There is a planning presumption against building on redundant glasshouse sites in the Channel island’s "green zone". Removing redundant glasshouses can cost more than £300,000 per hectare — a deterrent if the site has no reuse value, said Le May.
"If a grower is allowed to build a modest house, that is a situation where there should be a bit more flexibility all round. Then these sites would be cleared."
The States, the island’s legislature, previously encouraged the expansion of tomato growing but withdraw support 10 years ago, although the problem of what to do with disused facilities, particularly in rural areas, goes back longer.
A member of the States, John Le Maistre, also favours limited development to regain agricultural land. "We need a carrot-and-stick incentive. We can’t expect [owners] to clear the sites at their own expense," he said.