Thursday, September 26, 2013

JERSEY REFORM DAY 1769 - 2013 Yet another forgotten anniversary

Saturday 28 September

On 20 November 2012 the States voted to make “Reform Day” an officially recognised and celebrated day in the Jersey year.
It was to be in memory of the events of 28 September 1769 when Islanders overthrew the Royal Court etc – then in session – to demand substantial reform of the systems of justice, government and administration.

The Vote on Deputy T. Pitman’s Proposition P107/2012 last October being;
21 for, 18 against and 12 absent.

The 21 were;

Alan Breckon
Sarah Ferguson
Dan Murphy
Deidre Mezbourian
Michael Paddock
Stephen Pallet
Michael Le Troquer
Roy Le Herissier
Judith Martin
Geoff Southern
Carolyn Labey
Shona Pitman
Kevin Lewis
Montfort Tadier
Trevor Pitman
Tracey Vallois
Michael Higgins
Jeremy Macon
Susan Pinel
John Le Bailly
Richard Rondel

No events, official or otherwise, appear to have been organised this year – 2013 – the first opportunity to celebrate the events of 1769, in accordance with the States decision.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

"Heads in the Sand" - the traditional Jersey approach to Planning .

The Planning Minister - Deputy Duhamel - aka Minister for the Environment, has invited comments on proposals to relax some of the rules on "Green Zoned" land in Jersey and release it for housing devlopment.
Such comments from the public must be lodged by 25 September and are centred upon some specific areas that include "glass house" sites. The invitation however appears to allow for more general comments to be submitted and for other sites to be put forward.

Here I am copying my own submission which calls for the scrapping of the entire Island Plan.
This is not some spiteful and ill-considered comment. I have been submitting reasoned arguments to the "Planning Department" for years and lobbying States Memebers on these and all sorts of related matters.
My efforts have of course been a complete waste of my time and effort.
Undaunted however, I have prepared this latest document and sent it off to the Department and I shall be circulating it too to all States Members and anybody else who might be "interested".

Submission to the Environment Department on the re-zoning of land under the Jersey Island Plan for housing purposes                                      by Michael Dun                                     20 September 2013

Before and during the Island Plan Review – Examination in Public - I devoted weeks of my time preparing submissions and attending the meetings.
I addressed the Inspectors on several occasions.
The main – but not only – focus of my concern was with the abysmal inadequacy of the proposed “Housing” section of the Proposed Island Plan.
I pleaded with the Inspectors to recommend that the whole Plan should be aborted until such time as the “Housing” part might be reconsidered and rewritten. Or, at the very least, the Housing section should be extracted and reconsidered if the remainder of the Plan were to proceed.

The whole Plan had been prepared in advance of the Census taking place or the results analysed and it was visibly defective being based on out of date statistics.

Of course, my pleas were disregarded. Yet it is now absolutely clear that the Housing proposals in the Island Plan are, as I predicted, totally inadequate and they are being re-considered just two years later.

Last week I attended the latest Scrutiny Panel meeting where the current Housing Minister explained that his “waiting list” for known families had grown to over 700 families needing “social housing” and the delivery of potential building sites was not going to meet any known demand.
Many of these were people needing “accessible” housing due to their disabilities but no attempt has ever been made in Jersey to quantify the actual numbers who might require such accommodation. Yet the Health Minister is currently peddling a wholesale reform of services that includes a policy of the sick and aged “caring for themselves in their own homes”. It is of course meaningless PR speak without a supportive Island Plan based upon research.

In fact, the Housing Department (soon to be scrapped) has no overall knowledge about supply and demand for housing in Jersey because the largest sector – that of private housing provision – is not monitored in any way. There simply is no reliable information about the vast majority of Jersey residents who have not appeared on the “social waiting list” of the Housing Department.
Even that list is wholly defective because it precludes most married couples less than 50 years of age without children or single young people under 25 etc and of course the Department has no legal responsibility to house anybody at all, no matter how desperate might be their need.

That there is no supply of “affordable housing” in Jersey and how this is related to the absurd housing control laws or other discriminatory policies ought to be the subject of examination. Unfortunately, this Island government prefers to proceed on the basis of no knowledge.

So the whole history of housing provision is based upon totally inadequate and misleading information so far as those with “qualifications” are considered.
Yet even more extraordinary is that 10,000 working adults (about one fifth of the entire working population) are entirely excluded from the so called Social housing list or meaningful consideration under the Island Plan.
Although I pleaded with the Planning Inspectors that the Plan made no provision for the “unqualified” - and they included a limp note to acknowledge this in their final Report – the planners have (as always) ignored the needs of the 10,000 and the Housing Minister was not even asked about them at last week’s Scrutiny hearing referred to above.
Yet the Health and Housing Departments have published proposals that will supposedly give security of tenure to all tenants and lodgers (qualified or not) besides minimum standards of accommodation whilst the Island Plan includes no indication how such reforms might be achieved.

The 10,000 “without qualies” are like a tribe that does not exist – yet it is they who hold the economic key to providing the rents and mortgages that Jersey housing market needs to fund new housing developments. Of course, it is just another part of the discrimination scandal that their “rents” fill the pockets of the privileged rentiers and property owners who extract probably £30 millions or more each year from this sector (which includes a substantial – but unmeasured – contribution from “public taxes” in the form of “rent rebates” from the Social Security Income Support fund).

A previous Island Plan offered the extraordinary excuse that the Island’s building industry was too small so that any attempt to end the housing shortage for those “without qualies” must be put off for another day. But now that the building sector is screaming out for new projects, nobody suggests that building homes for those without “qualies” might be a realistic and necessary option.

At its root in the 1949 Housing Law, the current housing problems are based upon prejudice and discrimination wrapped up in concepts such as “bona fide residents” which government departments seem determined to perpetuate. This in spite of the Jersey Court Judgement re BBC v Housing Committee (1980) which decided that the use of Housing Control Laws to attempt to  control “immigration” were illegal.
Unfortunately, it is a judgement that does not fit in with the prejudices of our planners or others and so it has been ignored. As I write the Jersey Institute of Directors and other are joined in a call for more constraints upon “immigrants,” yet nobody is demanding equitable treatment for the 10,000. The prejudice is very deep-seated but should form no part of an “island Plan” produced by so called professionals.
The Island Plan should be scrapped and, at least, re-written to embrace the several hundred International Conventions that it mentions – but only in passing – in its opening paragraphs.

This lack of joined-up thinking between the various States Departments is of a world leader standard in incompetence yet it is abundantly obvious that the Housing Minister and several others do not even engage in meaningful discussions with the Environment Minister. Even the Constables are excused from the absurd Housing Department’s “Gateway” scheme for the allocation of homes in their Parishes in spite of this supposedly being an “all Island” programme.

Yet, as I have explained with monotonous regularity the Island Plan is also fixated upon the preservation of “Green Countryside” where cows and the stinking rich have an absolute priority over most humans and their diverse housing needs. Except of course that there is a discriminatory exception where the few hundreds cowhands and other “agricultural” workers are concerned so that development permissions may be granted for them to be housed “in the countryside” in spite of the lack of any practical, supportive reasons in the 21st century.
Why “farm-workers” have a prior call for a home in the countryside whereas they are engaged in a diminishing industry of little economic value to the Island is a total mystery. It is another mystery why Planners allow “portacabins” and other supposed “temporary” accommodation to remain in use whereas these are clearly sub-standard, permanent homes.

At the same time, the existing built-up areas - notably of St Helier – are being turned into a ghetto in accordance with some absurd belief that the vast majority of the population should not live in the northern half of the Island.
Yet even the policy to release the assumed 500 units of unused living accommodation over shops and other commercial premised in St Helier - included in a previously inadequate Island Plan - has not been followed.

Similarly, most of the special action areas in or adjacent to St Helier identified in several previous Island Plans have also not been progressed or adequately resourced.
Yet the current grandiose schemes to build enormous “finance centre” developments on the “Waterfront” will cause much of the commercial centre of St Helier to fall into further dereliction.
The “office to let” or “shop to let” signs will proliferate and the “ghetto-isation” of St Helier will be intensified by deliberate design.

I can see no point in re-submitting my many articles previously offered to the Planning/Environment Department over the decades. They have clearly been ignored in the past and I have no doubt will be so ignored in the future.
The Department, through its officers and politicians evidently has a closed mind which is entrenched with regard to the production of successive Island Plans which have, by any impartial measure, failed miserably to achieve the lofty ideals and aspirations set down in the Planning Law(s) since the war.
Jersey’s built environment is a monument to professional planning failure.
The Island has experienced an extraordinarily buoyant economy since the 1950s which owes very little to the planning process but mostly to UK policies on tourism, travel, currency restrictions, the development of the EU and peculiarities in international finance etc across a changing world.

Now, I believe that the Island Plan should be scrapped as a largely irrelevant document which actually does more harm than good. So far as housing provision is concerned the Plan is just a component part of a discriminatory policy package that will never address the housing needs of the whole population. It has and will continue to fail to deliver “affordable” houses to those who are seeking them or “social” housing to those in “need”.
The re-zoning of small parcels of land for housing developments is just a temporary expedient. As a stop-gap measure it may provide some housing accommodation and to this extent should be encouraged. But the need is for a totally new, fresh appraisal of housing provision in Jersey alongside a wholesale re-examination of the purposes of planning, the use of land and all the other related issues.

I make no attempt to undertake such a task or to suggest how it might be done. I merely want to state that the very limited invitation extended to the public now with regard to the possible re-zoning of a few sites is wholly inadequate and that a much wider discussion should take place as soon as possible.

Michael Dun

01534 862929

20 September 2013                                                                                  4 pages

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

NO - CCTV in Jersey Charles Farrier and Bob Hill in discussion

Charles Farrier of UK group NO-CCTV and Bob Hill the former Metropolitan Police Officer, States of Jersey Deputy and founder of Jersey Human Rights Group discuss CCTV and surveillance in Jersey
This video runs about 22.5 minutes

Hear Charles Farrier in Jersey Wednesday 18 September 2013
view the UK-CCTV website

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Whatever happened to Dixon of Dock Green or Sherlock Holmes?

This is a copy of a recent JEP billboard but why were the Jersey Police relying so much on CCTV to catch the supposed offender?
Is this just a symptom of the electronic approach to keeping the peace?
Is there any evidence that such methods are effective? Has anybody done the research in Jersey or anywhere else?
On Wednesday 18 September Charles Farrier of the UK action group NO-CCTV will be in Jersey and speaking at 3 public meetings on the basis of his extensive knowledge. He does not support the use of CCTV and modern surveillance processes or purposes.

The meetings are
1) 1pm to 2pm CHOW discussion with invited panel at Church House, St Helier and refreshments are available
2) Is an official Scrutiny Panel hearing to consider CCTV use in Jersey and starts at 4pm in Le Capelain Room of the States Building and 3) is at Church House again from 6pm when Charles Farriet will meet with members of the Jersey Human Rights Group for a discussion followed by a presentation at about 7pm with Q and A session to follow. All the meetings are FREE and open to the public but the Scrutiny Panel does not permit public participation except listening. However, Scrutiny has issued a Questionnaire which can be accessed on the Scrutiny website and will be pleased to receive written observations...
NO-CCTV website is

Saturday, September 7, 2013

CCTV and Surveillance in Jersey - what do we really know about it?

Did you realise that there are 5 CCTV cameras on a Jersey "Liberty Bus" plus an audio recording facility? What sort of "liberty" is that?

My suggestion that "surveillance" should be subject to a Scrutiny review has been accepted and the Panel is now undertaking its research. There is an on line questionnaire to complete (have a look at the Scrutiny site or call at the Greffe information bookshop in Morier House for a copy or ask at your Parish Hall about it).

Scrutiny hearings will be taking place soon - these are usually open to the public - some have already been held and you are invited to send in submissions.
What do you really think about CCTV and the trend towards more and more information about YOU being held on  computers by public and private bodies? Who regulates the control and distribution of so much DATA etc....

CHARLES FARRIER of UK group NO-CCTV will be in Jersey soon to speak about his concerns with regard to CCTV and the expanding SURVEILLANCE industry which affects us ALL.

He does not accept that CCTV is inevitable or that it is justified.
The apparent acceptance of CCTV in Jersey has never been properly challenged. The case in favour has never really been expressed although many claims have been made. The facts remain minimal. The regulations are vague and indadequately resourced.

You can hear Charles Farrier in Jersey on Wednesday 18 September;
1) at the "CHOW" lunchtime discussion 1pm to 2pm at Church House, St Helier where he will discuss the issues with several others (to be invited). Soup and/or sandwiches are available but the meeting is free and all are welcome
2) From 4pm (until about 5.30pm) he will appear before the Scrutiny Panel in Le Capelain Room of the States Building (enter through main lobby entrance off Royal Square). This is a public hearing where the general public can listen but not speak.
3) From about 6pm Charles will meet with members and supporters of the Jersey Human Rights Group in the Church House. Members of the public are welcome to attend but he will speak at about 7pm and there will be a general discussion to follow. Admission is free. For more information contact this blog or Mike Dun on 01534 862929 ;