This article was first published in Prestige magazine.
Whilst Jersey continues to attract retiring high net worth individuals to the Island, it’s clear to us that the demographic is shifting towards younger entrepreneurs with families. The type of property being purchased by those coming to live here has also changed as have their needs. Developing and changing properties and its gardens to meet an individual’s needs can be costly and time consuming. Knowledge of what works can be carried out to a property or a garden without the need to obtain Planning or building control permissions is helpful and can save time.
For example, the Planning and Building (General Development) (Jersey) Order 2011 (the GDO) allows “the erection, construction or placing” of “a structure required for a purpose (other than human habitation)” within the curtilage of a dwelling-house without the need for planning permission, under the “permitted development” exception. This might be a summer shed, pool house or other similar structure. The GDO sets out the requirements for the construction to be exempt which includes where it is positioned and its proximity to a neighbouring property. The GDO also contains other exemptions from the need to apply for Planning consent and so it is worth checking this out before deciding what works to carry out.
Jersey Planning law also allows any person who lives within 50 metres of a property to object to any application by way of a legal appeal. You may wish to share your proposals with your neighbours in advance before finalising any plans as you may be able to address their concerns and avoid a lengthy “third party” appeal process.
Property rights and boundaries are not really considered by the Planning department when reviewing an application. It is up to each property owner to ensure they understand and comply with their legal obligations before drawing up and submitting plans. It is important, therefore, that owners understand the rights and obligations attaching to their land and which are in their contract of purchase.
In addition, there are also customary Jersey laws which govern where and how buildings can be built. Such matters include how close to a boundary, any windows may be positioned and what can and cannot be done with a jointly owned boundary wall.
In summary, anyone looking to re-locate to the Island and carry out significant work to a property will need to check what restrictions apply to the property, both in contract and under customary law and also check out the Planning law exemptions to see if any of the proposed work can fall under those exemptions.