Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Senator Ozouf's Housing Commissioner for Jersey brainwave....


Just a few weeks ago Senator Ozouf was calling for more help for private housing developers.

Now he has called for a “Housing Commissioner with responsibility for ensuring that enough affordable housing is available for Islanders to be established.”

This new interest in “affordable housing” is somewhat contrary to his farm development at St Saviour where the family Green Zone farm has been extended and altered to create 18 dwellings for sale. These include 1, 2, 3 and 4 bed flats and houses at prices from £295,000 to £715,000 and already 14 have been sold.

The 4 currently remaining for sale are 2 beds priced from £485,000 to £525,000 and the total sale price amounts to about £9 millions.

How come the Planners did not demand at least a % of “first time buyers” accommodation or units to let?

Of course, one wonders too why the Senator did not simply turn the whole development over to one of the several Housing Trusts if he feels so strongly about the shortage of “social housing” ….

But of course, the real causes of Jersey’s everlasting “affordable housing shortage” are the 13,000 working adults who do not have housing quals and the fact that they cannot rent or buy proper living accommodation.

Yet they pay very high rents for their often mediocre housing - but what happens to their £40 million plus annual rental payment?

There is no mention of them in Senator Ozouf’s  scheme nor in any plans produced by the Environment  Department  under Deputy Luce or the so called “Housing Department” led by Deputy Pryke.

In fact, Jersey’s “housing” provision is already controlled and managed by a multitude of individuals and organization with very little co-ordination.

ANDIUM HOMES was created as an “Arms Length Management Organisation” (ALMO) - on the UK model - similar to that which has so visibly failed in Kensington & Chelsea with the loss of 71 lives in the Grenfell fire.

Andium was supposed originally to be the great provider of “social housing” and the regulator too but that plan has long been largely abandoned.

Now it operates much like any developer and aims to build new houses for sale and to charge full market rents in the fullness of time. And it has still not spent the entire £250 million loan that Senator Ozouf obtained for them – and wants more!

There are of course several other “Housing Trusts” whose properties to let are included in the “Gateway” scheme but they do not all operate under the same guidelines and the 12 Parish Constables also like to play at providers of housing accommodation too but have opted out of the “Gateway”scheme.

Lodging Houses too make a contribution to the provision of accommodation – mostly in the “non quals” - sector and are vaguely “regulated” by the Chief Minister’s Department.

Indirect regulation of minimal housing standards for rent is to be provided by an “Environment” unit and all private accommodation to let is supposed to be included - but the task of identifying and policing all the accommodation currently occupied seems to be an impossible one.

Not least is the problem that much of the accommodation does not comply with planning or safety requirements and is often let illegally. Shall it be condemned?

The “deposit protection” scheme is an example of a failed attempt at regulation where many units are now offered without a deposit being required by the “landlord.” The scheme proving inflexible and unpopular.

The operation of the Rent Control Tribunal has similarly been allowed to fall into mis-use by the ineffective Housing Department so the suggestion by Senator Ozouf that a “Commissioner” might be appointed to step in with the appropriate powers and staff to remedy the housing neglect of decades is laughable.

Unfortunately, it is the Social Security Department under Deputy Pinel that now sets “fair rents” though the indirect application of the Housing Component of Income Support and the payment of “rent rebates” to public and private landlords for tenants who have low incomes and more than 5 years residence.

How such “fair rents” are actually determined is a mystery.

Quite how Senator Ozouf proposes to create a “Commissioner” with the complex and far-reaching powers to rationalize Jersey’s housing mess has not so far been explained and the office of Housing Minister – already virtually useless – must inevitably be scrapped along with the pseudo housing control powers of other departments.

To add to the complexities of Jersey housing the looming BREXIT restrictions must also be factored into any reform proposals along with the recently announced “Migration/Population” policies which will add all sorts of discriminatory limitations on the access to housing by many.

Finally I would mention that Senator Farnham has expressed his support for an Air B’n B short let system to be permitted in Jersey and it is already evident that private accommodation is already being widely advertised as available to let under this system. A “Commissioner” could hardly ignore this….

Monday, January 22, 2018

Trevor and Shona Pitman - Press Release

Former States Deputies Trevor and Shona Pitman were discharged from Bankruptcy in the Royal Court of Jersey on  19 January 2018 with immediate effect.
The Bailiff Sir William Bailhache  presided with two Jurats in attendance.
The Viscount presented details of the application - although she was virtually inaudible from the public seats even when using the hearing aids provided - and had no grounds to object and did not claim costs.

Trevor appeared for his wife and himself and addressed the court but the Bailiff said he would not allow him to make certain allegations about the role of Jurat Le Breton in the proceedings that led up to the couple's bankruptcy.

Trevor Pitman persisted and said that he would be issuing a Press Release following this hearing.

This is the Press Release issued for publication today;




Extract from the sworn testimony of former Investigating Police Officer Anton Cornelissen: Day 102 October 2015, of the Jersey Independent Care Inquiry:

‘John Le Breton was clearly responsible for covering up abuse at Victoria College, and, as yet, he has not faced public scrutiny. Clearly questions must be asked as why this is, and how he was allowed to continue as a Royal Court Jurat. What message does this send out?’

It is with reluctance that we find ourselves obliged to issue this press release today. The truth is, as the following facts make clear, we should never have been put in this position.  We nevertheless make this statement now, simply to turn mainstream media attention away from the smokescreen irrelevance of whether or not we were right to bring our defamation action against the Broadlands Estate Agents and the Jersey Evening Post, to court.

Instead, having taken legal advice, it is as a consequence of damning evidence provided to the Island’s Independent Care Inquiry (ICI), that we now turn the spotlight on to the real issue underlying our manipulated bankruptcy: the dishonesty of the Royal Court, in keeping the stark truth of the serious question marks regarding the past actions of the senior of the two Jurats allowed to preside on the case, from our knowledge.  The Royal Court thus subjected us to a ‘legal’ process that can now be seen to be at the very best wholly unsafe. And one which by any standards, is in clear breach of Article 6 – the right to a fair trial – of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In the summer of 2012, after the brief window of opportunity to appeal the decision of the two Jurats who decided on our case, with allegations regarding Jurat Le Breton’s past actions reaching both us and our then lawyers via members of the public (not least in regard to the never publically released Sharp Report (1999)), we had consequently approached the Bailiff who’s Office had appointed Le Breton to judge on our case.

As set out in Mr Pitman’s own sworn statement to the ICI, in the course of both written correspondence and a face-to-face meeting with the then Bailiff Sir Michael Birt, he subsequently opined that all who had worked with Jurat Le Breton would state him to be scrupulously fair and conscientious in his work; further still, that he himself could not recall there having ever been any complaint about either Jurat Le Breton’s judgement or integrity.  The sworn, in depth testimony of former Investigating Police Officer Mr Cornelissen before the ICI, in our opinion now shows these 2012 claims to be without merit.

Indeed, amidst extensive ‘on Oath’ evidence, this brave former Police Officer stated how the then College Vice-Principle John Le Breton, ‘bullied’ one pupil who complained to him of being abused by Maths teacher Andrew Jervis-Dykes into silence. In describing what the child said within his disclosure to the police, Mr Cornelissen told the ICI the abused pupil, who was apparently from a poor background and on a scholarship, had stated, he was told:

‘Don’t go down this route. We don’t like your sort here. If you want to progress, if you fail your exams your scholarship will effectively be finished.”

According to Mr Cornelissen’s testimony what the abused pupil disclosed he was told by Le Breton left him feeling threatened; and in the former Police Officer’s words had ‘Put the fear of God’ in him.  Incredibly, in his evidence Mr Cornelissen also goes on to state how once made a Jurat, Le Breton also attempted to ‘obstruct the arrest’ of his colleague and alleged friend Jervis-Dykes, by ‘disputing the facts of the warrant’.  Yet perhaps most disturbing of all, to our mind, the former Officer told the ICI how the police were ‘not allowed to put any pressure’ on Jurat Le Breton regarding any of this. Further still, how it was conveyed to the police that ‘a Jurat had never been prosecuted before’.

While the Bailiff at the time of the Victoria College child abuse scandal was Sir Philip Bailhache; the Attorney General with responsibility for prosecutions was Sir Michael Birt – the very Crown Officer who as Bailiff, later evidently saw fit to let his Office place Jurat John Le Breton to judge on the defamation case of two States Members, who were amongst the handful who consistently championed the cause of securing justice for the multitude of victims of Haut de la Garenne and other Jersey ‘care’ institutions.

In the course of our discharge hearing today, the basis of the evidence within this press release was put to the current Bailiff, William Bailhache by Mr Pitman.  Incredibly, in light of Recommendation 7 arising from the ICI’s report (the need to put an end to ‘The Jersey Way’) in response, having first asked the Viscount if there was any way by which the Court had ‘discretion’ to refuse our discharge (there wasn’t – we had complied with everything despite the injustice) Bailiff Bailhache then made the truly shocking claim below.

The ‘word of one man’ he stated – never mind that this was the Police Officer charged with identifying child victims at Victoria College – ‘carried little weight’.  A Chief Judge dismissing sworn testimony from a police officer regarding disclosure from an abused child! Of course, we do recall that in early 2015, shortly after becoming Bailiff, Bailhache’s Office brought Jurat Le Breton out of retirement to sit on a child abuse case. Finally, in what was passed off as advice, but which was certainly taken as a veiled threat, it was then stated that we should ‘be very careful’ about putting this sworn evidence out within a press release.

We firmly believe that the reason for those at the helm of the Jersey ‘justice’ system refusing to remedy a court process that was demonstrably unsafe remains that, as strong critics of the Jersey Establishment, they saw our court case as a convenient means by which to force us out of politics and, hopefully, silence us.  After all, contrary to what has been spun to the public, we have been barred from standing for election for a period of nine years – quite an irony given that had one of us been a Constable and the other a Deputy, in 2014 only the Deputy would have lost his/her seat.

To this regard, we further suggest the public should also ask themselves why we were made bankrupt, when though not having an income as high as before Mr Pitman entered politics, we were still earning a joint salary of £90,000. We thus conclude this press release with the paraphrased words of Jersey’s former Police Chief Graham Power – suspended on the back of a ‘damning report’ we now know to have been a lie whilst he and his Deputy Lenny Harper had fought to shine a light on decades of ‘Jersey Way’ cover up:

‘If they can do this to two high profile politicians and get away with it then think what they can do to you…’

Make no mistake – ‘the Jersey Way’ is just as prevalent today as it ever was.

We nevertheless now request, for the second time, that the Chief Minister, whom claims he is committed to tackling ‘the Jersey way’, investigates this!


Monday, January 15, 2018

Another hearing before Scrutiny with CM Gorst re the New Hospital, Migration policies and the Transformation Scheme

There was a remarkable Corporate Services Scrutiny Hearing today (15 January 2018).

In Island terms it was probably the most important hearing I have ever attended – and I have attended hundreds.

This was just billed as a Quarterly Hearing with the Chief Minister but Senator Gorst was supported by Senators Green and Routier besides Deputy Wickenden plus the new CEO of the States - Charlie Parker - and Paul Bradbury. It was evidently special.

Deputy Wickenden’s participation was limited to declaring his name. He did not utter another word so we have no reason to know why he was present for the hearing that lasted from 10 am to 11.30am.

The general public was absent. That was another reason why it was a remarkable event.

Just one member of the assumed “accredited press” plus me and a clerk from the CM’s office occupied the public gallery seats.

Deputies Le Fondre, Bree, K. Lewis and Senator Ferguson formed the “panel.”

Much of the hearing was concerned with the “New Hospital” project.

The CM was disappointed that it had been refused “planning permission” but not surprised. That was the process – these things happen.

Would it proceed? Yes said the CM and he supports Minister Green.

He will not be calling for his resignation. He had put three years of his life into the project at the risk of his health and is the person we want to support to get it through.

The CM said he had not had a long list of people knocking on my door saying Green should resign.

The public will have their say at the May elections.

Who was responsible for the failure of the PE application? Senator Green responded “I am” but Senator Routier volunteered that “We are all responsible”

Minister Green confirmed that he intends to proceed with this “site” the design for which needs further mitigation. But the meaning of the words “site” and location” could not be clarified or agreed. The States had agreed to this as the preferred “site” but this may have to change.

It is the ”location” that is fine explained the CM – there is a “site” issue but that does not mean the “location” is wrong. The Planning Minister also decided it is the correct “location.”

Although the Inspector had decided that the “site” was far too small it was not the “location” that was rejected.

The CM’s Ministers will now go away and study the Planning Inspector’s Report and the PE refusal and advise on the way forward.

The development might need a new “footprint.”The proposed building was too large.

But Green confirmed that clever design alone won’t be enough and the ”Rochdale guidelines” on outline planning applications won’t be adequate either. More detail will be needed.

The existing design proposal could not be just “finessed” to make it acceptable.

Was the States and the public misled with incorrect information about the development’s size, height and the Architectural Commission role? No

Nevertheless, the CM also confirmed that the public may need to have the opportunity to look at the other sites so that they will understand how they would all fail the planning test of suitability. There is no easier site. Senator Green claimed that at least 50 other “sites” or “locations” had been previously considered but rejected.

With regard to acquisitions of adjacent properties Senator Green confirmed that one flat had so far been purchased and negotiations with other owners were proceeding with Eddie Noel’s department.

Although no PE permission had yet been obtained discussions with a possible building contractor had commenced and this process was not premature – it being in accordance with UK Treasury Guidelines.

The St Peter catering leases had been signed. Cost? That is a question to ask Eddie Noel

Could the process be completed before the May elections? Nobody knows for certain but the CM hoped so.

The Ministers had to consider with their professionals, the public consulted on other “sites or locations,” new plans prepared, the States would have to debate it, submission to PE made and there would almost certainly have to be another Planning Inquiry and it took from July to November to establish the previous Inquiry.

Senator Green rejected the suggestion that hospital senior practitioners only had been consulted on this project.

Had there been test drilling on the “site”? Yes and it was continuing yesterday.

How much has been spent so far? £24 millions.

Will the redesign incur extra costs and will the contingency fund be drawn upon?  The footprint will change but not the size so the cost to build may not increase.

This part of the hearing ended at 11am and a very interesting discussion of the Immigration/Migration proposals followed.  

Then a short look at progress on the “Transformation Scheme” which was ”not a failure” but had led to the recruitment of the newly appointed CEO   Charlie Parker, who said a few words……

Further details of the whole hearing will be posted on the Podcasts section of the Scrutiny Website in due course for those who are interested.

But on the evidence of today’s lack of public interest that won’t be many.



Saturday, January 13, 2018

Jersey Youth Service - "Link" - Official Opening on 12 January 2018

The public was invited to the official opening by CM Gorst of the new "Link" an information and advice "Drop In Centre" at Eagle House, La Colomberie, St Helier on 12 January 2018.

This is intended to assist young people in the 14 - 25 age group but younger children are also catered for. Parents or other adults can also attend for information.

"The Link" is open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from midday until 6pm and can be contacted on 01534 280530 or by email on yes@jys.js

This was formerly a shop and the Social Security "Back to Work" scheme operates from upper floors of this multi-occupancy building.

I recorded a video of my visit and this follows in two parts.
I have substantial concerns about the poor facilities and safety of this building and am researching the recent history with the Planning Office, Building Inspectorate and Fire Department. I have outlined my concerns in the second video below but start here with this introduction and words mainly from CM Gorst;
Part One

Part Two video
looks behind the scenes of this "drop in shop," at the lack of accessible toilets and the tatty state of those that are provided, the potentially dangerous escape route which has a sink and cooking facility within it - besides other access issues such as narrow doorways and a step at the entrance (inward opening) front door, lack of hearing loops and  small interview rooms.
Curiously, a Change of Use permission was granted for this former (clothes) shop and a Planning (Charity rate) fee of £507 paid but it is not clear what Class the facility is now and it is also not yet clear why there is no requirement to provide "disability standard" toilets and how the escape routes and fire safety have not been improved in this multi-occupation building.
I am researching these matters further but in the meantime would urge that this facility remains closed until proper safety and access audits have been undertaken and any necessary improvements carried for the better protection of all persons - including "Link" staff or young clients - who might use this building.

Subsequent exchange of letters with CM Gorst  (below)
Copied to the Children's Commissioner

Dear Mr Dun

Thank you for your message and your observations following the recent opening of the ‘Link Project’.

Officers have assured me that a full planning application for a change of use and also a building control application for the works that were carried out have been signed off by the appropriate department. Those works that were undertaken were as a result of an architect plans which were commissioned and these were submitted to the Environment Department.

In the light of your concerns, officers have revisited and updated risk assessments and operational procedures to enable the safe delivery of the Youth Enquiry Service in the premises. I would also add that since your visit and video report, a hearing loop is now in place and a ramp is ordered with a view to immediate installation.

I hope you find this response of assistance.

Kind regards

Senator Ian Gorst

Chief Minister of Jersey

Cyril Le Marquand House | PO Box 140 | St Helier | Jersey JE4 8QT


From: Mike Dun To: Ian Gorst
Subject: FW: The Link, Jersey Youth Service - revised email with link

Dear Chief Minister,

Thanks for the brief interview which is posted on the blog link below.

Unfortunately on examination beyond the “shop” I have found this facility falls short of an acceptable standard on several counts and have shown these, mostly on Part Two of my blog video.

This building is in multiple occupation including the SS “Back to Work” office above and there appear to be shared exit and toilet facilities which are of a poor standard.

From a safety point of view I consider that the exit routes are potentially dangerous for all users of this building.

I do not know what alternative access and exit provisions exist from the upper levels or if there is a lift to afford access for persons with disabilities.

However from what I have seen I think that the “Link” should remain closed until a proper audit has been undertaken of all the facilities and safety provisions and any necessary improvements carried out.


Mike Dun



Wednesday, January 3, 2018

DISABILITY AWARENESS & ACTION for Jersey 2018 - Post 2

This is the second blog posting  looking at Andium Homes "Decent Homes Standards" in Jersey with specific regard to the design of housing accommodation for people with "disabilities."

Sandra kindly agreed to allow this video to be recorded and posted.

Video one looks at the entrance to her flat and the design of the kitchen/living area ;

Video two looks at the bath/shower room, her expenses and other difficulties including safety, condensation and parking provision ;

DISABILITY AWARENESS & ACTION for Jersey 2018 - Post 1

Jersey is supposed to be planning a "Disability Strategy" which will include anti- discrimination laws specific to disability and to ratify the appropriate UN convention.

If such proposals are ever to be implemented must be very doubtful because the whole topic of "disability" is not adequately understood, supported or funded in Jersey.

When I post blogs on the subject there is usually very little interest which is odd since up to 30,000 people in Jersey are calculated to be directly or indirectly affected by disability.

So this year, I have decided to probe the whole subject more resolutely.
I note that Guernsey has very active campaigning and some very well organised lobbying and some States members in that Island take the matter seriously. Yet I note too that although Guernsey has officially adopted a "strategy" its implementation is delayed through lack of funding.

There is a great deal to be done and I have started with a look at some of the so called "social housing" provided by Andium Homes in Jersey.

Andium manages about 3,500 units of housing accommodation on behalf of the public and is supposed to achieve basic minimum standards - aka "Decent Homes Standards."
These are standards borrowed from the UK and are far from perfect as the Grenfell Tower tragedy has demonstrated. But of course Andium only administers a small part of the entire housing stock in Jersey and the "private sector" needs to be looked at critically too.

This  initial two part video looks at the problem of providing housing which is suitable for the tenant. Very often - as in this example - the property has been altered to suit the needs of a particular "disabled" person but is not suitable for use by others.
Universal Design standards are not easy to achieve. One design does not "fit all."

Video one looks at a bathroom/shower room as built.

Video two looks at the kitchen in the same flat.