Statement to the Planning Applications Committee
It is public knowledge that delivery of the JIFC is demand led. If we are to build an office we must first secure a tenant. If we are to secure a tenant we must have a Planning permission.
Jersey Development Company has tight commitments to meet in relation to negotiations with prospective tenants. JDC is currently in a two horse race for a significant prospective tenant for Building 5 and needs to satisfy this prospective tenant in short order of JDC's ability to deliver Building 5. A key to satisfying the prospective tenant is securing Planning consent. If we do not satisfy this prospective tenant there is a real risk that JDC will lose it to a rival developer.
JDC is a wholly States owned Company and, ultimately, acts in the public's best interest. We are trying to discharge our responsibility to our shareholder.
The Appeal that has been lodged by C Le Masurier risks JDC losing a significant tenant due to timing.
JDC’s competitors in the commercial office market are, in JDC’s view, utilising the planning appeal process to try to gain a commercial advantage, and stifle the development of the JIFC. CLM is a competitor property developer. CLM is the owner of sites with the potential to compete with the Esplanade Quarter: it is the owner of 33-34 Esplanade, St. Helier; and it is the owner of 31-41 Broad Street and 19-29 Commercial Street, St. Helier, in relation to which it holds a Planning permit (granted in 2011) for a 280,000 sq. ft. office development.
It is worth highlighting that in its appeal against Planning permission P/2014/2192 C Le Masurier does not at all claim that its property will be affected by the proposed development. Rather its appeal concerns wider policy issues about the Waterfront Masterplan and the Esplanade Quarter. Why would a competitor developer be interested in pursuing an appeal based on such issues? These are matters that have been well rehearsed during the consideration of the applications for buildings no 1, and 4 of the JIFC.
The States of Jersey determined that it is in the public interest for the JIFC to be delivered. The JDC are mandated by the States of Jersey to deliver the JIFC, and must ensure it does all within its power to achieve that objective in pursuit of the greater public interest.