Morel Farm Conversion Plan Approved

The main house and chapel at Morel Farm will be converted into self-catering tourism accommodation after an application was approved unanimously by the planning committee.

The National Trust for Jersey said that it was no longer viable for agricultural use and that this work will deliver much-needed repairs and refurbishment to ensure the farm complex is in good order for the years to come.

The 17th-century farmhouse was gifted to the National Trust in 1939.

The property was last used by a tenant farmer.

"This 17thC property requires restoration in order to provide adequate dwelling accommodation with modern services, whilst retaining its historic integrity."

Concerns were raised by people in the area. One woman said they will lose the integrity of a historic building, with another arguing that affordable housing should be looked at before tourism.

Kirsten Morel, who is the Assistant Minister with responsibility for heritage and a St Lawrence parish deputy, said it was important for the planning committee to understand the value of Morel Farm, and for them not to underestimate how important it is to the heritage of the island.

The CEO of the National Trust, Charles Alluto, said it was crucial to balance the need for new homes with the importance of maintaining the visitor economy, given that many hotels, like the Mayfair, have closed down in recent months.

All seven members of the Planning Committee gave the application their backing.

Mr. Alluto told Channel 103 that he was delighted with the outcome.

"Obviously it's a great relief. I think it's sad that still, some people disagree with what we're trying to achieve, but the hope is that when we complete the project, they'll hopefully see where we're coming from.

I think we shouldn't underestimate the value of our visitor economy to the island as a whole, and this helps to strengthen it where really in recent years it's suffered dramatically because of the loss of hotel beds, when we've lost over 13,000 hotel beds over the last ten years or so."

It's hoped the project can be completed by the early summer of 2022.

The National Trust won £2.16million of fiscal stimulus funding to develop Morel Farm as a visitor experience.

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