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Business guru urges politicians to rethink link with France

Business guru urges politicians to rethink link with France

Monday 13 January 2020

Business guru urges politicians to rethink link with France

Monday 13 January 2020


The former head of Jersey's key business body is urging the government to rethink establishing a link with France in the wake of £2.6bn proposals by a Guernsey entrepreneur to create an inter-island underwater tunnel.

Ex-Chamber of Commerce President, and States adviser, Kevin Keen, who previously called for a bridge to France, says he is supportive of the ground-breaking project by Martyn Dorey, which would enable islanders to travel the 44km route between St. Peter Port and St. Helier in just 15 minutes with a stop-off at Jersey Airport on the way.

Mr Keen described the project has a “very interesting development,” adding: “It seems that Mr Dorey has identified the best way to achieve a link between Jersey and Guernsey and got some very outline costs."

“Obviously it would be great if Guernsey and Jersey could work together more closely for the benefit of both communities," he continued.

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Pictured: Kevin Keen wants the government to at least consider a physical link to France.

On the back of Mr Dorey’s proposals, Mr Keen is urging the government to rethink his proposed link to France. 

In a column for Express, Mr Keen had suggested building a bridge to the country would assist with the local housing crisis by giving islanders access to the lower property prices of Normandy, and its lower cost of living.

But now, inspired by Mr Dorey's suggestion, he suggests that the idea of a tunnel might instead be the way forward.

“It has been identified that there is going to be a need for 7,000 homes and we struggle to agree where to put 30/40 homes, so clearly some radical response to the problem is required,” Mr Keen said.

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Pictured: Mr Keen says a link to France could help with the housing crisis.

“On that basis, a physical link to France - probably a tunnel rather than a bridge - seems a very interesting option and not just for housing.”

Mr Keen is now calling for politicians to at least “consider” the link to France.

“…Thinking through the pros and cons of such a link will cost nothing,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Visit Jersey CEO Keith Beecham has also shown support for Mr Dorey’s proposals, noting anything that improves inter-island connectivity is “welcomed".

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Pictured: Keith Beecham, Visit Jersey CEO.

He did, however, call for some caution due to the cost of the idea, which he says would work out at the “mouthwatering” amount of around £170,000 per Jersey and Guernsey resident.

“Clearly a full feasibility and environmental impact study would be needed to get this idea worked up to a robust business case,” Mr Beecham said. 

“A rail connection would certainly be welcomed by visitors who often want to island-hop to see and experience all that the Channel Islands have to offer throughout the year.

"This is a long-term ambition and we await further developments.”

The Government of Jersey declined to comment.

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