constable, I feel myself seriously conflicted by going against the wishes of my friendly neighbourhood Parish of St. Peter, which we have incredibly good relations with.  So, I will wait to hear what the Senator says in her summing up and I shall then make my mind up which way I am going to vote. 

2.6.22The Connétable of St. Brelade:

I am pleased to follow the last speaker, whose views I tend to share in many ways.  I do not think there is anyone in this Assembly that does not support the principle of supplying additional housing for those in need in the Island.  We have, however, a degree of juxtaposition in that the proposition before us today asks us to rezone greenfield land.  Is this conditional on 65 houses being built on the site?  If so, this is then, surely, a planning application and then, of course, other things come into the discussion, such as infrastructure, cars going down Beaumont Hill, sewage supplies and so on; and I think the proposer did underplay some of that in the proposition as set before us.  I do not consider we should be looking at this proposition on a standalone basis.  The proposer has alluded to the Manor Farm site being developed as a brownfield development, but we do not know how many houses will result from that, or indeed any other sites which may surface in the area.  The timescale for those waiting for property will, I am led to believe, not be much different - and I take that from the words of the Solicitor General just now - to that if we adhere to the correct processes and follow the Island Plan and consider the whole area in a proper holistic way, as my predecessor speaking just mentioned.  I sympathise with those on the list becoming exasperated with the complex processes we have created and the detail which the proposer has laid out certainly confirms that.  I also admire the former Connétable of St. Peter for being so tenacious in trying to enable this development.  I agree with his aspirations, but am inclined to feel that we must use the proper processes to achieve them.  In saying that, I would urge the Minister for the Environment to treat the matter with urgency, once the Island Plan discussions have been concluded.   

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Does any other Member wish to speak?  Very well, if no other Members wish to speak, I call upon Senator Moore to reply. 

2.6.23Senator K.L. Moore:

Thank you to all the Members who have taken part in what has been a really good and thoughtprovoking debate.  I am grateful to Members for taking part and approaching it in the way that they have.  There has been a lot of encouraging language during the debate, which I have taken heart from and as it is the Centenary of Women’s Suffrage this year, I would like to remind Members of the Assembly of one simple phrase: “Deeds not words.”  It is easy to apply words to give sympathy and to discuss and debate something.  But, what we are here to do is deliver action for our community, to respond to the need that we all acknowledge is there and to find a solution that will change people’s lives.  So please, Members, when you go to vote, think about your deeds and not words.  The Minister for the Environment was very encouraging and I must commend him for his proposals to accelerate the Island Plan process, for which I am grateful.  Call me impatient, though, but I do want to see the Assembly deliver sooner.  We have resources and we have a precedent behind revising the Island Plan.  A 10-year plan is subject to review and revision and it has been in the past; we have seen it in 2008 and 2014, so why not in 2019, because we need to respond to the need of our community; it is an absolutely viable and reasonable thing to do.  The problem with, of course, waiting for the Island Plan process and however compressed that process becomes, it will still be further down the track of any development and conclusion of this process if the Assembly is minded to support me today.  That time difference makes a difference to a child who, for example, could be born today and it also makes a difference for the people who might one day live in those homes.  For example, one of the couples who are on the list, the husband is 53 years old.  So, that man will be 55 in 2 years’ time and will have little, if any, opportunity to have a mortgage.  It is an important point to consider, I think.  It was really important also that we discussed sustainability, absolutely right to do so, particularly given the positive steps that the Assembly has taken this week.  Firstly, farming is an essential part of Island life and hopefully, now we have an increasing understanding of sustainability, more people will be seeking to source locally-grown produce and that is an excellent thing, something that I commend.  But farming is a difficult business.  There is a lot of capital tied up in producing those goods and those goods are also under heavy price pressure.  In the past, there was a policy within the Island Plan to allow greater leeway, so that farmers could approach the Planning Department with development opportunities that would support the viability of their operation.  I highlighted one such project, that was delivered for another farm, in my proposition, so I will not go into that detail again.  The policy, of course, no longer exists, but farms do still need to be viable in order to continue.  Yes, the act of building on a greenfield does appear contrary to our wish to address the climate emergency, but we do have to also address the need of our population too.  Just next door to this site are the Queen’s Jubilee Homes, another site that was conceived, the idea was conceived by the previous Constable and also brought to a solution, where 14 units of accommodation now provide really happy and comfortable homes for over-55s.  Those homes are environmentally friendly in that they have met the highest of insulation requirements and they are also fuelled by air-source heat pumps, which caused some difficulties when people first moved in, but they have grown to love them and they live and enjoy the warm and comfortable surroundings that they achieved in those homes.  So, there are plenty of sustainable building methods available in our community now and absolutely it is important that if this plan gets to further progress in the planning stage, that some opportunity is taken and some importance is given to delivering a greener home.  The other important aspect of sustainability in this particular site is that it is in the centre of the community; therefore, it has easy access, not only to the road, but the shop, the church, the pubs and also the other people living in and around the community, so there are fewer reasons to be getting in a car and making a journey somewhere, because everything is available on foot and also there is easy access to an excellent cycle route, which I can vouch for myself, as I use it regularly.  There are also not queues of people wanting to enter farming, so we also have to consider how we assist those who do wish to remain in farming.  If Members recall, earlier in my opening speech I reminded them that in 1982 there were 245 dairy herds in the Island and by the end of this year there will be 13.  Deputy Perchard rightly asked about the other sites and I did share with Members a grid that was developed by the Parish Working Group.  So, this grid shows 8 different sites that were looked at and they were each categorised, due to various different elements.  Particularly in and around the issue of sustainability, for example, they were categorised as to whether they were on a bus route, whether there was access to mains services, close to the shops and amenities, to avoid sprawl, or ribbon development and away from airport noise.  This site was by far the best placed sites of those sites that were considered and so that is why, following a Parish consultation process and 3 Parish Assembly votes, the parishioners agreed that, on balance, this was, in their view, the best site that was available to them to deliver on the need.  There are also, and I mentioned in my opening speech - that I will recall again to assist Members - 2 brownfield sites where building will begin in St. Peter: just down at Beaumont, on the old Jersey Post site where 72 one and 2-bedroom flats are due to be built and then at the top of Mont Fallu at the old Broadlands site, where 18 one and 2-bedroom flats and 18 2-bedroom houses will be delivered on brownfield sites.  But they will, of course, be sold on the open market and so will not be as affordable as this project could be.  It is, of course, uncomfortable that I have brought the proposition that the Constable of the Parish had withdrawn and, of course, I touched upon that in the opening speech and I would like to do so again.  Please, Members, do not forget that the Parish Assembly has voted on 3 separate occasions in support of the site and the delivery of homes.  What, at the last and most recent vote, they voted against was pursuing the proposition which I am today bringing.  So, on that same evening they supported the continuation of the planning application and the ultimate goal of supplying those homes, but following the advice that they were given on the night, which I dispute, the decision was taken to allow it to wait for the Island Plan process.  But my reason for bringing this to you Assembly Members today is not because I want to flout a Parish Assembly and call this a higher authority to that of a Parish Assembly - I greatly admire the traditions of our democracy and I do not take lightly any opportunity to disregard that - that is absolutely not what is at the heart of my proposition today.  What I do think is important for this Assembly, as an Island-wide authority, is to address the need and that is why I am asking Members today to consider that need and to consider the time and the impact on families in the Island of delay.  I do feel that it is worthy of this debate and, again, I am grateful to Members for the very well-considered debate that we have had.  It is not, of course, a speculative development opportunity.  This is a community project with a win/win in my view.  It delivers much needed homes and assists one of our traditional industries.  Because the Parish has worked with Andium from the very start, families will be assessed independently through the Housing Gateway, which does not happen in other places.  I absolutely accept the points about diversity and inclusion that have been raised.  Deputy Higgins coined the phrase geographical apartheid’, which is absolutely not the intention of the criteria as they were specified.  I think the inclusion of having close Parish links was one with which the ethos was maintaining the community aspect of the project and having some respect for that but, of course, people could have connections and ties with the community for very many reasons: they may work at the airport, or in St. Peter’s Technical Park.  There are a good deal of reasons to have that connection, but, also, it is not an absolute necessity for entry on to the scheme and that is the other good thing about using the independent Gateway process, that there is that third view and there is a check and balance over the process.  I hope that can give Members a little more comfort on that point, because I have to say, personally, I do sympathise with the concerns and it is right that we discuss them here and we drive to find solutions and encourage people to be aware of the issues behind them. 

[15:00]

It is a matter of regret that I have to bring this proposition in the first place to the Assembly and I thank Members for their time.  The Parish process of consulting with residents, identifying sites and agreeing decisions through the Parish Assembly was, in fact, complimented by planning officials and held up as a blueprint for other Parishes to work to, if they had similar schemes.  Some argue that the young families of our Island have a desire, not a need, to buy an affordable home, that people cannot expect to simply be able to buy a home, without having worked hard.  I would like to quote the chief executive of Citizen’s Advice Jersey, who said to me: “We have seen clients, who are wanting to get on the housing ladder and aspire to the dream of home ownership only to be dismayed by the rate at which house prices have climbed in recent times, meaning that the dream slips further away from them, with each passing month.  In my view, supply must be increased to meet demand to help stabilise prices and guarantee a future in Jersey for our young people.”  Now, last weekend, Senator Pallett, Senator Mézec, Deputy Ward and myself joined about 300 people who walked into light for Sanctuary Trust.  That charity, of which Senator Pallett and myself are trustees, gives support and shelter to men who face homelessness.  We raised over £10,000, which will directly benefit the aims of that charity.  What I have learnt through my work with the charity is how very close many people in this community are to homelessness.  Many households are a pay cheque away from destitution.  The cost of living is such that having little, if anything, left at the end of the month is set aside for savings and this is a fact for people of many walks of life; a wide variety of people, including architects and estate agents, who have found themselves with nowhere else to go but Sanctuary House.  The high and inflationary cost of housing in our Island is one of the contributing factors to this situation and speakers today have demonstrated their understanding of those issues and acknowledged that we do have a housing crisis.  So, this debate is an attempt to make a small step towards resolving that crisis.  If we do not begin to take action, we will have an economic crisis also, because the Island will grind to a halt, due to a lack of people with the skills that we need.  We saw just this week another day of strike for our teachers and this issue of the supply of housing and the cost of housing is one of their core arguments.  The majority of Members here today have been able to make that leap from renting, to owning, their own home and I ask them, before they vote, to cast their mind back to that moment when they stepped into their home for the first time.  What did it mean for them?  How has it changed their lives and does it feel right to block another hard-working young family from taking the same lifetime opportunity?  The majority have also pledged to put children first.  So, today, Members have a chance to do just that and I ask Members to please vote for this proposition and take a small step to delivering on that pledge.  I call for the appel

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Very well.  The appel has been called.  I ask Members to return to their seats and I ask the Greffier to open the voting.

POUR: 9

 

CONTRE: 27

 

ABSTAIN: 2

Senator K.L. Moore

 

Senator S.C. Ferguson

 

Connétable of St. Peter

Senator S.W. Pallett

 

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré

 

Connétable of St. Martin

Senator S.Y. Mézec

 

Senator T.A. Vallois

 

 

Connétable of St. Saviour

 

Connétable of St. Helier

 

 

Connétable of St. Ouen

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

 

Deputy M. Tadier (B)

 

Connétable of St. John

 

 

Deputy of St. Ouen

 

Connétable of St. Mary

 

 

Deputy J.H. Perchard (S)

 

Deputy J.A. Martin (H)

 

 

Deputy C.S. Alves (H)

 

Deputy G.P. Southern (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of Grouville

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.C. Lewis (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy M.R. Higgins (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.J. Pinel (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Martin

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Mary

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Young (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy L.B. Ash (C)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.F. Morel (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy G.C.U. Guida (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Deputy of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. John

 

 

 

 

Deputy M.R. Le Hegarat (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.M. Ahier (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy R.J. Ward (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.G. Pamplin (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy I. Gardiner (H)

 

 

 

3.Proposed Government Plan 2020-23: increase in revenue expenditure on the arts, heritage and culture (P.40/2019)

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

The final item for debate today is the proposition of Deputy Tadier, Proposed Government Plan 202023 and I ask the Greffier to read the proposition. 

The Assistant Greffier of the States:

The States are asked to decide whether they are of opinion to agree that States revenue expenditure on the arts, heritage and culture should be increase in the proposed Government Plan 2020-23, so that it reaches a target of 1 per cent of overall States revenue expenditure by 2022; and to request the Council of Ministers to take the steps necessary to achieve this target in bringing forward the Government Plan. 

3.1Deputy M. Tadier:

Thank you for reading that out.  I know Members will have all experienced a long wait and I think we have got through a lot of business and had some good debates here.  As my part of the bargain, I will keep this to the maximum of 10 minutes; I have got my stopwatch on and I have got a maximum of 10 points that I am going to make in my opening remarks, to try and keep this concise.  That is not to undermine the importance that I attach to this issue and I know that others feel the same.  The first thing I want to do is to pay tribute to the many organisations that we have in Jersey, whether they come under the umbrella of direct, or indirect, funding from our Assembly and the Government, or whether they are independent and self-funded, because there are so many groups in Jersey, whether it is in the Parishes, whether it is under the auspices of funded organisations, or just community groups, which do so much in the Island.  I have also circulated the strategic review, which was commissioned by my predecessor, Deputy Norton, before he left the post and Members will know that I fought - I am not going to say very hard, but it was not a given that this report was going to be published, shall we say, to keep it polite - but I asked for it to be published, first of all because the findings and recommendations of that were key.  Secondly, because I feel and I know others do, that there is no point in commissioning reports if they are going to sit on the shelf to gather dust when the recommendations in them - and in this case they are very good recommendations, are very well-founded - if they are just going to be ignored.  That report, in itself, cost about £40,000, so it is important that we at least listen to what it says and try and enact the recommendations in that.  So, I would like to pay tribute, in particular, to the organisations that do come under the States remit to some degree and they have really been doing good work and in many cases it has been despite the Government interactions that they have, not because of it.  That is not to undermine the fact that Government already does quite a lot and gives a significant amount of money to these organisations.  But the statistics do not lie and in my proposition it is quite clear how, over the last 7 or 8 years, in a period from 2010 to 2016, the funding collectively to these groups has been frozen and that is a trend that we have seen, of course, not just for them, but in the public sector and elsewhere.  We know that if we do not invest in our organisations, whether it is in housing stock, whether it is in our workforce, or whether it is in these culture, arts and heritage organisations, it ultimately gets to a point where there will be problems and that is what we have seen very much in the last year or 2.  Members, who were elected for the first time and others who faced re-election recently, but anyone who was a candidate would have received the joint letter from those 3 or 4 organisations, saying that things had got very difficult and, in the Jersey context, we know that these are organisations that do not complain easily.  They felt compelled to write to candidates and potential States Members, because the situation had got so desperate.  That was the backdrop and many candidates, including those who were elected, saying yes, they would support the arts, culture and heritage sector for more funding into the future. 

[15:15]

So, that is why I am bringing this now.  I would direct Members’ attention to recommendation 18 of the report, which can be found in my proposition.  It clearly says that we should be getting to a position of defining a fixed percentage, a proportion of the government budget, an appropriate amount that we can allocate to this area.  It compares to other comparable jurisdictions.  So, clearly for Jersey we would not normally be comparing ourselves to the U.K., or to Europe.  Similar jurisdictions, like the Isle of Man and Malta, which are small islands, they spend a lot more than even the European average on arts funding.  But the European average, which is a modest benchmark, is one per cent and, therefore, that is the reason that I have chosen that one per cent, which is also in line with the recommendation of the BOP report.  So, moving on to my fifth point, as we come up to the fifth minute of my self-imposed time allowance.  What I am quite surprised about and I will put this on record: first of all, I have really enjoyed working with the Assistant Minister and the Minister up until now and I know I will do so in the future, because I know that, ultimately, we share the same goals.  I know that the Chief Minister also shares the same goals of making sure that all of these organisations in the sector are funded adequately, but the question is how do we get to that point.  The Minister has written 2 reasons.  I note the words that he says: “I am nevertheless reluctant to support this.”  It is not the usual comment that we are given that: “I strongly urge Members not to support this.”  The Minister is reluctant to support this for only 2 reasons.  The first is that he said he is concerned that the one per cent target would be an arbitrary measure, based on statistics that do not take into account Jersey’s specific circumstances.  Well, firstly, it is not an arbitrary figure, it is a figure that came out of a lengthy report that his department commissioned before I got into the job that cost £40,000, that looked at the Jersey context specifically and then which said: “You should increase your funding, because you’ve got a £2.3 million shortfall.”  That is the figure that also was not increased over that 6 or 7-year period.  “You need to do that and if you get up to one per cent of government spending, that is how you will solve the shortfall.”  So, it is effectively something that if we had kept up with R.P.I. (Retail Price Index) we would be at that point anyway, so it is something we should have been doing, anyway.  So, the first point that the Minister makes is incorrect; it is not an arbitrary figure, it is a well-founded figure which is specific to the Jersey context.  The second point he makes is that a fixed percentage is perhaps not the right way to go, saying that: “It may be too much, or it might be too little.”  He makes the strange argument that what happens if we need more than one per cent of government funding of the overall budget.  My proposition does not preclude that.  I am not suggesting it is ever going to happen, I would like to just get to the one per cent over the next 3-year period, but if we need to do more then by all means I would be happy for the Minister to say: “Yes, have more than one per cent.”  But, certainly, at the moment I will settle for that one per cent.  Now, the other reason I think going around is one of process and we have heard that so many times: “This is not the right time to be doing this.  There is a process to go through, bids have been submitted.”  That is also in the comments.  Interestingly, I have not seen any of those bids that have gone in.  I am supposed to be the Assistant Minister with delegated responsibility for this sector, but I have not seen those bids.  I think they were submitted before my suspension, anyway, so there is no reason that I would not see them.  This underlies the fact of the way the system is currently operating, that we do not have any sight often of the things that go in and it is very difficult.  I have told Members, in the past, so I do not need to repeat that, of the very strange covert and laborious process that is then handed over to the Minister for Treasury and Resources.  It is then within the largesse of Treasury and often, perhaps, even higher up than that, to decide which bids get accepted and which bids do not.  In the meantime, as I said, 4 months into this year we are already in a situation where some of the organisations have only just had their funding secured.  Again, that is often, because I have been there beating the drum for them to make sure that they have got at least some of the funding that they were asking for in the bids and by no means all of those bids are secure.  So, the point I am making is that if we rely on the process we cannot rely on the process.  It is a case, as Deputy Martin would say, of jam tomorrow and my concern is that we are going to hear from the other Ministers saying that: “Well, the way to do this is to come back, put your bids in and then, hopefully, you will get them.  If you do not get them, then you can put amendments into the budget.”  I can assure you, that is what will happen, we will not get the bids.  I will have to come back and put bids into the budget.  Presumably, now my Minister and the Assistant Minister will have to support it at that point, because their process will have failed and it is just a big waste of time for everybody.  Now, as I approach the last 40 seconds of my allocated time, I would like to bring it back full circle and say we have spent, I think, a worthwhile week in this Assembly.  We started off debating the environment and, clearly, I will not be able to cover all the points I want, but the point I want to make is that it is going to be so important over the next years to invest in our community in so many ways.  There are going to be tough times, there are going to be lifestyle changes and one of the key things we need to do is build resilience in our local community and in order to do that we need to invest in culture, arts and heritage.  This money will stay in the Island.  There is an economic driver which others can talk about and I am about to sit down because, ladies and gentlemen, that is 10 minutes. 

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Is the proposition seconded? [Seconded] There is obviously a lot of interest in heritage and culture.  Quick off the mark was Deputy Young, I saw your light first. 

3.1.1Deputy J.H. Young:

Thank you for the Deputy’s ... I am going to break his expectation.  He says he is going to have Ministers jumping up opposing him.  Absolutely not and I had better declare an interest.  I was Chairman of the Jersey Arts Centre and Treasurer for many years before I was a States Member.  So, I do not think that is a conflict of interest, but I have seen first-hand how the arts have been dramatically underfunded - arts and heritage - in this Island, for decades.  I think the figures on page 3 absolutely show it.  2010 to 2016, look at the underfunding there and I know how those organisations struggle, but are those organisations populated with civil servants?  No, they are not, they are populated with voluntary people, people who are putting in incredible efforts above and beyond to keep the ... and, of course, we have got a fantastic creative skill community and as an Island community we have to be more self-sufficient about the arts and culture.  So, I think Deputy Tadier has done a real service.  You know, I am impatient and this is the case, but I am not going to wait for the C.S.P. (Common Strategic Policy), I am going to speak for it.  Let us set a target and let us go for it.  I have always had a puzzle, and I did say when I was working with the wonderful community of the arts, at the comparison with sport.  I love sport and I go to Jersey Rugby and I enjoy it.  But I was thinking, you know, very quickly we found £150,000 to bail out the Jersey Rugby Club, which was well-justified and has given an economic benefit.  But, can you imagine the system responding positively to the arts and heritage like that?  Oh, no, they scratch around for the odd £5,000, or £10,000.  It is absolutely ridiculous and so I want to see things change, because this is a case for investment.  Somehow or another the penny has never seemed to drop that investing in this sector gives economic benefit, because people will come to the Island to enjoy our facilities and I want to see it go further.  This is revenue support, but I want to see a new cultural centre, capital investment in Jersey.  A cultural centre where we can have things like the art gallery and what have you, an additional facility and it would be a wonderful place and a great addition to our offering for visitors who come to Jersey.  I think we are so fortunate.  This is a tough one, so well done and I think it is a case your suspension has done us all a favour. [Laughter] [Approbation] Come forward with it and I will back you up; I am for this. 

3.1.2Deputy R. Labey:

Let us all enforce a voluntary 10-minute at the most speech on this fantastic proposition by Deputy Tadier, who has played a blinder.  This is perfect, it is fair, it is appropriate and it is going to do so much good; and we can afford it and we must afford it, because, as Deputy Young has said, per capita the amount spent on sport as per culture and the arts is a huge variance.  I do not begrudge any of the money spent on sport, it is very important.  People say: “Well, of course, it is important, because of the body and the mind.”  But culture is also important for the mind and the soul.  I love sport.  I play darts and I love a frame of snooker, so I am not anti-sport.  Be in no doubt that when we talk about arts and culture, we inevitably start talking about the Opera House and it is much more than that.  It is the Battle of Flowers, that is culture.  That is people of all ages, of a community, coming together in an artistic creative endeavour and you know, Madam, yourself because you designed those beautiful panels for Trinity Parish Church.  Yes, a lot of Members did not know that [Approbation] and they are award winning.  But it is about the people coming together in a great endeavour, that is so important.  If we lose that I mean that is really ... we talk about the importance of the Parishes and clubs and societies coming together, doing that is vital.  It is art, it is culture, it is so important.  But be in no doubt, Members, that our Opera House and our Arts Centre are massively - as compared with the U.K. - under-funded and the people working in both the Arts Centre and the Opera House are fantastic.  They are working over hours.  They are tremendous and, obviously, the Opera House had a massive issue financially a few years back and it had to be put back on track and the people working there have done that and they are having to put on a diet - and there is nothing wrong with this, there is a place for it - but it is mainly a diet of tribute acts and comics, because they are working within such tight financial constrictions.  But, there has to be payback.  You can bank some credit with doing these crowd pleasers and there is nothing wrong with them and I go to them, we all go to them and it is good.  I love trash.  I am not saying it is trash, but I do love a good bit of trash.  But the payback is we have to provide some culture and there is very little live theatre and they need help with that.  It is difficult and it is risky and we have that water and it is hard and expensive to bring stuff over.  The problem is, as we keep on going with no live theatre, or such little live theatre, in the Island, people get out of the habit of going to the theatre.  So, tonight, I am going to see Sir Ian McKellen and he is sold out, both tonight and tomorrow night and those are not people going because it is Gandalf coming to the Opera House - I will check tonight - but I think it is people going to see King Lear and Richard III and our greatest classical actor of his generation.  There is a hunger for good theatre and we must help those fantastic people at the Opera House and the Arts Centre in providing it and getting people back into the habit of going back to the theatre.  We have had a really productive 4 days and we have had emotional and difficult arguments and debates to be had among one another and we have fallen out a bit, but we all respect the fact that each of us in this Assembly is representing the views of the people we serve.  Sometimes, it is difficult, because we are opposed to one another, but we all go into the coffee room and have a coffee together and we fall out, but we are a great bunch of people.  It is one of the best bits of the job for me and it may be unpopular, it may be difficult for people outside this Assembly to understand it, but we will get on and respect one another, because we all are cognisant of what we are doing here and the people we represent.  Let us end this marathon session of the Assembly on a high.  This is a win-win-win from Deputy Tadier.  Please support it.

3.1.3The Connétable of St. Martin:

How do I follow that?  I am delighted that Deputy Tadier has brought this proposition to the Assembly and I wholeheartedly support increasing the funding of arts, heritage and culture and urge every Member of the Assembly to do the same.  As an Island, we place a great deal of emphasis on our shared history, our unique language, our traditions and our community spirit.  However, if we wish to preserve these assets, we need to ensure that the financial resources are there to fund the initiatives and projects that keep them alive.  It is all well and good to say that we are proud of the art and culture produced by Islanders, but if we are unable to adequately fund key parts of Island life, such as the Arts Centre and the Opera House, then what good are we really doing, aside from uttering hollow words and false pretences.  We are largely keeping the performing arts alive, thanks to the dedication of individuals such as Daniel Austin, who runs the Arts Centre on a shoestring budget and works out of a decaying building. [Approbation] For an Island only 9 by 5, we do not only boast a rich cultural heritage, but we also have such an abundance of talent to be proud of.  Jersey punches far above its weight with talent encompassing everything from performing arts, music, visual arts, the list goes on.  Over the years I have constantly been associated with art, in one form or another.  Most recently, I have been a committee member of the Jersey branch of the Art Fund for the last 20 years, stepping down as chair when I entered the States last year.  We brought over lecturers from the Royal Academy, the National Gallery, the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery and even the Natural History Museum, to name but a few.  If we had no arts venues, there would have been no lectures, we would have no membership and we have had a very thriving membership and given enjoyment to hundreds, probably thousands, over the years.  Art impacts positively on people’s lives.  Mental health is much talked about at the moment.  It is proven that access to the arts, in its many forms - whether it be actively singing, painting, dancing or acting, or whether it is in the more passive form of watching, whether a play, going to a concert, or partaking in group theatre - has a beneficial effect on mental well-being.  Underfunding arts and culture means that we gradually lose a community spirit many of us so heavily value and the programmes that help sustain it.  I would like to stress that, most importantly, this proposition is less a significant increase in funding than it is Jersey simply coming into line with the European average and more successfully fulfilling a vital part of this Government’s duty to its citizens.  As elected representatives, it is our duty to ensure that the Government provides a number of public goods and utilities to maintain a healthy Island.  This must include funding the arts and culture, to help Islanders live happier and more social lives, perhaps while gaining a deeper appreciation of Jersey and its past.  Please give the arts, heritage and culture, the funding they so desperately and rightly deserve.  I urge all Members to vote in favour of this proposition. 

3.1.4The Deputy of Grouville:

I am likely to incur the wrath of some of my fellow Ministers here, but I am going to wholeheartedly support Deputy Tadier and I think it is a wonderful initiative that is brought forward here.  I am a keen supporter of arts, heritage, Island identity, our culture and it needs to be maintained and it needs to be enhanced.  I was the politician who brought the first culture strategy to the States and with it there was great hope and enthusiasm for the future of what that might bring about.  However, unfortunately, the area of responsibility has been starved of finance to do anything and it is so unfair on this particular community, because they are grappling with leaking roofs and scaffolding on buildings and I realise that the maintenance has now been moved to one side, but what they are left with is next to nothing.  They can barely open their doors and that is really not fair.  It might be considered that to demand a one per cent of revenue, as the Deputy is doing here, is a bit drastic; however, I happen to feel it is the only way this area of responsibility is ever going to get funded.  It has been with the remit of Economic, Sport and Culture, in that order and in that order it remained.  The economic side of that department got the lion’s share of everything, sport and culture at the bottom.  So, this is a really good initiative and if anyone wants to look at what culture and investing in culture and the arts can do, then go and visit the Guggenheim in New York, go to visit Barcelona, go and see even Cuba, the public art offering in Cuba is magnificent.

[15:30]

So, yes, this is the only way the good Deputy is going to get any reasonable funding for this area of responsibility, so I will be wholeheartedly supporting it.

3.1.5Deputy S.J. Pinel of St. Clement:

Many Members of this Assembly will be very aware that I am a committed and vocal advocate for the arts, culture and heritage sector.  As a picture restorer for some 30 years, a trustee of Jersey Heritage Trust for 10 years, a member of the Art Fund, et cetera, I would like nothing more, as Minister for Treasury and Resources, to increase funding in this area.  However, my role carries with it a legal obligation to ensure that the public finances of Jersey are regulated, controlled and supervised, in accordance with the Public Finances Law; hopefully, soon to be replaced by an even stronger law.  The Public Finances Law sets out a process by which this Assembly allocates our limited resources, to enable us to deliver our agreed priorities.  I can only endorse the comments presented by my colleague, the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, which I hope Members have read.  There is a time to consider how we prioritise our resources and that time is the Government Plan debate.  That is where we balance all the competing demands and arrive at a solution, which achieves the best affordable result across the board.  If we arbitrarily set spending targets for areas like arts, culture and heritage and no doubt follow that up with other equally worthy areas, what do we do when we find the numbers do not add up?  Do we squeeze education spending, or health, or maintenance of our buildings, or just raise taxes?  I understand Deputy Tadier’s intentions and totally sympathise with them, but I simply cannot support his proposal as to how he achieves his aims.  I regret that I cannot support this proposition.

3.1.6The Connétable of St. Ouen:

Firstly, a word of warning to the Minister for Treasury and Resources, much as I respect and like and am friends with her, please do not leave the cash tin on the table, because in this proposition, I think, you might find it gets raided.  But, being more serious, we should be embarrassed with ourselves; Deputy Tadier’s proposition highlights some excellent figures.  In comparison with the Isle of Man, our expenditure on culture and heritage is almost half. I mean, that is disgraceful.  If you look at Malta compared with us and I have visited Malta many times and they have a rich cultural heritage in the same way that we do.  They suffered badly during the war and they have a long cultural heritage stretching back to the time of the Greeks.  They are very proud of their heritage and they have some wonderful museums and displays and their expenditure is 2.2 per cent of their budget, compared with only 0.68 per cent of ours.  Do we not have the same cultural heritage as Malta, I ask and I think the answer is very firmly yes, we do; and we are rightly proud of it.  So, I think, looking at the numbers, we should be rightly ashamed of ourselves about where we are.  Deputy Tadier’s proposition is very worthy.  Bringing it more to home, I currently have been working on a Maritime Museum project where the Island had the opportunity to acquire some very valuable drawings and, frankly, the money was not there, so those drawings have gone to the National Maritime Museum in the U.K. and it is our loss that there was no money to do this.  You also need to bear in mind - not only the figures that we have in here and if we look at the current state of heritage in the Island and arts - if it was not for corporate sponsorship from the finance industry, this position would be an awful lot worse.  The corporate sponsors have been very generous, putting their hands in their pockets and have supported many worthy projects in this Island, which, frankly, we as a Government should be supporting.  If that had not happened, we would be a lot poorer for it.  So, in closing, we have a long proud heritage, which we should rightly display.  In terms of our reason for being as an Island and our mark in the world, our cultural heritage is a very important part of that.  We should support this proposition, because the payback will be enormous.  Finally, I have great trepidation always following Deputy Labey as a speaker, he is not here now, but he must be preparing his thespian lines for another speech, but I totally echo his sentiment and I, for one, will be supporting this, wholeheartedly.

3.1.7The Connétable of St. John:

Absolutely brilliant idea; however, we have responsibilities and that is to ensure that, not just individual items, but the whole package, the whole budget, is correctly spent right across the board.  We cannot preselect particular hobbies, prior to the Government Plan; we must wait for the Government Plan.  We must put our bids in and then all the bids can be considered, so that everybody gets a share of the money.  Invariably, many departments will feel that their share is not as big as it should be.  We all have that problem, in every walk of life.  There is only so much money.  But I will fight for additional money in the arts; yes, it is underfunded and I can see the Minister for Treasury and Resources nodding her head; she, too, will fight for additional funds.  But, I am sorry, this is not the way.  We cannot go into a Government Plan on the budgets and expenditure into the future with one hand tied behind our back.  We have already got this amount of money, this amount of money, that amount of money, spent and earmarked.  We have got to have a clean sheet of paper and start from the beginning and treat everybody with the respect that they deserve.  I will support additional funding to the arts, but I will not support this proposition.

3.1.8Deputy L.B.E. Ash:

It is really just a question to Deputy Tadier, who is obviously a great lover of the arts.  He wants more funding and there is nothing wrong with that, but how does he reconcile this love for the arts with his wish to get rid of the Constables?

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Is that your speech?

3.1.9The Connétable of St. Saviour:

There you are and I follow as a Constable and as a Constable who has been through just about everything. I have worked at Hamptonne Country Life Museum for years talking about the history of the Island, I have done shows at the Opera House, I have done shows at the Arts Centre and when I was 7 years old I did a show called Whitehall Sin at the Forum, which is now knocked down and at the age of 74 I am still helping front of house and backstage.  Children, who come to a Christmas pantomime, it is normally their first introduction to the theatre and it is so important.  I do not care, being a Constable, what I do.  I do not see where I fit in with your thing, other than I am supporting it, sweetheart, I really do not.  I will have a word with Deputy Ash afterwards, to find out why, because at my age I just [Laughter] ... yes, I shall stir it, because it is so important to have a theatre, it absolutely is.  I have done a lot of shows for Deputy Labey and they were wonderful.

Deputy R. Labey:

You were brilliant.

The Connétable of St. Saviour:

I know, thank you. [Laughter] But, seriously, I am dyslexic and a lot of people do not realise that.  I know the team that I am on with Scrutiny, they realise it, because I had to have everything written down and I have to make sure that I can read it, because I cannot do it on the computers.  But, being dyslexic, I have done some fabulous shows and we have packed them in and, as I said, the first introduction to the theatre is a pantomime and the children should be allowed to do this.  When I worked at Hamptonne - I must have worked at Hamptonne for about 9 or 10 years - and the people used to come to listen to the culture and the history of Jersey and we used to flower it a little bit.  Every time you mentioned Guernsey, you would spit and you would say: “Guernsey is on fire.”  But it all added ... no, seriously and they did realise that there was a little bit of awkwardness between Jersey and Guernsey and I would say: “Yes, we supported King Charles and they went the other way with Cromwell.  No good.  Stay with the Royals.”  And I apologise again, like I had to yesterday.  No, but seriously, we need to fund these things.  My chef in the police force, he is a great big wheel and a worker in the Arts Centre and I know how hard he works and how down he gets, sometimes, for the amount of funding that they get, which is miniscule.  I worked hard with the late Francis Hamon to make sure that the Opera House was kept alive, we had tea dances, we had all sorts, to help fund.  So, they sold piano keys, so that we could keep the Opera House.  Other people, who had a theatre like we have, would be thrilled, they would not have us all selling off bits and pieces to try to keep it going.  That is ludicrous; we should be ashamed of ourselves.  I know we have had a laugh, but we really should be ashamed of ourselves.  The Eisteddfods are held at the Opera House and the people, who come to judge the thing, think how it is absolutely fabulous and are we not lucky to have this theatre.  We have the Arts Centre, which also has different floors and they have paintings and all sorts of things going on there and if a show is not big for the Opera House it can be big in the Arts Centre.  A lot of the dancing schools put things on at the Arts Centre.  Why are we even thinking that we are not going to support the arts in this Island?  I mean this most sincerely, if anybody votes against this one per cent, that the Deputy is asking for, well you need to hang your heads in shame and if I am at the Opera House selling programmes, or down at the Arts Centre, I will make it known that you voted against.  [Laughter]

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

I am not sure whether it is in order to harangue Members into voting in favour of this proposition.

Deputy L.B.E. Ash:

Point of clarification to the Constable of St. Saviour; I was trying to make a play on words with John Constable, it was not ...

The Connétable of St. Saviour:

Excuse me; that was culture of a sort, agriculture and art, but it was culture.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

If we could return to the matter in hand.

Deputy M. Tadier:

May I ask a point of clarification of the last speaker, who made the clarification, can I just note that his point of clarification was longer than his initial speech [Laughter] and that pantomime, clearly, is still very healthy and alive in Jersey.

3.1.10The Connétable of St. Mary:

I am now terrified to follow the Constable of St. Saviour. [Laughter] I think that everyone here loves the arts; I would love to support this.  On the scale of total States budget, this one per cent is just a drop in the ocean, yet I am always being told that we have no money.  So, where is this extra £2.3 million coming from?  This drop in the ocean, if it can be found for art, could it equally be found to install a fresh water supply to the areas of the Island who do not have that luxury?  That, though, is not happening, as the water company is a private company and providing that service Island-wide would affect those profits and shareholders.  This is where the Government should be helping.  Any good Government provides fresh water, as a fundamental priority.  Drainage also sits with this.  If we can find the total of one per cent for art, then surely we can find one per cent for essential services, water, drainage, public sector pay, not necessarily in that order.  It is a matter of priorities.  I will not vote for this increase until we have attempted to address those, the real issues in this Island.

3.1.11Deputy I. Gardiner:

I will try to put the bridge between somebody who called it hobbies and the clean paper for the new budget.  When they are facing a deficit of the budget, climate change, fresh water, escalated needs in our healthcare, the question why the arts and culture matter is a valid one.

[15:45]

Simply, the arts is essential for the proper function of our society.  The arts is especially important for our children and, by the way, can be introduced when they are one, like in Singapore where they can walk after school to the ground floor, to the workshop room and enjoy the arts with the art teacher for free, just to explore what is arts when they are already one.  They do not need to wait longer and it is from one up to anybody else, up to 80, can walk into these different workshop rooms and enjoy it.  I would like to connect that art, it is not just expenditure, nice to have as a hobby, it is investment.  I will give only 4 points, not too many, already my speech will be short.  First, art is economic drivers, art creates jobs, produces tax revenue, a strong art sector is an economic asset that stimulates business activities, attracts tourism and retains a high-quality workforce.  Around the world, art is one of the commodities, investments.  Second, educational asset, art basically forces the young children’s imagination and facilitates children’s success in schools, provides critical thinking, communication, innovation skills that are so needed in the 21st century, it is an investment.  Civil catalyst, we all talked about democracy, the arts also support strong democracy, dramatising important issues and encouraging collective problem solving.  Obviously, cultural legacies that have been mentioned here, it is to preserve unique culture and heritage past in Jersey, precious cultural character and traditions to the future generations.  Saying this, I would like to ask Deputy Tadier to address in his closing speech some of my concerns and I realise we are not going into details, really, one per cent is the minimum that we can ask for the arts, but I would like to put a tier in the States, because there are concerns.  For example, how the Arts Centre, Art Trust and Opera House can work together, can they work together, can they produce something together?  I found that the proposition be asking for freezing funds for no specific heritage and arts needs, it might be allocated for specific projects when they will be gifted to our arts and heritage champions.  If in its specific budget for drama, or art, or music, or teaching of Jèrriais, for example, this amount should be cultural addition to educational budget, for example, where it will meet when the budget will be planned or, for example, music as a therapy that can work together with the health budget.  Also, would some of this funding be allocated to living artists and photographers, so they can document the current culture of Jersey with all diversity and fashion and trends?  In general terms, I would support the proposition; I feel art is an essential part of our human expression and part of our healthy society.  Culture is about celebrating us, celebrating Jersey people today and not just over in the past.  So, we need to be proud of our culture, our heritage, and celebrate it.

3.1.12Deputy S.M. Wickenden:

I am a bit shocked by some of the speeches I have heard against this proposal; in some ways it is like let us wait for the Government Plan and that will be the end of the proposition to be included in the Government Plan, so it is not saying let us get in advance of the Government Plan and let us not decide this, let us make sure it is included in the Government Plan.  The Government Plan, again, which nobody in this Assembly knows what it is going to look like and, if they do, please show, because maybe we should all know what the Government Plan looks like, because, apparently, it is where we are going to spend money.  But, as far as I know, nobody in this Assembly knows what is going to be included, what detail and what level is in the Government Plan.  So, to stand up and say wait for the Government Plan seems a little bit disingenuous to everyone in this Assembly.

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Sorry, Ma’am, usually the word “disingenuous” is not allowed in these debates because it is ...

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

You are absolutely correct, Senator, the word “disingenuous” can be impugning the Assembly’s motives, so perhaps ...

Deputy S.M. Wickenden:

Sorry, can I change it for “hilarious” please?

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

If it works in the sentence, I am not quite sure it does, but never mind, yes.

Deputy S.M. Wickenden:

Yes, be hilarious then.  I am not a fan of percentage-based budgeting because, as much as people say: “I support this 110 per cent,” you cannot.  100 per cent is 100 per cent; that is the finite.  So, if you budget on education and health and everything that we spend money on in a government on a percentage base, when something extraordinary, or something specific comes up we have already assigned all of the money.  So, percentage-based budgeting is short-sighted and it is wrong.  But there are times where it is right - Jersey Overseas Aid - in very much trying to help in other areas, you try to set a percentage out and they do it all over the world, which says we have this growth, we have this money and we are going to try to link up with a percentage of it and we are not meeting the targets that the rest of the world is in Jersey Overseas Aid and I wish we would, in that manner.  But arts and culture has to be one, as well, because it benefits everyone now and everyone tomorrow and the day after that, just tomorrow, infinite.  So a one per cent, a £2.3 million a year, increase by what is set out in 2022, surely we can achieve that.  We spend how many millions on consultants, year on year and there is a lot of this going on now where we spent £1.7 million on projects to look at something and somebody else has come along as a consultant and said: “I do not agree with that.  If you give me £4 million over the next 3 years, we will rewrite it for you, because we do not agree with the last consultant you had, so we are going to do it again.”  We are accepting that.  This is about heritage, it is culture, it is the Arts Centre, it is the Opera House, it is something that is just amazing time and time again.  Everyone watches T.V. (television), everyone like music, everyone likes the theatre, everyone enjoys that area of our life, it makes our lives better - it does - so why not accept this one per cent on this.  Again, I am saying I do not agree with percentage-based budgeting, it does not work, it cannot, because you can only get to 100 per cent, but there are certain areas, just certain areas where you can turn around and go; “That is the right thing to do as a percentage base.”  I do not want it for everything; I just want it for some things and I know that is kind of biased, but it is right and I do not understand why anyone else ... but if we can find out what the Government Plan is at the same time as we are totting on that would be fantastic too.  Please support this; it is £2.3 million.  If you are not supporting this then, when we get down to how much we are spending on consultants and all this that and the other, turn that down instead, though we do not get to see that in this Assembly.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

I am delighted that the discussion of the arts is igniting so much enthusiasm among the Assembly; just to let you know I have 7 people lined up to speak.

3.1.13The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

I have to say at the outset I enjoy a good night out; I like a good show.  I like even better a good panto and who does not love a boisterous, loud, over-the-top, pantomime dame.  But, I go to the panto around about Christmas time, January time and that is the right time to go to the panto, because that is when the panto season is on, or some people might think it runs throughout the year in a certain other part of the Island, namely this Assembly, but I go at Christmas; that is the time the panto is held.  Of course, there is a time and a place for everything and this is the place to be discussing arts funding, but it is not the time.  The debate, just before this one, was referred to as a mini Island Plan debate and, to my mind, it was not the appropriate time to be debating rezoning greenfield sites.  There is a time and there is a place for everything, whether it is a panto, or whether it is a discussion on arts funding; ad hoc decisions, made by this Assembly, impact often by way of unintended consequences and we have to consider funding in the round.  I am sure everyone here this afternoon, or indeed every Member of this Assembly, supports the arts and we have heard genuinely good reasons why they should be supported.  We have heard arguments in favour of our heritage and our culture, buildings, the Arts Centre, the Opera House and we will hear those arguments again at the right time.  Now, I am not a member of the Government, I am not here to speak on behalf of the Government, but I have been in this Assembly long enough to have a feeling of the way things go and the way things are done.  I just think it is the right thing to do to wait for this debate, as part of the Government Plan, which, Deputy Wickenden is quite right; we do not know what the plan looks like.  Why would we know?  It is being worked on.  We will know what the plan looks like when it is lodged and we have the opportunity to read it and see what the Council of Ministers, who we have elected, have decided to put in that Government Plan.  We know it is going to touch the environment, do we not, because we decided on that, but it should also cover the arts.  I do feel for the Deputy of Grouville, because I remember her bringing the first culture strategy and it was probably supported almost unanimously, but she is absolutely right to say that it was then not funded.  So, we have been lax in our decisions based on funding for the arts.  I just want to see things done correctly, not in the ad hoc manner, which I have referenced.  I Googled just now the term laudable’; praiseworthy was another word to describe it and I was going to stand up and read all the words that describe the laudable effort that Deputy Tadier is making in bringing this, because it is absolutely right that we support his endeavours, just the right place, the wrong time and I will be waiting for the Government Plan.  So I do urge Members to reject this ad hoc proposal.

3.1.14Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Yes, I am delighted to follow the very sensible words of my Constable.  She has often spoken sensible words and usually I have agreed with them, as well.  Just by way of background, Members may not know, but a member of my family used to be - one person in the public gallery, one of the members of my family used to be - deputy director of one of the cultural organisations on the Island for a number of years and, indeed, still participates in certain events, musical events and the whole thing.  So, I am fully aware of the fairly parsimonious state of the finances of some of the arts institutions over here.

[16:00]

I was at the Arts Centre not so long ago and I know, bluntly, that the loos down there are in an appalling state; it is that basic.  The ventilation systems are in an appalling state down there; it is that basic at the moment.  So, in the context we are in, I do not think there is anybody around here who would disagree with the statement that we know we need to put more money into the arts and more focus and that is something I alluded to when I first stood, it is in the documentation I had to present to this Assembly.  That is why I will be glad when the suspension period is over and that I will be welcoming Deputy Tadier back officially into his role, because that is why I very much welcomed his point as having responsibility for arts and cultural matters.  That is why the Deputy of Grouville, when we get the proper positions in place, which is imminent, that is why we created this point about Island identity and cultural identity, it is the wider context.  This is, obviously, more about directly the arts.  But the point is, and I am going to pick up on Deputy Wickenden’s comment about let us spend less on consultants.  As I said, I cannot remember if it was yesterday, or the day before, we have just added £300,000 to that bill, because this Assembly has directed the Minister for the Environment to bring forward work, which was planned for next year, into this year and the only way we are going to be able to do it is by bringing in external expertise.  That is why there is going to be an extra £300,000 bill, roughly, on to this price of consultants that we use.  Bearing in mind that was work that was scheduled for next year, it is not new work, it is just timing.  So, I am very happy that, if somebody says: “Scrap the consultants”, well that then goes directly against one of the measures that this Assembly put in 2 days ago.  Now, the bill that comes out of this is an extra £2.3 million.  If you read the financial and manpower implications of Deputy Tadier’s proposition; that is what he says: “Based on the 2016 figures, an increase from 0.68 of the budget to one per cent would amount to a figure of £2.3 million per annum.”  It will depend on the overall budget.  Now, to me, it is very much a matter of timing, what we are all talking about is the funding for next year.  What I was focused on, bearing in mind the constraints we are operating under in the 2019 period, is getting the short-term funding in place, just to get people over that hurdle and to deal with some of the imminent problems that the arts have been facing.  In case people are not aware and I am sure Senator Pallett will be alluding to it as well, there has been £160,000 made available to Art House Jersey for 2019; that is extra money that has gone in already and there is also, I am advised - I have been waiting for it - it is coming to the Council of Ministers this month, roughly between £120,000 and £140,000, so between £60,000 and £70,000 per institution, directly aimed at the Opera House and the Arts Centre.  That is meant to be directly aimed at sorting out some of the very short-term infrastructure problems that they are facing.  We need to be very clear: Deputy Tadier is correct, the underinvestment in culture for a long time is appalling.  In fact, to allude to that, I will go back to a member of my family and I can remember in those days I think the organisation had just been bought a whole brand new computer system at the time when they were working, they, I think, were operating on something like Windows 3-point-goodness knows what, they were having to strip down the systems every night just to be able to backup.  That was how bad it had got.  We know that some and in fact, I think, Deputy Young has probably had experience of that, I think there have been points when they have had to decide whether they run on a lights-out basis at certain points in the year they are operating under.  Part of the issue is also around forward planning.  It is how, if you are running the Arts Centre, for example, you need to know reasonably in advance your budget, because then you can book the performers who are coming in.  You cannot do that at a week’s notice; you are planning programmes months in advance.  You need that certainty of the money, before you can make those bookings.  There is a whole range of issues in there.  So, I hope I demonstrate the point that I am again ... even though I am an accountant, I do know some of the stuff that has been happening in the background and again I am one of those who is extremely supportive and I want to see extra money going there.  But, for me, again, it is about the timing.  I know, in fact, I believe Senator Farnham, who unfortunately, could not be here today for the debate, has committed to Deputy Tadier ... the point being that if there is insufficient money in the budget, Government Plan, for next year and onwards that is the time and there will be a lot of work put in and, I suspect, given the makeup of the Council of Ministers, it will be highly successful.  But, what I am saying in terms of timing, we need to know what the scope looks like.  Deputy Pamplin will be wanting us, rightly, to be making sure that mental health is given a better priority than it ever has been before.  That is why it is so far up in the priorities side.  But there is going to be a choice at some point.  So, in other words, what this tries to do is set a target.  It sets a target; it depends how Members will identify that.  If the ambition is just to increase the arts contribution from where it was, I would have hoped everybody could commit to that.  If the absolute rule is that it will be £2.3 million extra, well I believe we have to spend at least £6 million in the very near future to bring our mental health facilities just up to health and safety positions.  Those are the dilemmas we are going to be facing.  So, for me, very much that is why we do need to have that overall oversight of what the picture is.  I do know there have been, as ever, a lot of bids from departments and things like that, which have well exceeded the amount of money in the pot and we need to be clear on that.  Ultimately, it is here that makes the decisions, but that is the stresses we will be facing unless the alternative consequence is to find the new funds that we may, or may not, need to do.  But the only difference of opinion at this stage is around timing.  I do like Deputy Wickenden, I think he was being a little ... I do not know if hilarious is the right expression, but, anyway, in terms of we have not seen the Government Plan yet.  If Members, who have been here before, go back to the positioning in terms of when the M.T.F.P. (Medium Term Financial Plan) was being produced, this is the stage when the Ministers are bringing it together.  We have meetings next week, I believe.  I had a briefing today, we have meetings over the next few weeks, which then start to bring this stuff together and Assistant Ministers are involved in that process.  I believe and it is from memory, there are going to be some sessions for States Members, before it is finalised.  I think that might be slightly different, as well.  But, anyway, that is the proper time to do it.  We have got the short-term funding to sort things out where we can and if it is not sufficient and I get approaches, the message I have always had in the short term, it is relatively low sums of money that they need to sort out some of the fundamental issues that the buildings themselves are facing.  It is a symptom of the underinvestment that has been going on across our infrastructure for years.  That is the dilemma we are facing and that is why we are dealing with the short-term issues that we can.  But the longer-term strategy needs to be in play in the Government Plan and that gets lodged in this Assembly before the summer recess.  So, we are not far away from it.  The timing is all about 2020.  If it is not satisfactory at that point, this Assembly has another bite of the cherry.  This Assembly can turn around and look at the overall context of all the pressures, of all the stresses we will be facing and say: “Right, no, what you Ministers have put down here, we want to take an element of that and put it here.”  That is the democratic process.  So, that is the reason I am not, unfortunately, able to support this; it is slightly too early in the process.  We are only talking a matter of months.  The objective, in terms of the final hit date for that funding, is all the same, it is all from 2020 onwards.  So, it is obviously in the hands of the Assembly and there can be unforeseen consequences, but I do go back to the point, mental health, we know the issues around housing, we know the issues around environment, we have the environmental crisis and all that type of thing and where do you put the money and what is the envelope we operate in?  That is the proper context to do it in.  But, I do say, as I have said, there have been funding bids and successful ones in place for day-to-day operations and for longer-term capital funding to maintain, repair, enhance, arts, cultural and heritage, sites.  The new strategy has been put in place for 2019, which is going through Art House and, as I said, there is specific funding coming through for the Opera House and the Arts Centre imminently.  But we do have a process by which this Assembly deals with our limited resources; there is not an open pot of money that we can keep dipping into.  However, I am absolutely committed today that I do want to see an increase in the arts funding in the Government Plan for next year and I hope that aligns myself with both the Deputy of Grouville and Deputy Tadier, but I will not be supporting this proposition.

3.1.15The Connétable of St. Helier:

I should just declare, I suppose, an interest that I am the President of the Jersey Eisteddfod, which has struggled to be funded and still struggles for funding, so I hope Members will bear that in mind.  I initially had some concerns about this proposition.  I thought that the Deputy was attempting to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds.  I know he is technically suspended, but that, I suppose, was always the risk when the Chief Minister composed his Council the way he did, so perhaps he only has himself to blame.  It has certainly been encouraging hearing across the Chamber words of support for the arts and heritage, particularly from some quarters where I was not expecting it.  I did not expect, for example, the Constable of St. Ouen, a member of the Council of Ministers, to go really straight to the heart of the matter when he contrasted the paltry spending this Island makes in this area with the spending by another Crown Dependency, the Isle of Man.  I thought that was a really good point and I am pleased that he and, I suspect, many members of the Council of Ministers will be supporting the proposition.  I suppose it really is a pre-emptive strike, ahead of the Government Plan and that, maybe, is a good thing because, if the Deputy had left this and brought it as an Assistant Minister, it might not have got through the Council of Ministers and a backbencher bringing it against lots of other bids for funding, the Constable of St. Mary will probably be coming in for his percentage for drains.  I need to remind him, whenever we have this debate about drains, we used to have them regularly when the former Deputy Rondel, the former Deputy of St. John was in the Chamber, that you put drains in, you get more housing.  That is a consequence.  That is one of the drawbacks that development tends to follow the drains.  But, anyway, we could have had that proposition, or that amendment, to the Government Plan, so I think, with hindsight, it was a good idea that Deputy Tadier got this in.  I have to say, in passing, it was brilliant that he started by saying he is going to limit his speech to 10 minutes, because one of the problems that the P.P.C. have been wrestling with is how to manage the States business and how to stop certain speakers - I will not mention any names, Deputy - but how to stop certain speakers from going on for so long.  One of the greatest things about this debate is everyone seems to be following the Deputy’s example - I am going to try to - and confining their speeches to the salient points and I hope that on P.P.C. we can revert to that.  While I am talking about the management of this particular debate, which at times has seemed a bit endoftermish, I just want to compliment the President of the Assembly for the excellent way she is chairing this. [Approbation] I am slipping back into the speech I did not make about the elected President.  But, one of the helpful things, Ma’am, that you are giving us is a running order of speakers so that we are not wondering whether we have been seen, or not.  That is really helpful, so thank you for that.  All I really want to say, because most of the key points have been made, is that there is, of course, an enormous payback from this investment, through tourism.  We have been told by tourism moguls - I am sure the current one will not mind me calling him a mogul - but tourism moguls, for decades, have told us that money spent on arts and heritage pays back enormously through tourism, because that is the main reason that tourists come to Jersey; they come here for our beaches and our wonderful countryside and our brilliant vibrant town - of course I will mention that; that sometimes gets forgotten by the tourism moguls - but they mainly come because we have an amazing heritage.  We have 4 or 5 castles in an area of 45 square miles, whereas most communities do not have a castle at all.

[16:15]

While we are on the castles, of course, Elizabeth Castle in my Parish has languished for years and I do hope that there will be some funding for Elizabeth Castle, because it could be greater than Mont Orgueil, when it is properly refurbished.  Whole areas of Elizabeth Castle, which are closed to the public, could be reopened and I am really hopeful that this move by the Deputy will lead to that work, because that will have a payback in tourism terms.  That will help us reach the million visitors that we are looking for.  So, yes, I also hope that the Constable of St. Saviour will not really refuse to give programmes out to Members of the Assembly who vote against this, because there is a very good reason why some Members will not be supporting this, they will feel that it is a bit previous really, but I am certainly very happy to add my name to the list of people, who will be supporting this amendment and I hope that we will see that payback, that dividend, very shortly in cultural terms.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Thank you, Connétable, and thank you for your kind words and thank you also to the Chief Minister for his contribution to the Christmas charity appeal of £10.  [Laughter] 

3.1.16The Deputy of St. Martin:

It seems that every Member has to expound on their cultural credentials and I am no different, because people may well know that my family, the Lobb half of it particularly, have a great history in the arts, particularly in music, the Opera House and the very many choirs that my uncles and my mother and now my sister bring to the Island.  But how our views change.  How our views change from month to month and week to week and from day to day; and today, how our views change from hour to hour.  In the last debate, there was not anybody in this Assembly who denied that we have a housing crisis and we need to do something about it, but we agreed there is a process to follow for the benefit of everybody on this Island and there is a process of prioritisation.  Everybody in this Assembly will agree that the arts need more funding.  But, all of a sudden, we seem to have said to the process of prioritisation: “Exit stage left.”  In the last debate, we decided we needed to wait for the Island Plan; that was the proper way to do it.  To my view, what we need to do here is to wait for the Government Plan; it is only going to be a few weeks.  The Island Plan is many months away, but the Government Plan is not.  What will we do in those few weeks when we find we are a million, or so, short for mental health, but we have already spent it?  What will we do in those few weeks when we find we are a few million pounds short for these environmental commitments we guaranteed we would make earlier this week?  What will we do when we walk out of this Chamber today - because I know the difference between recurring expenditure and one-off expenditure what will we do when we walk out of this Chamber today and meet civil servants to whom we are saying there is no more money when we have just voted, on a recurring basis, to find, at the drop of a hat, more money for the arts?  I want to support the arts as much as anybody else, but we need to prioritise, we need to do things correctly, we need to wait for the Government Plan before we forward this money.

3.1.17Deputy K.F. Morel:

I do agree with the Deputy of St. Martin when he says about the importance of following the procedure and I appreciate how awkward it is for the Minister for Treasury and Resources and the Chief Minister when the Assembly keeps voting and say: “Spend a per cent on this and spend a couple of per cent on this.”  But, I think, we also have to set that, this year, in the context of decades and decades of underinvestment.  That is the trouble.  I feel that there is a mistrust here, not specifically with this Council of Ministers, it is with underinvestment over the years.  I am sure we have probably heard Chief Ministers and Ministers for Treasury and Resources and other Deputies and Constables and Senators across the Assembly tell us how important the arts are and how much they want to invest in them.  Then, when it comes to finalising that M.T.F.P., or that Government Plan, or that annual budget, just cut that little bit off the bottom of the arts, because that is the easy one to cut.  It is that sense that the arts, culture, heritage, are the easy ones to cut; that is why we have to draw a line in the sand and say: “No, you will not cut below this line; this is as far as it goes.”  Or in this case, pump it up to that line and then we are not letting it back down again.  Deputy Tadier has made a very good case in his report and, quite rightly, he focuses on some of the economic aspects that have been mentioned today.  Deputy Gardiner, as well, she talked about the economic aspects.  I love it when people do that; when they make their case by pointing out the economic aspects and the benefits there, because we know that most people and the people in this case that we are talking to, the costs, et cetera, are incredibly important to them.  If you can make the money work, then you are 99 per cent of the way there.  But, I just wanted to bring to the Assembly’s attention some of the other aspects, which are incredibly important, about this and make me just have to bite my tongue when I hear the Constable of St. John talk about indulging people’s hobbies, as in referring to the arts, because these are not people’s hobbies.  If you want to know what investment in the arts can do, then think about it like this; investment in the arts can help with our population problems.  Investment in the arts can help our population problems, because, I tell you now, because I have experienced this myself and why I looked long and hard for work, but because I am a Channel Islander, I was not allowed to work in Europe and I had no intention of working in the U.K., so I did come back here in the end, but I looked long and hard for other places to live.  Because Jersey, when I was a young man, was an intensely boring place, as far as I was concerned, because its artistic offering was appalling back then.  I did not want to be here and I have plenty of friends who left here and went to the big city, they went to London and they went there for the simple reason that there is much more to do in terms of art and culture and heritage, because that is one of the things that makes life incredibly worthwhile and enjoyable.  It is one of the things which helps us relate to each other.  I heard something, recently, about novels and authors, but I think it could be stretched across to pretty much all the arts.  One of the reasons the arts is so important, is because the arts are the only way we get to see the world through somebody else’s eyes; it is the only way.  As politicians, it is vital that we learn to see the world through other people’s eyes, because it is through the empathy and the understanding of other people’s situations that we get to make our decisions responsibly.  With that in mind as well, how do we get to see the world through other people’s eyes?  Through the arts, it is because the arts are about expression.  Expression is about helping that individual, who is caged inside, let themselves out and talk to other people; that expression is incredibly important in helping deal with mental health issues.  If you can express yourself, you are a long way towards healing.  If you have a mental health problem, it is going to help you deal with that and it is going to help you stay away from mental health problems, for want of a better word; a terrible way of phrasing that, I do apologise; if you are able to express yourself.  By investing in the arts and culture and heritage, we are investing in work that will help mental health problems in Jersey, we are investing in work which will help with population problems.  I did not end up finishing that point, because I am trying to rush through with everyone else.  Why does it help population problems?  Because people will stay here, young people, talent that we keep saying we need in Jersey, need to stay in Jersey, will stay in Jersey if we have a thriving artistic team in Jersey, otherwise they go and I know they go, because my friends have gone and it was not me that caused them to go.  For too long, we have relied on corporate sponsorship.  We have relied on the arts funding themselves.  But, because we are only 100,000 people, it is impossible; we will never, ever fund the arts.  They will never stand on their own 2 feet over here.  We do not have the critical mass of people to make that happen; it will only happen through Government.  I can just hear murmurings, it is a bit off-putting right off, I do apologise.  I have forgotten what I was saying now.  Corporate sponsorship, yes, it will not stand on its own 2 feet; the Government has to invest and if it does not, then we will lose it even more.  When we talk about arts, we are talking about theatre, we are talking about museums.  I just heard and I just checked and I think this is correct, and please correct me if I am wrong, the Jersey Museum is shut in January and February.  The Jersey Museum is shut in January, why can we not fund a museum, our national museum, to stay open in January and February?  It is appalling, absolutely appalling.  Another reason why, if we do not help the arts, we will lose them from Jersey and we will lose Islanders who could have stayed here and we will exacerbate problems in the Island, is because we do not have that critical mass of people.  They cannot stand on their own 2 feet and because we are a very expensive jurisdiction.  The arts, which do not pull in enormous amounts of money, certainly not in comparison to the finance sector, the arts find it very difficult.  When you are a young artist, you tend not to have enormous amounts of money, you do tend to rely on patronage in some way, shape, or form.  Berlin, for instance, which has an incredible arts scene - if you go to Berlin you will find Berlin has an incredible arts scene, Deputy Labey, you should go there one day.  When you go there you will ask: “Why does it have an incredible arts scene, Deputy Morel?”  Deputy Labey, it has an incredible arts scene - because after the fall of communism, rents, et cetera, crashed; it became an incredibly cheap place to live, so artists flocked there.  Artists flocked there and since then they have stayed there and there are other reasons since that Berlin has managed to maintain its lower rent.  But Jersey will not ever be able to do that, because Jersey is an expensive jurisdiction and, unfortunately, that is unlikely to change any time soon.  Please, do not just see art as investment in terms of money, it is investment in terms of us helping deal with the problems that we face in our society every day.  It will help us deal with our population problem.  It will help us deal with the mental health crisis and there are probably many other ways that it will help us deal with our society, which I have not thought of yet.  Please, do support the proposition.

3.1.18Connétable P.B. Le Sueur of Trinity:

I will risk my arm and speak today as one of the great unwashed, who did not face an election, because nobody stood against me and, hopefully, I will not incur the wrath of Senator Mézec this afternoon.  But, I came to this debate this afternoon minded not to support this proposition and I thought we should wait until the Government Plan appeared.  However, I am persuaded by the debate this afternoon for 2 particular reasons; firstly, was the Chairman of Overseas Aid, Deputy Labey, who is our Chairman, said that she would be supporting this.  I know that we both hold passionately the need to up our contribution to humanitarian aid through Jersey Overseas Aid.  We claim, in this Assembly, all too often, we punch above our weight, but that is another area in which we are slipping down the Richter scale, compared with other countries.  Secondly, I really was afraid that if I took my children to see the pantomime this year that I would not be sold a programme by my colleague from St. Saviour.  [Laughter].  On that basis, really on the strength of the debate that we have heard this afternoon, I am minded and I think that is why we come to this Assembly and debate things.  We should not come with a fixed opinion, we should be prepared to change our view and on this occasion I am going to support the proposition. 

Senator K.L. Moore:

Ma’am, may I propose the guillotine motion, please?

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Certainly you may, so it starts from now, 30 minutes from now.  Next on my list I have Deputy Higgins, in his seat.  [Laughter]

3.1.19Deputy M.R. Higgins:

Sorry, I was just talking to the Solicitor General.  Just a few comments going through, I am going to be brief as well.  I was taken by what Deputy Wickenden was saying about consultants; I just want to throw another one in - my pet hate - compromise agreements.  We are spending a fortune on paying people off, who have failed in this Island and just to get rid of them we are paying £150,000 here, there and everywhere.  This has been going on for as long as I have been in the States.  We have been promised, repeatedly, that they were going to do something about it.  We could help fund the arts and sport and other things if we finally got our act together and stopped all these bad practices and held people to account.

[16:30]

Rather than just apologising for these - the States Employment Board do every time I raise it - they should be doing something about it; that is just one point.  We also have to look at some of the decisions we have made over the years.  I know it might be loosely related to the arts, but look at the fiasco of the Canbedone film, which we were done to the tune of so many millions; that was just one.  If we look at the Innovation Fund, we have had some really bad practices, the experts who we have employed, our civil servants, have basically failed us in many cases, some of them have and when they have gone they have got a compromise agreement, which I find appalling.  There is waste in the system and so on.  The Constable of St. Helier also mentioned Elizabeth Castle, I agree.  I also agree about Fort Regent.  I feel passionately about Fort Regent, for arts, for sport and for the benefit to the Island.  Yes, we should be spending more money on all these things.  I am only going to briefly say that one of the things that has concerned me and I am pleased the Fiscal Policy Panel went to the J.E.P. (Jersey Evening Post) to correct the picture.  They recommended in their report spending some £600 million, or putting another £600 million into the Strategic Reserve.  If we had to do that and do it right away, as some people seem to be advocating and there was no money for anything else, we would have no money for anything, like the arts, or anything else.  We would be spending all our money putting in reserves for the bad times that are going to come, or the unexpected event that will come.  We have to be reasonable on these things.  Yes, we need to increase our reserves.  Yes, we should be funding the arts and so on.  I agree with the people who say, yes, we have got other priorities.  We heard drains and I can still remember Deputy Rondel for years going around mains drains; it was a mantra that came out.  Yes, we should have those things.  What I am trying to say is, we are sending a signal here to the Council of Ministers, we feel that the arts should have greater funding.  I am going to ask you to look at the proposition and the wording of the proposition and this is what I was just talking to the Solicitor General about.  The actual wording of the proposition says: “To agree that the States revenue expenditure on the arts, heritage and culture should be increased in the proposed Government Plan, so it reaches a target of one per cent.”  Should, it does not mean to say they must, it does not say shall - again which is a word that says they have to - it is saying should.  We are giving a very clear indication and I hope they will come up with the funding.  The second part of the proposition also says: “To request that the Council of Ministers take the steps necessary to achieve their target in bringing it forward in the Government Plan.”  Nothing compulsory there.  All those, who fear that they are tying things up in knots and we are doing things out of order, we are not.  We are sending a very clear signal that we want this to be looked at and funded, in the same way, Deputy Pamplin, about mental health; yes, a major priority, I want to see that.  We are not going to know what is in the Government Plan until it comes.  It is possible we may have to consider compromises when it comes to some funding for the arts, it is going to be an increase; we have got to deal with that.  Equally, I am critical, highly critical and I will be joining in Deputy Southern when … has it been lodged yet?

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

No.

Deputy M.R. Higgins:

Okay.  We have a vote of no confidence coming in the States Employment Board; I fully support it.  Why?  What are we doing?  We are beating people into submission, people that we need to take with us.  We are constantly being told there is no money.  I am amazed, for example, how we find money and we commit money, even when we do not know.  There was a discussion going on in the coffee room, a few days ago, about some of the contingencies that the Minister for Treasury and Resources has been signing off; yes, we have had £5 million here, £6 million here and so on.  The mantra is we should not be committing ongoing costs.  Some of these commitments have been signed off, resulting in another £5 million next year.  It is not just the one year in isolation, there are other things that we are going to be paying for.  What I am trying to say is, you cannot take anything at face value here.  This proposition is sending a signal to the Council of Ministers, we believe the arts are important, we believe they should have an increase in it, but when the Government Plan comes together, yes, we may have to make some compromises, whether it be on this, or on other things maybe the Council of Ministers thinks are important, which we do not and that is when the real debate will take place.  What I am trying to say at the moment is, let us not get hung up on this, though we are committing it, we are sending a very clear signal what we want and we may get back to this fight when the Government Plan comes, but we have got to do it with the knowledge of the other things and the different priorities.

3.1.20Deputy J.A. Martin:

I will be as brief as I can.  Just to start off about the comparison and the Isle of Wight, I know the Isle of Wight definitely get the National Lottery and have a lot of that millions of pounds put in.  I have got a feeling and they are slightly different to us, I think the Isle of Man can and I would like the Deputy to … because it says: “The Heritage Lottery Fund Programme expenditure.”  I think they do.  I would not like to upset the Constable of St. Saviour and my fellow Deputy in No. 1, Deputy Labey, they are absolutely passionate about the arts and I am not saying I am not.  I am just saying, Deputy Morel said the sort of things that you can see through other people’s eyes, will they give you extra vision?  Today I am voting here completely blind, if I vote for this.  I was asked an oral question on Tuesday, I was not able to answer it.  It was about funding and making G.P.s (general practitioners) cheaper, basically, for people on income support and just above.  I had the answer, I went through it with my Assistant Minister, we are working; we have met the G.P.s now 6 times in probably 8 or 9 weeks.  We are working with Health.  We want to do this.  The second part of the first answer was, but this will come at a cost.  It will come at a cost and it is not in the budget.  We have things stuck in it over here, we have money we know we have here.  We were supposed to meet today, myself, Senator Mézec, Deputy Southern and Senator Farnham on the C.S.P., I think it is 2 or 4, which is reducing income inequality and to do that we need more money.  Where is it?  It is fine and Deputy Higgins gave you an example, we can vote for this today, because it is not going to up the arts budget to £7.087 million a year, because that is what it is if you add it up, basing it on the budget of 2016.  Why has the Deputy picked 2016, his own figures, up to last year?  But was it a really bad year, 2016?  I do not know.  You can always make figures also work for yourself.  We have got some shiny things we have got to do.  Deputy Ward, great, we have got a shiny, new youth centre we are going to put in in the north of town.  Is that a one-off?  Is that capital?  Who is going to work there?  They are ongoing, it is all revenue.  Much in the C.S.P. needs to be funded.  Do you absolutely want £1 million, £2 million there, £1 million here, £1 million here?  I have got no idea.  Because, as I say, the income inequality C.S.P. has not even met yet.  We have been put off twice and we are put off again, because we are in here discussing is it not nice to have some more money for this?  Absolutely.  But I want more money from the same Deputy, asking me an oral question on Tuesday, what am I doing?  What are we doing to make it much easier for people to attend the doctor?  There is only one way to do it and that is either to make the visits cheaper, or to cut out a big society where it is free, possibly maybe more than the £2.3 million that you want here.  It is up to this Assembly, but to me it is.  This is what I was looking forward to.  I know it is late coming, or it is not late, it is going to be launched at the end of July, it is going to have 17 or 18 weeks lodging.  Anyone in here can make an amendment, backbencher, or Deputy Tadier will be back in the Government then but he can ask someone else to bring it.  But this is when you have this debate against.  Do you think people have wanted to cut the arts funding over the years in Jersey?  We stand on our own.  We cannot go to the U.K. lottery and say: “That is really good, give us a few million here.”  They are brilliant, they fund some excellent art projects in the U.K.  An island, we do not go anywhere.  We tax people, we get the money in, we pay money out; it is called the budget, it is what we spend and we have never had enough in the last few years.  Again, as we have just heard, we are going to get a vote of no confidence, instead, because, as I have said, everyone is going to give more money, millions of pounds and not funded again.  But it is Friday afternoon and we have been here a long time.  As the Constable of St. Lawrence thinks we are in pantomime season and everything can happen, they are behind you.  I do really not want to upset the Constable of St. Saviour when I am going and she will be saying: “She is behind you, the villain of the piece, she never gave you this money.”  The argument is for the whole thing to be laid out and you absolutely make some informed choices.  This does look like, to me, it is being under-funded, but so has so many others, everybody wants, so many other things we want.  I plead with you, but I am not going to have the … it is Friday afternoon, we will go away, but we do know … and I do not care what Deputy Higgins says and if he has spoken to the Solicitor General, you will put in a shot across the ballot in the Government Plan that you want an extra £2.3 million annually on top of the £4 million, or something; £23 million in the next 3 years to arts.  That is fine, as long as you know when we say we did want to do that there, but we are going to just make it a little bit cheaper, cannot tackle that because we are just giving away £7-point-something million over the next 3 years on top of the rest.  To me it is simple, I need to see with all my eyes; I do not need to be see no evil and all the rest of it.  I really think it is not today but, as I say, I am not going to vote for it for all those reasons.  But, if other people put arts up there, absolutely, so be it, it will have to be done and other things will have to be cut.

3.1.21Deputy G.C. Guida of St. Lawrence:

First, there is a small point of clarification that will be rhetorical, but I think it is important, when we do discuss those propositions, do we really look at the terminology of the words to say: “Wait a minute, it is not shall, it is not must, it should’; therefore, it is not terribly serious.”?  It is a proposition; it should be serious.  It should be something that people need.  If we accept it, it should be serious.  We should abide by it; it is very serious.  I think I will take this proposition seriously.  I think it is an excellent idea.  Art and culture are intangible.  You cannot build a business plan on that, you cannot say: “Here are the deliverables, I need that much money and I will deliver this much art.”  It is not possible.  It is, therefore, very difficult to give a certain amount of money and say that will be sufficient for arts and culture.  A percentage is not a bad idea at all.  It is very much the same as overseas aid; overseas aid, you cannot really say £5 million will be perfectly fine for overseas aid.  Any amount would be perfectly acceptable for overseas aid.  You could send £1 billion abroad and that would still be a drop in the ocean.  It is not a bad idea, at all, to establish a percentage and to say: “This is the level of effort that we will put into overseas aid.  This is the amount, therefore, that we will put into the arts and culture.”  Having said that, we are in the situation where we are today.  We are facing a £30 million deficit.  We have pledged about £100 million into saving the environment and stopping global warming.  I remember hearing it.  I do not think anybody really realised what they did, but propositions are serious.  We pledged a massive amount of effort into combatting global warming.  There are many other projects that we are all trying to get done.  I tend to juggle with figures reasonably easily and the figures I have seen do not quite match up.  If you want to spend one per cent on arts and culture, it is about £3 million on the next budget and then that figure sort of rings a bell, because I cannot put it down.  Art is very important; it is part of quality of life.  It is something that really we need to work on.  It has been vastly under-funded.  Teachers, we have been debating, we have been having strikes; we are in a state of emergency, in a crisis, because we cannot find £3 million per year additional for teachers.  But the way to fix the arts, if it is just one per cent, no, that is not calculated, it is just one per cent, let us spend it and it should, so maybe we can just put it under the carpet later on.  Let us be serious, the proposition is very interesting.  It is a very good proposition and we need to look at it.

[16:45]

We need to look at arts and culture as a percentage of the budget.  We cannot do it today.  We can do it when the time comes and when we look at the Government Plan for the next year.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Thank you.  Just to concentrate Members’ minds, I have that the closure motion can be put from 5.01 p.m.

3.1.22Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

May you indulge me just for a slight moment; it has not been lost on me the irony of where we ended up yesterday, or ended this morning and seeing you preside over us today and the theme of next week’s Liberation Day about women and being the daddy of a little girl, who has told me she wants to be the Bailiff, you might have forward her thinking that that could be a reality, so I would just like to make that point.  I am going to speak on a personal level on this, because it would not surprise Members that I would.  A 9 year-old Kevin Pamplin was a very different little boy.  He lives on a housing estate, he was very shy and he was going through various things in his personal life.  He then saw a way out in an advert in the Jersey Evening Post for an audition for a pantomime.  He thought this might be a good idea and, without telling his parents, he made a phone call and demanded that his father drop him at that audition.  He did and he entered a room at the Jersey Green Room Club, filled with hundreds of other boys and girls, none of them he knew.  In fact, none of them, because he did not go to their schools; he, of course, went to a primary school that was not a private primary school.  He sang, he auditioned and he waited and he waited.  It turns out that the director of that pantomime is sitting to my left, Deputy Labey, who, it turns out, decided that I was worth fighting for.  Even though I did not pay the fees for private education, or private drama classes, he saw something in me that nobody else did at that time in my life.  Had he not done, that I firmly believe I would not be here today.  I also turn to my right, to my Constable, because my first ever experience of singing on the Jersey Opera House stage, wearing tights, as a 10 year-old boy, was a very daunting prospect.  She guided me through it; in fact, she went one step further, she knelt at the side of the stage and she sang alongside me; that moment has never been lost on me.  Fast forward many years later my mother worked for a youth club, Seaton Youth Club, sadly no longer there.  We all remember Mitch Couriard very fondly I am sure and we miss him dearly, but we used to look forward to him coming round to the youth club, setting up the stage, putting up the curtains and the lighting for Arts Alive.  I saw people in that youth club, who would not even talk to me.  Their only interest in coming to the youth club was snogging girls and playing football - mine too, it must be added; sometimes got those mixed up.  But the point was, all of a sudden, some of these young people around me were performing and were emoting and were given the opportunity to have a voice and have a say.  I meet some of those people now and I see them; advocates, teachers, policemen.  Sadly, Arts Alive no longer exists and it is a right great shame, because the point of this is simple: arts changes lives, arts saves lives and it should be and it must be accessible for all children, every single child.  I am standing here, as an elected Member, in this historic chamber, fighting for mental health, fighting for my parishioners, fighting alongside each and every one of you to make this Island a better place.  The skills I have learned along the way have allowed me to become and be successful, so far, in being elected and, hopefully, making a difference.  The other point of this and it has been raised now by many Members in this Assembly, about my connection and passion with mental health and even suggesting that if we vote for this it could take money away from mental health.  [Interruption]  [Laughter]

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

I must say that I would not have felt today was complete if I had not had a fine from you, Senator.  Sorry, please continue, Deputy.

Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

No, it is fine, I am getting used to it; so £20 coming my way as well.

Deputy M. Tadier:

Ma’am, can we keep you?

Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

That is probably the wisest thing anybody has said all day.  Yes, anyway, on point, the point is about mental health and this is a very serious matter, because it is being lobbied against me and said: “Deputy Pamplin wants money for mental health, but if you vote for this, we cannot have that.”  That is awful and let me tell you why, because mental health does not just happen overnight.  Much like a benign brain tumour, which grows and grows over many years; mental health can be seeded like it nearly was with me at 9 years old.  We have an issue of mental health problems, because, for many years it is not just about the buildings in some of our State, which is totally not fit for purpose, it is not just that.  It is the culture, it is the therapy, it is the approaches, it is the changes, it is the cultures, it is how we communicate, it is how we love each other, it is how we respect each other, it is how we look after our children.  That all pays into mental health and theatre and therapy does exactly that.  To remain competitive in the global economy, Jersey needs to reinvigorate the kind of creativity that is needed in the arts and culture.  To do so, we must nourish our children’s creative skills at every entry point for all children.  In addition to giving our children the science and maths and digital skills they need to compete in the new global context, we should also encourage their ability to think creatively, that comes from a meaningful arts education and cultural Island around them.  The real purpose of good accessible arts and culture is to create a complete human being, capable of leading successful and productive lives in a free and evolving society under great pressures that we have talked about at length this week.  The arts and humanities do not just reflect our Island home, they shape our Island home and as long as I am here, looking forward to making sure that this is a priority for my Island home as well.  Throughout history, the arts and humanities have helped men and women around the globe grapple with the most challenging questions and come to know the most basic truths.  In our increasingly interconnected world, the arts play an important role in both shaping the character that defines us and reminds us of our shared humanity.  We celebrate our arts and humanities and we now must recommit to ensuring that all Islanders can access and experience them.  Yes, this might not be the right time, but this is the right place; that is why I urge everybody to vote for this proposition. 

3.1.23Deputy R.J. Ward:

We are running out of time and most things have been said.  I would like to say I think Deputy Morel read my notes over my shoulder; I would say that if he could read my handwriting.  There are a couple of things I will say.  In the comments paper, there seems to be a really key thing demonstrated by the principle in the way that business plans are submitted.  I think there is no conflict of increasing the funding in the way that business plans were submitted; that will just be a bigger part to be submitted to and so it will be a much better thing for us to be doing.  We talk about the museums being shut in the winter, there is a really key thing there.  When my children were little and we used to desperately find something to do with them in the winter, I spent my life at the Maritime Museum with my son and my daughter when she was little at the museums and it is an absolute criminal fact they are closed in the winter.  We should be able to fund those on this Island.  The arts do give us a richness and a depth to what we have in our society and they do address tourism and young people returning; that is such a key thing.  I want my children to come back and live here.  It is unlikely that my daughter will come back, because she is in the bright lights of Liverpool, which is a phenomenal city and it was a city of culture for some time and that is what we need to be aiming for.  It includes the quality of lives and our well-being.  We talk about well-being so much, but those outlets for personal creativity are absolutely vital.  What we keep doing on this Island is running things down, because we cannot get our head out of the spreadsheets and get into what real life is about and the quality of life.  There is money available.  I think the point about the actual proposition, the increase in funding is over time.  It is a very limited increase in funding, anyway, it is just going to get us back to square one, which is amazing.  My personal passion is music and we need to support that.  I will not plug the band playing on Saturday night, but, anyway, we will move on.  I would say that if you spend £1 on healthcare, you do not get a return in finance terms.  You get people better and that is great, but it is a cost and we all accept that cost.  However, if you spend £1 on the arts, you will more than get that money back with the returns that you get in terms of what people spend on the Island and it has got to be seen as an investment that is worth making.  Let us pass this proposition, please, and then all move on.

3.1.24Senator S.W. Pallett:

I am going to keep to the notes, because I have not got time to do the prepared speech.  There has been an awful lot of passion here.  Considering this is Friday afternoon and we are all tired, I have got to say Deputy Labey was extremely impressive, as he always is.  But, let us remember, we are supporting this sector.  This is money over and above what we are doing now.  I think we all admit that we need to put more money into this sector.  I do not think there is much between anybody in here in terms of what we are trying to achieve; I think it is just how we are going to get there.  It is an amazingly important sector.  I have come to, over my time working with Deputy Tadier, be extremely impressed with not only just his passion for it, but his knowledge of the sector and working with him has been extremely enjoyable.  It does not give me any pleasure, as he knows, for reasons that I am not going to go into, it is very difficult to support this today.  But, I am just going to go through a couple of comments from one or 2 people.  Deputy Young, again, was also very entertaining and very eloquent, as he always is and I understand his long history in the arts sector.  But, in the previous debate around housing and the development at St. Peter, a lot of people talked about process, a lot of people talked about making things, we do things in order and being patient.  I think what people, from a Government perspective that are trying to put a Government Plan together, are saying is exactly that: is have some patience and let the process go through the Government Plan.  Unlike the Island Plan, that is going to take 2½ years, or 2 years, the Government Plan is supposed to take 2 months.  It is not an awful lot of time to wait to see whether the actual funding is in here.  I understand Deputy Tadier’s frustrations, because I have the same type of frustrations with sport and ensuring that adequate levels of funding are given to sport.  The Deputy of Grouville was absolutely right, both the sport and culture sector, I think, have been underfunded in recent years and need to get the level of funding they need to support Islanders.  We go on and on, I think, now around health and well-being in this Island and it is one of the key priorities of this Government in its Common Strategic Policy and we need to make sure it is funded properly.  But, all I would ask is that rather than jump the gun, let us just allow the Government Plan process to be followed through; I am repeating what other people have said, what other Ministers have said.  I am not a big one for processes and I have certainly got no patience, whatsoever.  But, it is only a short time to wait and, if Deputy Tadier and the arts and culture and heritage organisations do not get a level of funding that, I think, both myself and Deputy Tadier and the Minister thinks appropriate, then the 3 of us together will be back here, I think, asking Members to either amend the Government Plan, or provide the level of funding that is going to be needed, to ensure that they can flourish.  Because, at the moment, they are not flourishing, they are on a shoestring.  We know the sort of issues that they are coming up against; the Chief Minister has made that quite clear.  He is not hiding, at the moment, because he is not here, but he does not hide behind the fact that there are issues that need to be addressed.  We talk about them in ministerial meetings, virtually every week, around some of the issues that the Opera House and Arts Centre have to address.  All I would ask is for some patience; we will get to where we need to be.  I am not going to use the word laudable’, but it is a very laudable proposition.  It is setting out to achieve what we have to do and that is making sure that our commitment to arts, culture and heritage is what it should be.  Certainly, our heritage portfolio is, frankly, embarrassing in terms of the state it has been left to get into.  Elizabeth Castle is only one of a number where I would love to see that brought up to a standard where we could really be proud and show it off as an Island.  Yes, we have got to get there.

[17:00]

It is a couple of months, as Deputy Martin has said and many other Ministers have said, let us just be patient.  I would ask you to reject this.  But, as Deputy Tadier knows, we may be back and he may be right, this may be just wasting a period of time, before we have to come back and do it again.  But my feeling is that I think the Council of Ministers understand they have got to commit to it this time and they will commit to it this time.

3.1.25The Connétable of St. Brelade:

I shall be extremely brief, as always.  Just to reflect that Jersey is often described as a cultural desert; that is absolutely no reflection on those involved in arts and culture, but that statement is reflected in the spreadsheet in front of us.  If you look at the wording of the proposition, it has been alluded to by other speakers, this is an aspirational proposition, which is quite right.  It runs up to 2022.  I think the timing is perfect to get this on the table now and credit to Deputy Tadier for doing so.  Given those simple words, I shall support the proposition and sit down.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Does any other Member wish to speak on the proposition?  Then I call upon Deputy Tadier to reply.

3.1.26Deputy M. Tadier:

First of all, thank you to all the speakers who took the time to put their thoughts on the record, whether it was for, or against.  We had some very passionate speeches and even those who felt, I think, that they could not support this particular wording today, still spoke very positively in the right direction and, in particular, the penultimate speaker, my fellow Assistant Minister at E.D.T.S.C. (Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture).  The first thing I am going to say, and I will keep this brief again, so shall we got the same 10-minute rule?  It is probably a good idea. [Approbation] Can we settle on 7?  Let us settle on 7 and if there are any points of clarification, they count as stoppage time.  Okay, so let us see how we get on.  The first thing I want to say is that sports and culture, where you go all around the world in politics, it is always sport and culture are put together.  Sometimes, it is education, sport and culture.  It used to be education, sport and culture in Jersey, now it is economic development, tourism, sport and culture; those 2 always go together.  There is a very good reason for that; that is because, sometimes, this dichotomy is argued that sport gets so much, why do the arts not get so much?  Then other people say: “I do not really like the arts, I do not want to be sitting in a stuffy, old theatre; I want to be out there, either participating in sport, or watching it.”  The 2 always go hand in hand.  The speech that I appreciated most today and there were some very good speeches, was Deputy Pamplin’s, because he remembers a Jersey where we used to invest in this kind of stuff.  He has clearly been on his own trajectory.  There are certain things, as a young person growing up in Jersey, but it is universal, that give you the confidence that you need and he has clearly benefited from the arts and the investment, not just in terms of money, but in terms of the energy and often the voluntary work that goes around with all that.  I have certainly experienced different things, as a young person growing up.  I did not go into the arts, but certainly taking up music and having done a bit of drama it gives you confidence and that is to be praised and recognised.  I remember when I was young and, I think, 3 things sprung to mind; first of all, there was something called It’s a Knockout and it was on Liberation Day and I think it was Liberation Day in 1995 and my dad gave me his Liberation medal, that all young people got on the Liberation, because he was here in Jersey.  We walked around FB Fields and there were loads of fun things to do, including sports and it was great.  I was probably 9 years old at the time, or would that be right?  It could have been 1985.  But, anyway, I remember that was really fun.  That was not just sport, that was culture, that was all come in together as a great community event and that was really fun.  The second thing I remember is the Sports for All day, which took place on the Les Quennevais playing fields.  I do not know how old I was, but we have a house and had a house which opened up on to the playing fields, so I could just go out there.  There was all sorts of fun stuff going on that you could try.  You could try pétanque; that was the first time I ever got introduced to it.  There were horses that were riding round, some of them were pulling the chariots, or whatever they are behind them.  There were bouncy castles, there were trampolines, that is excellent and it was a really fun initiative and I think it was sponsored by the J.E.P. at the time, but that does not make it any less exciting.  I suspect it was not entirely funded by the J.E.P., I think there would have been an element, no doubt, of money that came from the Education Department and this is how things work in the industry.  There is a combination of funding between government and between corporations and private sponsorship.  What we have seen in Jersey, in the last few years, is a diminution over time; that is why these things do not happen anymore.  The third thing was this flash card that I was given as a student.  The flash card entitled all students in Jersey to go to the Jersey Heritage sites for free.  You could turn up to the museum, you could turn up to the Maritime Museum and Hamptonne.  Hamptonne has got a particular sentimental reason for me, because my late brother helped build that, the granite work up there, with another late ... Eugène Briand,who was a master stonemason; some people might remember him.  It is a great place.  I have been sent an email to answer the question as to why certain institutions, like the Maritime Museum and also Hamptonne started closing over the winter.  The Jersey Museum, which is our museum, closes over periods of the winter, because, in 2010, that was part of the settlement agreement for their cuts.  Let us call them what they are; the cuts started in 2010, they persisted to 2016 and the reason, Deputy Martin, that it only goes up to 2016 is because of the report, they used that period, the report reported back in 2018 and they have done it on that period.  There is nothing malevolent, or sneaky, going on, I am just basing it on the figures that they have got.  I have been in talks with Jersey Museum to ask at a high level, because, obviously, I am a socialist and I want to give all the money away, tongue in cheek.  I have asked them what it would cost if we wanted to open up all the Jersey Heritage sites for free, for everyone.  I have not got that figure to hand; it is not as much as you would think.  But, that is not what I am proposing now.  What I would like to do and what Jersey Heritage have suggested is that at least the Jersey Museum should be free of charge for everyone and we can talk about when it is opening.  I think that we should also make sure we have got cultural offerings the whole year round for tourists, because we want to get tourists here, not just in the summer months, we want them in the shoulder months.  But, you need chicken and egg; there is no point in doing that if you have got nothing to see and you need to invest in that in order to make sure you have got things for the tourists to do, so that is where we are at.  The precedent of that is that, in the Isle of Man, they keep their national museum free of charge.  The other places you have to charge for, so if you go and see their Laxey Wheel, you pay for it.  If you come to Jersey you will probably have to go and pay to visit Gorey Castle, but it is worth doing that, it is a beautiful castle, you do not have many medieval castles of that calibre around the world.  I am going to limit it to those points.  There are, probably, lots of other points I would make.  But, finally, what I would say is that let us look at a couple of things that other places do.  I remember going to a small Italian town … I am summing up now, it is probably more than 10 minutes, but indulge me.  They have these amazing lights, they call it son et lumière in French and it is a moving audio-visual feast.  On this occasion, it was projected onto a lovely old church, cathedral and everything moves and it is really fascinating; it is the first time I have seen it.  Then they had a top-class music act and that is in a small town.  I am thinking, while I am enjoying it, how on earth do they afford that?  I do not know what their overall budget is, as a town and clearly they are part of a bigger area.  The last point; I went to a conference in Edinburgh, as part of the Cultural Summit and one of the speakers there was from Romania and he was talking about his town, a medium-sized town, which was struggling, their economy was struggling.  They decided to invest in a festival and that festival, over a period of time, became really successful, it became nationally known and it became internationally acclaimed over a period of time.  It turns out that, if I remember rightly, I might be saying something wrong, that festival, in itself, accounted for 24 per cent of their G.D.P. (Gross Domestic Product) as a town, which is remarkable.  They also invest significantly in terms of their expenditure as a local council in that festival, because they know if there is an economic driver and that they get the money back.  Lastly, I particularly welcome the comments of Deputy Gardiner, our newest Member, who has explained, I do not think this was all she was saying, but the fact that it does open up your horizons.  One of the great things we have got, not just having Deputy Gardiner in this Assembly, but in the wider arts culture is that these people do travel.  We know the good Constable of St. Saviour came back from Tennessee recently.  She brought me a little memento, thank you for that.  But when people travel, they bring back and they cross-pollinate, because not everybody in Jersey has the money, or the ability, to get off the Island.  It is through the arts, the culture and heritage that we bring together the celebration of what is in the Island already, but open our eyes to what is outside.  I am sorry, I cannot cover everybody’s comments, but I do thank all Members for what has been a very edifying debate.  We do not have to wait for the Strategic Plan, or the Budget, to come out, we can tell Ministers to do this now.  I think we can finish in a positive way to all get behind the arts, culture and heritage sectors in Jersey and celebrate what we have but do our part, as a government, to support them. 

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

The appel has been called for and Members are invited to return to their seats and I ask the Greffier to open the voting.

POUR: 27

 

CONTRE: 15

 

ABSTAIN: 0

Senator K.L. Moore

 

Senator S.C. Ferguson

 

 

Senator S.Y. Mézec

 

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré

 

 

Connétable of St. Helier

 

Senator S.W. Pallett

 

 

Connétable of St. Saviour

 

Connétable of St. Lawrence

 

 

Connétable of St. Brelade

 

Connétable of St. John

 

 

Connétable of Trinity

 

Connétable of St. Mary

 

 

Connétable of St. Peter

 

Deputy J.A. Martin (H)

 

 

Connétable of St. Ouen

 

Deputy K.C. Lewis (S)

 

 

Connétable of St. Martin

 

Deputy S.J. Pinel (C)

 

 

Deputy G.P. Southern (H)

 

Deputy of St. Martin

 

 

Deputy of Grouville

 

Deputy of St. Ouen

 

 

Deputy M. Tadier (B)

 

Deputy of St. Mary

 

 

Deputy M.R. Higgins (H)

 

Deputy G.J. Truscott (B)

 

 

Deputy R. Labey (H)

 

Deputy L.B. Ash (C)

 

 

Deputy S.M. Wickenden (H)

 

Deputy G.C.U. Guida (L)

 

 

Deputy J.H. Young (B)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.F. Morel (L)

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. Peter

 

 

 

 

Deputy of Trinity

 

 

 

 

Deputy of St. John

 

 

 

 

Deputy M.R. Le Hegarat (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy S.M. Ahier (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy J.H. Perchard (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy R.J. Ward (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy C.S. Alves (H)

 

 

 

 

Deputy K.G. Pamplin (S)

 

 

 

 

Deputy I. Gardiner (H)

 

 

 

 

 

STATEMENTS ON A MATTER OF OFFICIAL RESPONSIBILITY

4.Statement by the Chief Minister regarding next steps in the development of the new hospital

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Thank you.  One last item, before we leave for the Bank Holiday weekend, in accordance with Standing Order 17(3), the Chief Minister advised the Greffier of the States yesterday, before 5.00 p.m., that he wished to make a statement today on the hospital project.  That is going to be circulated now.

4.1Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré (The Chief Minister):

As Members will be aware, I promised to publish a report on the next steps to be taken on the new hospital project.  I am pleased to say this report has now been provided to Members.  It has been sent electronically and will be made publicly available shortly.  It is clear that new proposals are needed, following the second rejection by a Minister for the Environment of a planning application to build a hospital on the Gloucester Street site and the subsequent decision of the Assembly to rescind the designation of that location as the preferred site.  In considering my new proposals, I have spoken to Members, over the course of 4 meetings, in order to hear their informal views on both how the previous project was undertaken and how we should act moving forwards.  I have also spoken with my senior officials.  In summary, I am proposing a phased approach, which will first establish the agreed clinical requirements of the new hospital.  Second, use these requirements to scope the size and shape of the new hospital, in order to steer the shortlisting process.  Third, through a process of communicating and engaging with Islanders and stakeholders on these locations, as well as alongside technical and financial assessments, identify a preferred site for the Government and Assembly to consider and approve.  This process will use relevant information that was gathered for the previous hospital project, but, importantly, it will be supplemented with up-to-date information, in particular surrounding developments in the Island’s health care model.  Following feedback from Members, we will create new governance oversight arrangements.  This will mean that there is appropriate governance in terms of political leadership, scrutiny and sign-off, while ensuring that the project moves at pace from here onwards.  I will establish, in conjunction with the Minister for the Environment, a proper public interest test, to ensure that appropriate consideration is given to this aspect, among competing interests, or ideas.  Likewise, I am committed to ensuring that the Government updates the planning framework appropriately, so that the new Island Plan specifically allows for a new hospital.  This will be subject to appropriate consultation, scrutiny and debate by the Assembly.  I will be appointing a new hospital project director, to both initiate this project and to develop an outline business case, in early 2020.  A draft planning submission will be produced, during 2020, in time for the new Island Plan.  Now, Members will note that the timeline in the report is ambitious, but I firmly believe, though, that if we, as Members, can get behind the process and ensure that there are no unreasonable delays, it should still be possible to deliver this within 20 months.  We need to acknowledge that this is a priority and it requires us to work together, in order to deliver a completed hospital to a similar target date as the previous scheme.  My report highlights 4 areas where we are going to be working differently compared to previously.  Firstly, there will be increased engagement with Members, staff, stakeholders and Islanders, with the use of citizen panels. 

[17:15]

We will also work more closely and constructively with Scrutiny.  Secondly, we will review the model of healthcare delivery in the Island, under the leadership of the Minister for Health and Social Services.  We need to ensure that the clinical requirements of the new hospital are up-to-date.  Thirdly, there will be a construction and development partner earlier in the process.  This will drive down costs.  Finally, we must learn from past successes and mistakes and build on that experience.  We must get it right this time and deliver the modern, fit-for-purpose hospital that our Island urgently needs.  The timetable is ambitious and challenging, but it is necessary in order to deliver this crucial project as soon as possible.  So, provided we all work together over the forthcoming period to make this ambition a reality, I am confident we can deliver this project to the benefit of current and future Islanders.  Thank you, Ma’am. 

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

The Standing Order provides that there should follow a period of 15 minutes’ questions and I saw Senator Moore’s light first.

4.1.1Senator K.L. Moore:

It is interesting to note that the Chief Minister suggests that the clinical requirements to the hospital will be revisited as part of this process.  He acknowledges that these were set out in the Gleeds report of 2012.  Does the Chief Minister accept that, in this ever-changing world, it is almost impossible to ever draw a line to those clinical requirements, because, as soon as the ink is dry, one could update them the following day, as they will already be out of date?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I think the Senator, when she makes that point … the point we need to bear in mind is that we are now 2019 and it is, therefore, some 7 years since those clinical requirements were looked at.  Certainly, under the Minister for Health and Social Services, particularly with his new team that have been put in place over the previous months, it is certainly true that there is a different approach being considered in relation to the provision of healthcare.  That is likely, at this stage, to have an impact on the hospital specifications. 

4.1.2Deputy G.P. Southern of St. Helier:

In terms of financing, will the financing involve any form of P.F.I. (private finance initiative), whereby the upfront immediate costs are reduced, but we end up paying for the next 30 years.

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

From my point of view, I am not considering a P.F.I. model.  What I am focusing on at this stage is getting the project moving, getting these clinical specifications sorted, getting the site sorted out and getting the project going.  The financing and the exact measures will be part of that process.

4.1.3The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

I note that the Chief Minister will be appointing a new hospital project director.  Will he tell us whether there is a current hospital project director and, if there is, what will happen to them and, if not, what happened to the previous incumbent?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

In terms of the project, at present we have an interim person, who is assisting on this project and other projects.  That interim individual is going to be appointed, replaced with a permanent position.  He will then become the hospital project director.  In terms of the previous incumbent, if it is the individual I am thinking of, they are still remaining in Health, but they are not on the present team or proposed team.

4.1.4Deputy J.H. Perchard:

Is the Chief Minister able to clarify which Scrutiny Panel will have the responsibility for the oversight of this work?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

That is a matter for the Chairmen’s Committee.  There is a Future Hospital Review Panel, I believe, that is in play.

4.1.5Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

I have 2 questions for the Chief Minister; obviously, no surprise, drawn to mental health.  Under point 2, general agreement on mental health being on the same site as the Future Hospital, how does that impact the capital project and the highlights we issued in our Scrutiny report and our visit to Orchard House in the capital project to replace mental health as the Minister for Health and Social Services instructed within 18 months?  Looking at that, it is almost suggesting it is all going to be in the same place.  I know it then says other aspects of mental health should be located elsewhere.  La Chasse, obviously, is another area; just some clarity on that.  Secondly, overall, with all this in place, when does he want to see a spade in the ground, or when can he tell us that could be?  I have not had time to read all of this yet.

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

In terms of mental health, within the report we make reference to the medium term and that is getting the urgent funding resolved for the likes of Orchard House, et cetera.  There are plans in place for that.  That then gives time to consider exactly, to what extent, any new mental health facilities will be required, which would be then incorporated into the main programme.  I hope that gives an answer.  I acknowledge we are looking to sort out the current problems and then get it right going forward.  In terms of the timescale, what we have said is that we are looking to try and get things into play in the next 18 to 20 months.  That is in the outline business case, from memory, for the early part of next year and then moving from then forwards. 

4.1.6Deputy K.F. Morel:

Just very quickly, following on from the Constable of St. Lawrence; when I was in the session that you led, you talked about a political champion for this project.  At the moment, I understand it is you, but have you had further discussions about who will be that political champion?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

If the Deputy would bear with me for 30 seconds, while I turn to the correct page, which gives me the full details ...

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

While you do that, Chief Minister, if I could remind Members that it should be through the Chair.

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

The Chairman of the Political Oversight Group will be the Deputy Chief Minister, Senator Farnham.  Essentially the vice-chair, if you like, the political champion is going to be the Assistant Minister for Health and Social Services and the Minister for Infrastructure, the Deputy of Trinity.  I, or my Assistant Minister, the Connétable of St. John, will sit on there, to a certain stage.  Obviously, the Minister for Health and Social Services and Minister for Infrastructure will be there, the Assistant Minister for Treasury and Resources, the Deputy of St. Peter and the Connétable of Trinity.  I am also waiting to hear back from a couple of other Members to give a balance.

4.1.7Senator K.L. Moore:

What evidence does the Chief Minister have that he can meet the timeline that has been set out in this report?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

That has been a subject of discussion at official level and even with the Ministers.  In the experience of the officials involved, although it is as I have said, an ambitious timetable, they believe it is achievable, with their experience.  Part of that is about doing things differently and part of that is making sure we do things in parallel, rather than just sequentially. 

Senator K.L. Moore:

Sorry, I had absolutely no idea what that meant.  Could we have the evidence, please?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

As I said, the officials, who have had experience in these projects, have said it is an ambitious timetable, but they believe it is achievable.  That is from their experience in delivering these types of projects previously.  I do not have written documentation in front of me today, to give the Senator as evidence, but I am sure she will be seeking it, as part of her Scrutiny review.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Senator, do you have a further question?

Senator K.L. Moore:

I could ask many more questions, Ma’am, if nobody in the Assembly wishes to.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Sorry, I had not seen the light of Deputy of St. Martin.

4.1.8he Deputy of St. Martin:

Does the Chief Minister mean to intend to shortcut the planning process?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

It depends what the Deputy means by shortcut.  What we have said, we need to look at, as part of the feedback, is for example, look at the public interest test and to get some clarification around that.  We have also said that, depending on how that all feeds together, that there should be something in the Island Plan and that depends on the timing of the Island Plan.  I do not know if I like the word shortcut, but we do need to look at the processes within the planning and see where we can improve on them.  One of them will be around the public interest test and that will be a discussion that will come out of the work that is in the timelines we are talking about.

The Deputy of St. Martin:

I will take that as a yes then.

4.1.9Senator S.W. Pallett:

I just wonder if the Chief Minister could tell the Assembly what he is putting in place to ensure that the views of clinicians and senior staff at the hospital are part of the future planning process?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I would like to thank the Senator.  We are very clear that proper engagement, but particularly staff engagement, has got to be done in this matter.  There will be a procedure in place.  What I am envisaging is that, as the political oversight group comes together, they will issue certain steps publicly, which will say: “This is what we are going to do.”

4.1.10Senator S.C. Ferguson:

Will the Chief Minister assure us that the project director, who will be appointed for this project, has a suitable amount of technical experience in the construction of large buildings and projects, so we can get this project going properly?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

That discussion has already been had and absolutely.

4.1.11The Connétable of St. Brelade:

Just briefly, I would like to take the opportunity of congratulating the Chief Minister on getting to this stage.  A lot of the problem with the previous propositions was lack of communication.  I feel, as an Assembly, we are going in the right direction with this and I look forward to it progressing further at a similar pace.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

What is your question, Constable?

The Connétable of St. Brelade:

Would he kindly agree?  [Laughter]

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Absolutely.  I really do thank the Connétable for those comments, it is welcome.  This is a point; it is a step forward.  I hope from now going forward, we have said it is an ambitious timetable and we have put a degree of thought into getting the political oversight group together and are starting to get the structure at the officer level sorted out.  That will continue.  I really do hope and want a different approach to how it is going through.  This is step one.  I thank and absolutely agree with the Connétable.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

Are there any further questions?  Very well then that concludes Public Business for this meeting. 

 

ARRANGEMENT OF PUBLIC BUSINESS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

I invite the Chairman of P.P.C. to propose the arrangement of public business for future meetings.

5.Deputy R. Labey (Chairman, Privileges and Procedures Committee):

As matters stand, I have only 2 additions to the arrangement of business published on the Consolidated Order Paper.  Draft Human Transplantation and Anatomy Appointed Day Act and Regulations P.48/2019 and P.49/2019 respectively.  I would like to advise the Assembly that P.P.C. will not be taking P.46/2019, Reform of the Composition and Election of the States on 4th June.  That will be taken later.  I will advise Members as soon as we have fixed a date, just so that the consultation and information process can continue.  I do not have information about a proposed vote of no confidence, which has been lodged. 

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

It has not been lodged, as yet.

Deputy R. Labey:

It has not been lodged?  In which case I propose the arrangement of public business, Ma’am.

5.1Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Sorry, can I just give notice?  I will give a date later.  P.47/2019 is unlikely to be on 4th June, but it will be put later back.

5.2Deputy J.A. Martin:

We are told it is in the pipeline, when will it be discussed?  I only ask this, because myself and the Constables of St. Helier, Brelade and Deputy Ward will not be here on the 21st.  We are in Guernsey, as you know, Ma’am.  If there is a vote of no confidence, it is normally on the next States sitting.  It is ridiculous to leave it until the 4th.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

That is absolutely right.  It is usually the first item.  At this moment in time, we have no matter lodged at present.

5.3The Connétable of St. Lawrence:

May I ask the Chairman of P.P.C., please, to give an indication of when he will be bringing forward his proposition on the reform on the Constitution of the States?  Is it going to be before the summer recess?  Is it going to be afterwards?  An indication would be extremely helpful.

5.3.1Deputy R. Labey:

That is the 64 million dollar question.  Could I just ask for forbearance, for 48 hours, until I can consult with my Committee?  I will email the Constable and the rest of Members when we have a date.

The Deputy Greffier of the States (in the Chair):

The adjournment has been proposed.  The States stand adjourned until 9th May, when we will be meeting for the Liberation Day celebrations at 10.30 a.m.  Members should be in their seats by 10.15 a.m.  The States stand adjourned until next week.

ADJOURNMENT

[17:30]

 

1

 

Back to top
rating button