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Businesses frustrated as 'no date set' for Broad Street reopening

Businesses frustrated as 'no date set' for Broad Street reopening

Thursday 11 March 2021

Businesses frustrated as 'no date set' for Broad Street reopening

Thursday 11 March 2021


Local businesses have expressed their frustration that there is still no date set for Broad Street to reopen to traffic.

Speaking to Express, Infrastructure Minister Deputy Kevin Lewis cited advice from STAC and senior officers as his reasons for keeping the street closed despite Jersey's covid cases currently being in single figures.

“...The advice is 'not yet', but hopefully things are moving quite quickly," he said.

When asked what this reasoning and advice was, Deputy Lewis repeated his assertion from December that the decision revolved around crowds gathering in Charing Cross, and concerns that bringing back traffic would create crowding when trying to cross roads.

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Pictured: "I’m the person who closed it so I’ll be the person who reopens it."

“We’re trying to keep everyone separate. At the bottom of Broad Street, you’ve got Charing Cross, and you’ve got two zebra crossings; when the traffic’s moving through, it’s not unusual having 30 to 40 people trying to cross,” the Minister said.

He noted that he was "the person who closed it, so I'll be the person who reopens it", adding: “Hopefully we’ll get everything sorted very soon - the statistics are looking very good, covid numbers have been reducing.”

Though there is no mention of Broad Street or Charing Cross in the most recently published STAC minutes from December, Express has requested a comment from STAC on what their advice has been regarding the street, and is awaiting a response.

A number of businesses around the area have expressed their frustration at this reasoning, questioning why the street is remaining shut when the rest of town and hospitality has reopened, and outlined the effect it was having on their business.

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Pictured: The Infrastructure Minister cited concerns about crowding at Charring Cross as the key reason why the street had not reopened to traffic.

For Mark Fisher, Sales Director at Fotosound on Charring Cross, both the impact it has had on deliveries and accessibility for the elderly and disabled had been particularly burdensome.

“It’s ludicrous,” Mr Fisher said. “There’s just no reason behind it at all, all it’s doing is just detrimental…to Broad Street traders.

“We’ve got customers, people who can’t use the disabled bays, the delivery drivers can’t get in - I’ve had two deliveries that have gone back to the UK, where they actually haven’t been able to deliver to Jersey, into us.” 

Indeed, he said that a major delivery of three pallets of stock just before Christmas from a trader actually arrived in Jersey, but were forced to be sent back as they could not meet their delivery schedule due to the lack of parking.

“They have a schedule that they have to come in - if it’s 24 hours, they have to deliver it in that time. They came in on the truck, it wasn’t deliverable as they couldn’t get close enough, so it went back into the UK.

“It doesn’t only go back into the UK, it goes back to its main shipping, which is back in Holland, so you’ve lost it.”

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Pictured: Fotosound Sales Director, Mark Fisher, highlighted difficulties those with disabilities faced getting into town without the Broad Street stop.

On accessibility, he pointed out: “The amount of people we have in here who do passports and driving licenses, they can’t park outside - so they can’t drop off disabled people or the elderly.”

Richard Jordas, Managing Director of Town Jewellers on Broad Street, expressed similar concerns, questioning the logic of keeping the street closed with case numbers so low.

“There’s a lot more gathering in other areas of town… that’s not a gathering area, it’s where people would wonder into town and and wander up King Street and vice versa, and then diversify into the other directions,” he said of the explanation that Charing Cross would get too crowded. 

On the impact on Broad Street itself, he said: “This used to be a busy street with traffic coming through it, and even with the coffee shops next door, you had people who would stop and get a coffee; the buses would stop over there, people would come off and look in the windows."

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Pictured: Broad Street has now been closed since May 2020.

Mr Jordas added that he wanted “some sort of clarity” from Government on when the street is reopening, so that an end date was in sight.

“I’d like to see a date set - we’re now down to seven or eight cases in Jersey… other things are starting to reopen, hospitality’s going to start reopening,” he said. 

“I can’t understand why they can’t turn around now with the cases they are at the moment, [and say] we should in the next month, or whatever, reopen Broad Street.”

These concerns were echoed by Chamber of Commerce Vice President John Shenton, who said: "The view of Chamber has always been that the rationale for closing Broad Street in the first place was confused and unclear.

"The rationale put at the time included the concerns that persons would be waiting in large groups at a zebra crossing.

"The easing of restrictions now allow persons to meet in groups inside in confined spaces for periods of time far in excess of the time that it takes to use an outdoor zebra crossing where pedestrians have propriety over vehicles (so akin to a pavement)."

He emphasised the importance of Broad Street to town as a whole, noting: "The town centre will need help to recover and Jersey needs to encourage more businesses to occupy the many shops that they vacant.

"Personally, I have never seen so many empty shops/cafes in St. Helier and I fear that the decline will continue further. Encouraging footfall by opening up Broad Street can only be a benefit to business."

He concluded: "If the government cannot open Broad Street from this weekend, Chamber would like to have the reasons clearly articulated rather than being hidden in spin and passing the buck.

"The Government loves to use the phrase 'OneGov', so can I then ask to stand behind their mantra and take responsibility and prove a straightforward answer if they cannot open it this weekend rather than trying to push responsibly and consequently blame to different departments?"

READ MORE...

Minister pledges to reopen Broad Street "as soon as possible"

Minister to research islanders' views on Broad Street closure

'No evidence' Broad Street should close for medical reasons

Over 1,000 back Broad Street reopening

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Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.

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Posted by David Moon on
I have yet see crowds waiting to cross on pedestrian crossings at Charing Cross
Posted by nigel pearce on
I don’t think they have any intention of re-opening the street to traffic. The agenda is to eventually pedestrianise the whole of the town centre. There were even plans to pedestrianise Halkett Place.
Posted by Jon Jon on
Broad Street re open? Your having a laugh! Been Crowcrofts intention to pedestrianise St Helier for years.
Posted by Keith Marsh on
Get off your behind Mr Kevin Lewis and open Broad Street NOW. You were wrong in closing it in the first place, so be honest and correct this error.
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