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Page last updated at 14:46 GMT, Friday, 5 March 2010

Guernsey planning process is 'open to public'

The planning process in Guernsey has become more open to the public, a scrutiny panel has found.

It follows the Environment Department being questioned over what changes had been implemented since an external review in 2008.

Environment Minister Peter Sirett said the planning process has become more accessible, open and transparent.

Scrutiny lead member Deputy Mike Hadley said the department had reacted to the report and made the changes needed.

Deputy Sirett said a new planning law, introduced in April, was "helping us to be far more open and transparent and I think it's producing results for the public at large".

He said one of the big improvements was that, since February, people could track planning applications on the internet.

Jersey visit

Deputy Hadley said: "One of the things I like about the process is that we're looking at a report which the States commissioned which obviously costs money and so often the States are criticised for having these reports and sticking them in the bottom draw.

"I think the department did show that they had in fact acted on a lot of the report and made changes to the way they work."

Deputy Sirett, his Deputy Minister Jenny Tasker and three of the department's senior civil servants faced the scrutiny panel, appointed by the Scrutiny Committee, in a meeting open to the public on Thursday.

The 2008 review was carried out by Chris Shepley, the former Chief Planning Inspector for England and Wales, and came back with a number of recommendations.

One recommendation, to open planning meetings to the public, is next on the agenda with a planned visit to Jersey to see how the planning process works there.



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