A campaign to save three fields from development has received the backing of a States Member who says she will seek to change the Island Plan to have them removed.
The fields in St. Helier are between Grande Route de St Jean and Grande Route du Mont à l’Abbé, just south of Vert Chemin and almost opposite the St. Helier parish depot.
Described as “strategically important” in the draft short-term plan, which will become the blueprint for development in Jersey between 2022 and 2025, they are currently used by one of Jersey’s two organic dairy farmers.
Despite this designation, the plan proposes that the land is built on, with between 52 and 76 homes constructed on the 9.4-vergée site.
Deputy Mary Le Hegarat, whose district includes the fields, said she could not understand why they were suggested for development in the first place.
Pictured: The three fields are close to the St Helier parish depot on Grande Route de St. Jean.
“The thing that jumped out at me was that the plan itself describes these fields as strategically important," she said. "So, the question for me is, what are they doing in there at all?
“We have to protect our dairy industry. We’re now being asked to define our Island Identity and I’m certain that the Jersey cow will feature highly in that. But at the rate we’re going, we won’t have any cows left soon.
“My second fundamental objection to the development is the traffic it will cause. The two roads running each side of the fields are far too busy as it is.
“You already have B&Q and the Powerhouse to the south, and when the Hospital is built at Overdale, everyone living in the north will use Queen’s Road to get there.
“And then you have a new Co-op being built at Sion and possibly a Range store at the Motor Mall. I just can’t see how it is going to pan out.
“I will be lodging an amendment to the Island Plan in the next few days to have these three fields removed.”
Pictured: A residents' meeting, held on a balmy evening at the West Hill Hotel, was attended by around 60 people, including Deputy Le Hegarat.
Deputy Le Hegarat also attended a meeting on Monday night called by nearby residents. One of the organisers, Hannah Curnock, said she had been “amazed” at the turnout.
“We had about 60 people there, which was an incredible response,” she said. “Their concerns were, principally, the increased traffic on both sets of roads, and the green lanes linking the two; the loss of biodiversity, the importance of the fields on the mental wellbeing of residents, walkers and drivers alike; and the loss of the dairy herd.”
Mrs Curnock said that nine people at the meeting had agree to form a team, which would meet this weekend to plan their next steps.
“Our first priority will be to formulate a submission to the independent planning inspector, which has to be in by 12 July, but we certainly won’t stop after that. One of our jobs will be to raise awareness of which fields will be lost.
“I’m not sure everyone knows which fields are proposed to be lost and I think many more Islanders will be opposed when they find out.”
The Constable of St. Helier, Simon Crowcroft has already said he too will oppose development on these fields, as well as the other site in the parish earmarked for development, just south of Haute Vallée School.
Meanwhile, Environment Minister John Young, the politician overseeing the Island Plan process, has encouraged all Islanders to participate in the consultation, which has a month left to run.
“I am pleased with the high level of engagement from Islanders so far,” he said. “The online and parish events have been useful in highlighting Islanders’ strongly held views on certain proposals and policies within the plan.
“It is positive to see this ongoing public discussion but as the draft bridging Island Plan is an important and extensive document, there are still some important subject areas that have not seen much feedback yet.
“There is under a month remaining of the public consultation phase, so I want to remind Islanders of the importance of reviewing the plan and then formally submitting their views.”
Islanders can submit their comments HERE.
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