I have been concerned for some time about the effect decisions made by Planning is having on the Northern parishes. I'm not suggesting any wrong-doing but I am suggesting that the IDP is flawed, especially since it was revealed that the number of new houses required is half that which the plan was based on.
For all the new housing that has been built, or is about to be built, we have totally failed to provide the affordable housing that our young folk need to settle down and start families of their own.
Even if we did by some miracle produce affordable housing, there is no mechanism by which it can be kept affordable – it would simply be snapped up and then sold on for opportunistic profit.
It begs the question, if we are not building for the greater needs of the community, who are we building for?
Vital spaces lost
In the Vale we see small but really quite important green fields being gobbled up, changing forever the look of the parish, depriving the residents of amenity that is beneficial for their well being. These spaces are vital for wildlife, birds, bats, rabbits, hedgehogs and all sorts of other little creatures and in a small way contributes to the well being of the planet.
In St Sampson's, a development has been approved where road access is far from ideal and now there is a draft development framework for 150 houses on the former Kenilworth Vinery with access on to the Braye Road.
150 houses could mean an extra 300 vehicles coming and going as the residents go about their daily business. This might not sound too bad in isolation but when added to the cars from the developments further along the Braye, in the Tertre Lane and La Hure Mare, that is going to be many hundreds of vehicles all needing to either cross the Bridge or use the Crossways traffic light junction.
There has been no development of the road network to accommodate all this extra traffic. At peak times and on Saturdays it is common to see traffic backed up for quite some distance from the traffic lights in all four directions. Crossing the Bridge can be a very frustrating experience, especially when people clog up the flow by waiting for parking spaces that just aren't there.
We are being pushed towards gridlock by the effects of the IDP and gridlock is bad for emissions, therefore bad for the planet.
At a time when the States themselves are deeply concerned about the effect of global warming and, in particular, rising sea levels, it seems perverse to be concreting over green spaces which can only add to environmental problems, when what we should be doing is preserving green spaces and planting trees to help reduce the Island's environmental impact.
All of the land in the Braye is below sea level, the water is held back by two man-made banks, one at the Bridge and one at Sandy Hook, and the Royal Haskoning report identified these as areas of concern with regard to rising sea levels. I find it rather cynical that the States is prepared to continue to allow building in the Braye when to the best of my knowledge they have, as yet, no solid plan to prevent breakthrough.
I believe in a rapidly changing world and with an increasingly clearer picture of the effects of global warming it is now imperative that the States review the IDP and I call for the Deputies of the Northern parishes to make this happen.