A new Head of Planning and Development Control, Martin Hannah (photo attached), arrived to the Island on Tuesday 17 June 2014.
Martin is contracted for three years and his role is to lead St Helena Government’s planning and building standards functions. This involves all aspects of development management, decision making and reporting to the Land Development Control Authority, the review of the Land Development Control Plan and preparation of other development plans. He will also supervise the Building Standards function and the introduction of a suite of modern building standards regulations designed to raise standards of new developments on the Island. Since his arrival Martin has already begun looking at a number of applications for development permission in preparation for his first Land Development Control Authority meeting and also commenced a review of existing protocols and the current approach to planning assessments.
“The commission of the Airport in 2016 will be a transformative event for the Island. Air access will over time improve the economic fortunes of St Helena and enhance the attractiveness of the Island to tourist visitors and investors, but it will also present new challenges and introduce different development pressures. This development pressure should be guided appropriately in the public interest – and a modern and responsive planning and development control function is very important to achieve this.”
Martin’s early priority is finalisation of a master plan for Rupert’s Wharf and to agree upon a shared vision for Rupert’s Valley that is robust and deliverable.
“Rupert’s Wharf is essential infrastructure to serve St Helena’s future sea access. A meaningful and deliverable master plan for the wharf must attempt to reconcile a number of competing demands for land – balanced against the need for developments associated with the new wharf.”
Martin is hoping particularly to bring a balance of commercial and public service experience and skills to the role. He is a Chartered Town Planner with a recent background in regulatory planning on an Island with a Scottish Planning Authority. He will be drawing on that experience to strengthen the existing systems and processes on St Helena.
Martin is positive about his role and about St Helena. He concluded:
“I am honoured to be offered the position as Head of the St Helena Planning Service. Settling in to any new position so far from home and family does take a little time, but I have been made to feel so welcome – and after a couple of weeks of acclimatisation my feelings are very positive about the Island and my new working colleagues. The Island is a unique and special place and I’ve already started to settle into to my new job. I am also looking forward to the arrival of my wife and children who will be joining me soon.”
Martin has worked in the planning and development fields for 25 years. He has worked previously for both urban and rural planning authorities in the UK and Australia, and also worked at a senior level with several UK house building, property and construction groups and has also run his own planning consultancy.