The £120m proposed redevelopment of Broad Street and Commercial Street is “a banal, anonymous and unimaginative commercial development which could be located anywhere”, according to two heritage groups.
Le Masurier, the 187-year-old property company owned by one of Jersey’s richest families, the Clarkes, has submitted plans for ‘Les Sablons’ - a development of 238 flats in three blocks, and a 103-room ‘apart-hotel’ with ground-floor shops, cafes and restaurants.
If approved, Les Sablons will cover 31-41 Broad Street and 19-29 Commercial Street and will include a landscaped courtyard and access between the two streets.
But Société Jersiaise and the National Trust have come together to oppose the planning application.
Making a formal comment to the planning application, they argue: “In our opinion, the mass and scale of the proposed development are so substantial that they cause significant damage to the skyline from all directions.
“In particular from elevated views such as Fort Regent, Mount Bingham, Pier Road and Westmount, this development will stand out because of its atypical height and its location in the heart of the historic town – one of St. Helier’s oldest streets.”
They add: “A building of this height, if developed, will shift land values and will set a precedent for the adjoining plots, at least one of which is awaiting development. Its city scale is quite inappropriate in this modest historic town.”
Pictured: Les Sablons plans include 238 flats and a 103-room ‘apart-hotel’.
When it comes to architectural quality, the organisations conclude: “Overall, we believe that there is little to commend the architectural quality of this development.
“The design approach shows that this is a banal, anonymous and unimaginative commercial development which could be located anywhere.
“We can see little response to planning policies stressing the importance of local identity or place making. We struggle to see a response to the local architectural character of the historic significance of the area.
“In Broad Street, the prevailing façade height of three storeys is raised by one floor, with an additional floor set back. The frontage, which occupies at least six historic building plots, is broken down into five distinct facades to give a sense of variety but follows a uniform eaves height which undermines that objective.
“In our view, this is low-quality develop’s pastiche, paying no more than lip-service to the integration of new development into an historic setting.”
Pictured: The National Trust and Société Jersiaise are not convinced by Les Sablons’ Broad Street façades.
They add: “Commercial Street has no coherent architectural theme – it is an uncoordinated hotchpotch, and probably always has been to some extent. Its only consistent theme is its relatively uniform building height – 4/5 storeys.
“We see no possible architectural justification to raise this to 8/9 storeys. The precedent that this will set is likely to turn Commercial Street into an unpleasant canyon and provide an unwelcome template for future development in the area.”
C Le Masurier disagree. The company says: “The Les Sablons vision is to create a vibrant place to visit, stay, eat, drink and shop.
“A new walkway and large landscaped vibrant courtyard, from Broad Street through to Commercial Street, will deliver a pedestrianised connection through from the centre of town to Liberty Wharf and will include landscaping with trees and plants and artwork created by local artists who are acclaimed internationally.
“Plans include 238 residential one, two and three bedroom apartments, meeting the demand for private first-time buyer accommodation.
“There will be parking for 96 cars including accessible parking, car charging, and large areas dedicated for bicycles. Les Sablons will also include approximately 10,000 sq ft of retail/commercial space with the potential to provide high quality food and beverage offers.
“Le Masurier’s proposals come at no cost to the taxpayer. The project will provide tangible benefits both now and in the future to St Helier and our island through tourism, regeneration, housing, leisure, employment, pedestrianised connectivity and placemaking.”
Express spoke to Le Masurier Managing Director Brian McCarthy about the vision for Les Sablons and the wider regeneration of St. Helier...
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mention job opportunities. It's all well and good (and so easy) for those running these organisations to sit in their ivory towers and tut tut and criticise - what about proposing some alternative plans?
It is purely Le Masurier’s trying to make the last penny profit from such a dreadful development.
Surely there must be someone on Jersey, who can actually draw up plans that look good.