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Constable asks outgoing Chief Minister to pause compulsory purchase of Parish land

Constable asks outgoing Chief Minister to pause compulsory purchase of Parish land

St Helier’s Constable, Simon Crowcroft, has written to the outgoing Chief Minister asking him not to proceed with the final stages of the compulsory purchase of Parish land. Constable of St Helier, Simon Crowcroft, has written to John Le Fondré, outgoing Chief Minister, asking him to pause the compulsory purchase process so that parishioners have an opportunity to consider properly the offer being put to them by the Government and to allow the new Government to decide whether it is necessary to complete the compulsory purchase or not.

The day before last week’s election, the Parish received formal notice from the States Greffe of the amount that the Government was offering to pay to acquire Parish land as part of the compulsory purchase process, initiated via States Assembly proposition P80/2021. Following the election, the Constable and his two Procureurs du Bien Public have reviewed the formal Notices and concluded that they must be considered by a Parish Assembly before they can respond to Government. The Notices only allow the Parish 8 days in which to respond; this is the minimum notice period allowed under the legislation. The Parish’s CEO, Jason Turner, has written to the States Greffier explaining that having received the Compulsory Purchase Notices immediately before the election, it has not been possible or practical to hold a Parish Assembly and respond to the Notices within the 8-day notice period. The Parish has requested that it be given time to hold a Parish Assembly on 13th July when parishioners can consider these latest Compulsory Purchase Notices.

Procureurs du Bien Public, Peter Pearce and Geraint Jennings, said: “This is a very important matter that requires proper consideration by our Parish Assembly. We sincerely hope that we are given sufficient time to enable this matter to be put to our parishioners for their consideration. We don’t believe giving us a further couple of weeks to consider this matter will have any impact at all on a project that is expected to span many years”.

The latest offer from the Government to acquire the Parish land was described by the Constable and Procureurs du Bien Public as extremely disappointing and concerning. The Constable explained, “Not only is the offer more than £1m less than the offer previously received and rejected by a Parish Assembly, but Government has also withdrawn its offer of a land swap for the land currently occupied by the Jersey Bowling Club; they are now simply offering a relatively small financial sum of compensation for the land. This would effectively end the 100+-year-old relationship between the Parish and the Jersey Bowling Club, which is entirely unacceptable”.

The Constable continued, “I have asked the outgoing Chief Minister not to take any further action over the next few days but to allow the new Government and its ministers to decide whether or not to proceed with the compulsory purchase of our land under what can only be described as a very controversial circumstance. I am aware that many newly-elected members, whilst supportive of the need for a new hospital, are not supportive of the development of Westmount Road into a “super highway”. It is only right and proper that we pause for a few days whilst the transition to the new Government is completed.”

Notes for editors:

The Parish received 11 Compulsory Purchase Notices on 21st June 2022 in respect of Parish-owned land, including a Parish car, car parking along the edge of People's Park, the Jersey Bowling Club, and various areas adjacent to Westmount Road. These Notices reflect Parish-owned land identified in plans included in States Assembly proposition P80/2021.

The Notices set out the amount of compensation offered by the Government of Jersey for each parcel of land; totalling £5.2 million.

A Parish Assembly held in December 2021 considered and rejected a previous offer from the Government to acquire Parish land for £6.5million, plus a land swap for the land occupied by the Jersey Bowling Club.

Attached: Copy of letter from the Constable to Chief Minister