The news that the Planning Department has increased the cost of planning applications has been condemned by the Jersey Construction Council, the sector’s representative body.
JeCC Vice Chairman Phil James said he laments the decision by the Planning Department to raise planning fees and so further stifle construction in Jersey. This comes at a time when the industry is already struggling in the challenging economic climate and leaves fees up to four times higher than in Guernsey and the UK.
Mr James said: ‘This decision has been taken without any reference to the impact it could have on construction projects getting off the drawing board. 2.5% may seem a small increase but when placed in the context of a multi-million pound project, the sum will have a significant influence on whether it happens. That means another constraint on employment’.
Mr James went on to identify the apparent contradiction in the department’s approach to managing their costs and government objectives to hold down public sector pay. He said: ‘It is worthy of note that Andy Scate cites cost of staff as a primary source of additional expenditure which does not exactly dovetail with the current cap on public sector pay agreements. Whilst he is keen to announce that the planning application service could soon stop being a cost to the tax payer, he fails to mention that this cost will likely be passed on to the Construction Industry. Now is not the time to be adding new costs to our sector’.