CourtRoyal Court
Judge(Ereaut, Deputy Bailiff and Jurats Luce and Hyland):
Judgment Date23 December 1969
Date23 December 1969
(Ereaut, Deputy Bailiff and Jurats Luce and Hyland):

V. Vibert for the appellant;

P.L. Crill, Attorney General, for the respondent.

Planning Law—development—extension of development—extension of development not necessarily to be allowed merely because allowed elsewhere in Island

Planning Law—procedure for decision—consideration of relevant matters—Committee has duty to make proper inquiry before dismissing applicant's submissions—wrong not to consider need of expert plant breeder to live in isolated location for work of benefit to Island's agricultural industry

EREAUT, DEPUTY BAILIFF: This action arises out of an appeal brought under Article 21 of the Island Planning (Jersey) Law, 1964 (to which we hereinafter refer as "the Law") against the decision of the Committee of 7th February, 1969, to refuse permission for the construction of a house at Field 151, La Rue du Moulin, Lecq, St. Ouen.

The history of this case begins on 23rd May, 1968, when an application was made to the Committee on behalf of the appellant for permission to construct a dwelling-house on part of the above-described field. That application was accompanied by a letter of the same date from Advocate V. Vibert, acting for the appellant, of which the following is an extract:—

"I am not acquainted with the site, and it may be that it is one which, in the normal case, your Committee might not be minded to approve for building; but I write in order to advise your Committee of the very special factors which might well be considered weighty enough to tip the balance, if necessary, in favour of approval.

Mr. Taylor has very rare talents, being a qualified seedsman (which is other than a trader who knows what packet to sell, and of whom there now remain only 4 in the U.K. qualified in the whole range of seeds) and a plant breeder. Having spent his life in this work—known to Jersey growers particularly on account of his 'superlative' tomato, which was grown almost exclusively in all glasshouses in Jersey from 1960 to 1966—Mr. Taylor settled in Jersey fifteen months ago as Horticultural Adviser with the C.G.A. And during that time he has been seeking out a site at which he can carry on with his specialised work.

Such site must satisfy the following requirements:—

1. It must be isolated from gardens in which grow plants of the same species as those which are being bred; otherwise the breeding plants will become impure with uncontrolled cross-pollination.

2. The constant attention which the breeding plants require demands that the breeder must live on site.

The site in question is chosen because the farmlands nearby, appropriate parts of which Mr. Renouf would let to Mr. Taylor, ideally satisfy the requirement of isolation.

The best reference which could be obtained as to the value to Jersey of Mr. Taylor's work, and as to the special requirements of the site at which he can do that work, would come from Mr. Bastion, Head of the States' Farm. Further confirmation of the value to Jersey agriculture of the advisory service given by Mr. Taylor could be obtained from a wide range of growers, including Deputy J.E. Gaudin, Senator W.E. Perchard and Jurat F. Le Boutillier."

On 19th June, 1968, the Committee considered the application and the accompanying letter and decided to reject the application on the ground that—

"the proposed work would involve an extension of building development in the countryside, on agricultural land, contrary to the provisions of the Development Plan, and would detract from the beauty of the landscape and the countryside."

That decision was communicated to the appellant on 1st July, 1968, and a letter of the same date explaining the general policy of the Committee in amplification of the formal grounds of rejection was sent to him by the President.

It is necessary at this stage to make two observations.

First, the Committee did not, before rejecting the application, visit the site, nor, so far as we are aware, make any enquiries as to the special considerations referred to in Advocate Vibert's letter.

Secondly, Field 151 is situate in one of the "white" areas shown on the States of Jersey Approved Island Zoning Plan. The Explanatory Statement issued by the Committee in October, 1963, refers to the "white" areas in these terms—

"This covers all land not included in other designated zones and is primarily regarded as agricultural land. No extensive development in this zone would be envisaged during the life of the first review of the Plan, though individual minor applications may be approved provided they are in conformity with the basic principles of the Plan and previous decisions of the States, in particular the States' decisions of the 17th October, 1961:—

1. That new isolated dwellings should only be permitted in the most exceptional circumstances where the proposal would actually enhance the beauty of the landscape; and

2. That no proposal for group development for private enterprise should generally be accepted unless it forms part of a Development Plan approved by the States".

The Statement continues that the Approved Zoning Plan and the Statement will be used by the Committee as the basis for the consideration of all applications for development.

On 3rd August, 1968, Advocate Vibert wrote to the Committee's Chief Executive Officer. Having pointed out that neither the formal grounds of rejection nor the President's letter had referred to the special considerations mentioned in the letter of 23rd May, the letter continued—

"Our case is that the work which Mr. Taylor wants to do in Jersey could be of great potential value to the agricultural and horticultural industries of this Island, and that to enable him to do this work would be, to quote Article 2 of the Law, to ensure that the land in question is used in a manner serving the best interests of the community without running counter to any of the other purposes of the Law recited in that Article. In order to satisfy the Committee of the value of Mr. Taylor's work and of the necessity that he live on site may we please have the opportunity of interview with the Committee I would ask for a date not earlier than the 26th August, but meanwhile the Committee might usefully obtain confirmation of the value of Mr. Taylor's work by reference to Mr. Bastion, head of the States' Farm, either direct or through the Committee of Agriculture."

On 14th August, 1968, the Committee considered that letter, and having decided that no new grounds had been disclosed such as to justify a reversal of its previous decision decided to...

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7 cases
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    ...J.P.L. 114; (1970), 22 P. & C.R. 255; 68 L.G.R. 788; 114 Sol. Jo. 753, dictum of Cooke, J. considered. (37) Taylor v. Island Dev. Cttee., 1969 J.J. 1267. (38) Tett v. States, 1972 J.J. 2249. (39) Wilson v. Liverpool Corp., [1971] 1 W.L.R. 302; [1971] 1 All E.R. 628; (1970), 22 P. & C.R. 282......
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