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THE first building of the Jersey International Finance Centre is expected to be fully let by the end of the year, the Jersey Development Company has said after two new tenants were signed up.

The tenants – international engineering firm Laing O’Rourke and finance company ED Capital – have agreed to take ten per cent of the first finance centre building, taking the total floorspace let so far to 70 per cent.

Laing O’Rourke will be setting up business in Jersey for the first time, while ED Capital will be moving from their Commercial Street offices.

So far three companies – Sanne, UBS and BNP – have taken space within the finance centre.

The first building, which UBS and BNP agreed to move into, was completed earlier this year and officially opened in April, while Sanne have agreed to move into the second building, which is currently under construction.

JDC chairman Nicola Palios has previously said that negotiations were ongoing with a prospective new tenant for the second building which, if finalised, would almost completely fill the building.

Planning permission for the third building of the proposed six-building project has already been granted and construction work will begin on that once enough pre-let agreements for that building are signed.

The project has courted controversy since plans were unveiled in 2006, with some Islanders criticising the proposed design, the number of pre-let agreements that had been signed and the use of the Waterfront for office buildings.

And a recent report from the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel found that ‘it is not clear’ that there is demand for the envisioned six office buildings on the site.

The report concluded that the States should reconsider running the publicly-owned Jersey Development Company in competition with the private sector.

However, the JDC has said that there is a lot of demand and that the first building should be fully let by the end of 2017 and that the project is progressing well.

A JDC spokesman said: ‘The first building is now 70 per cent let having recently completed two lettings to private offices – Laing O’Rourke Corporation and ED Capital.

‘These lettings totalled ten per cent of the building. JDC is in detailed negotiation with two further parties that would take the let position in International Finance Centre One to nearly 90 per cent.

‘There remains strong demand for high quality office space and JDC anticipates IFC 1 being fully let by the end of the year.’



PLANS for a ‘Centre Parcs-style’ holiday village next to Tamba Park in St Lawrence have been welcomed by Visit Jersey as a boost to the tourism industry.

Jonathan Ruff, the businessman behind the visitor attraction, wants to demolish glasshouses and associated buildings at Retreat Farm to create a landscaped holiday park with a mix of 27 two-and-three-bedroom self-catering units. If approved, the development will create 12 new jobs and see half of the area taken up with glasshouses returned to agricultural land.

In a letter supporting the application, Visit Jersey chief executive Keith Beecham writes that the development would have a positive impact on the visitor economy through adding accommodation to the Island’s tourist stock, providing jobs in the hospitality sector and making better use of an existing tourism site.

‘As an Island, our community works hard to safeguard Jersey’s natural and built heritage. We believe this initiative is sympathetic to these requirements from a visitor economy perspective,’ he wrote.

Mr Ruff had applied previously to develop the site, the largest glasshouse complex in Jersey covering ten vergées, for housing, as well as for bowling and go-karting facilities. He withdrew the application in the face of opposition to the plans and concern that he may not receive planning permission.

It is also proposed to relocate Tamba Park’s main car park away from residential properties. This application will be considered concurrently by the Planning Committee, with two other applications for staff accommodation and a four-bedroom house, which would result in five vergées of glasshouses being cleared and returned to agricultural use.

In the accompanying planning statement, drawn up by MS Planning Ltd, the main proposal is described as ‘a modest-sized holiday village, building on the success of the existing Tamba Park experience and which could be a significant economic benefit to the Island’.

 

ONE of St Helier’s landmark buildings, where local beer was brewed for more than century, could soon disappear to make way for affordable housing.

Andium Homes – the company responsible for States social housing – has bought the former Ann Street Brewery plus two adjoining sites from Channel Islands property development company Comprop CI.

It plans to build 150 homes. Gaudin & Co currently manage the private parking for 140 spaces off St Saviour's Road entrance.

Former Chief Minister Frank Walker, Andium’s chairman, said: ‘We have been pursuing these sites for some time and are delighted to have completed the acquisitions.

‘The three sites provide an excellent opportunity to deliver more homes, given their town location and proximity to our other developments. I am delighted that Andium is able to play such a significant role in meeting the commitments made by the Council of Ministers, and Constable Simon Crowcroft, to regenerating this part of St Helier.’

Andium declined to reveal how much they had paid Comprop saying that the information was ‘commercially sensitive’.

The sites comprise the old brewery and several other buildings in the surrounding area, including the boiler house buildings in Ann Street, as well as properties in Simon Place and St Saviour’s Road. In addition, Andium has acquired the former Belmont Hotel.

A number of the buildings are listed, including the Brewery façade.

In January this year, Comprop announced plans for an estimated £19 million project to build a 600-space multi-storey car park and homes over the sites. Before that, the organisation had received permission to build a 30,000 sq ft supermarket.

Mike Porter, Andium’s operations director, said that subject to a feasibility study, and discussions with Planning over listed properties, the brewery site was now instead expected to deliver 150 affordable homes.

As the boiler house site already has planning approval for 15 homes, he added, Andium expected to complete those by the end of next year.

 

AN appeal against the construction of 253 homes and additional commercial units on the site of the headquarters of Jersey Gas has been dismissed.

Earlier this year, the Planning Committee gave permission for the development to go ahead despite opposition from a number of nearby residents who subsequently lodged an appeal.

However, Jonathan King, a UK planning inspector brought to the Island to rule on the application, has found in favour of developers Brookfield Tunnell Street Holdings Ltd.

In the light of Mr King’s report, Assistant Environment Minister Steve Pallett has dismissed the appeal and will allow developers to build, subject to a number of conditions.

A document outlining the objections of residents living in Tunnell Street – compiled by Paul and Sharon Fox – claimed that the design was not in keeping with surrounding buildings, that the immediate area would become overcrowded and that not enough car parking had been included within the plans.

However, in a 29-page report, Mr King stated he did not believe that nearby residents would be unreasonably affected by noise or their due expectation of privacy breached.

And there were ‘no grounds’ to object to the development with regards to traffic or parking, he ruled. Mr King also said that the project was likely to achieve its aims to regenerate the area and was generally in accordance with the Island Plan, which sets Jersey’s planning policy.

Under the conditions listed in the report, no fewer than 209 parking spaces and storage for 280 bicycles must be provided, a green travel plan must be published and demolition and construction plan must be submitted to the Environment Department.

 

A new scheme designed to improve rental accommodation has not been well received by the Jersey Landlord Association (JLA).

'Rent Safe' is an opt-in accreditation scheme, overseen by Environmental Health, designed to improve the standard of rental accommodation in Jersey.

According to the scheme, a 'registered' landlord meets its minimum requirements, needing to make further improvements in order to become accredited. An 'accredited' landlord pro-actively resolves issues quickly and ensures that the property continues to meet housing standards.

The Director of Environmental Health, Stewart Petrie, said: “The quality of our home has a direct effect on our health, mental well-being and our pocket. A badly insulated two-bedroom flat can cost £600 per month to heat.

"Introducing 'Rent Safe' means people who rent a property in Jersey will know from the outset that their landlord takes his or her responsibilities seriously and that they will benefit from a home which meets a basic minimum standard."

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