Complaint Against Planning Upheld
An islander’s complaint against Jersey’s Planning department has been upheld.
Ivor Barette has been told he should receive a written apology for the way applications for his farmhouse in St Mary were handled.
Broughton Lodge Farm has been covered in protest banners for more than 18 months.
Mr Barrette halted renovations in 2016 when he was fined £50,000 for breaching planning laws.
In June, the Complaints Board heard his grievance that Planning Enforcement Officers were excessively monitoring building work.
One of them had previously been a police officer, disciplined for a substantiated misconduct claim made by Mr Barette.
The panel says that officer should never have been involved in this application, and that his presence was ‘provocative and antagonistic’.
“The fact that one of the Enforcement Officers had been disciplined when he was a police officer following a substantiated misconduct complaint by Mr Barette, should have been taken into consideration by Planning and that officer should not have been involved in Mr Barette’s case in any way. His continued presence in itself was provocative and antagonistic.” -Janice Eden, Complaints Board member.
Planning is being told to make more rigorous check to avoid future conflicts of interest.
“The Board recommends that there should be a rigorous procedure implemented to review and monitor potential conflicts of interest in relation to those involved in the planning process and that a senior manager should be tasked with the responsibility of having such oversight and have the power to intervene, particularly when a complaint is made. We also recommend that Mr Barette receives a written apology from the Department.”
The Board says it does not condone that Mr Barette took matters into his own hands by removing and disposing of windows, but says it understands his rationale for doing so.
“This case is a prime example of how the government interacting with private citizens can have an enormous effect both emotionally and financially on those concerned, especially when communication breaks down, as it did in this instance.”
In response, a Planning Department spokesman said:
“We have only recently received the Complaints Board report, which focused on the planning process rather than a breach of planning law.
“The Minister will review the report and its recommendations with the planning department management and consider improvements to procedures that minimise stress for the public.
“A more detailed comment will be provided after the Complaint Board report has been considered in detail.”