Islanders living near La Gigoulande Quarry have said that “common sense has prevailed” after politicians overwhelmingly agreed not to ‘safeguard’ a neighbouring field for the quarry to expand into.
The potential growth of the quarry at the top end of St. Peter’s Valley was one of the most controversial parts of the three-year 'Bridging Island Plan' (BIP), with more of a third of all public comments made during last year’s consultation phase referring to this proposal.
The BIP proposed the ‘safeguarding’ of field ‘MY966’ to allow the next-door quarry to potentially expand into it to extract its granite underneath.
This was based on a consultant’s report which said that the current quarry had fewer than eight years left of ‘winnable reserves’ left and moving into MY966 would give it another 30 years or more of life.
This prompted a strong response from nearby residents and businesses, environmentalists, and members of the public who objected to loss of prime agricultural land and an oak-lined green lane, as well as its impact on homes and a hotel in the area.
The quarry owner, Granite Products, purchased the field at the end of 2019 for £1.65m.
Pictured: Field MY966, on the corner of Rue l’Aleval and Rue Bechervaise, was the controversial field in question.
An amendment proposed by Senator Kristine Moore to remove the ‘safeguarding’ designation from the plan was accepted by 40 votes to five in the Assembly on Thursday afternoon.
Members’ reasons were varied but the principal arguments were that the issue could and should be delayed until the next Island Plan; there needs to be a greater understanding of alternative aggregate supply, including the potential of a new recycling plant at La Collette and importation; the impact of nearby residents; and the fact that ‘safeguarding’ would be a presumption in favour of expansion when a planning application was submitted.
Senator Ian Gorst was one Member who spoke out against safeguarding.
“This is a Bridging Island Plan that lasts three years and we know that the quarry will not need the field in that time,” he said. “The case has not been made to safeguard it now so it is not necessary to make the decision today.”
Environment Minister John Young was the only voice that spoke in favour of the safeguarding.
“If we don’t safeguard this field, by end of 2025 there will be less than ten years’ supply at the quarry,” he said. “That means that virtually all supply then would be from the St John’s Quarry.
“That means we will have to now be looking at importation of construction materials. If you import bulk materials we need landing areas, and that is not part of Ports of Jersey’s plans in the BIP. If we are going to defer this, I don’t think we can sit back and wait for that aggregate port.”
Pictured: Manuela Milsom said she and fellow residents were “absolutely delighted”.
After the vote, residents who had campaigned for the removal of MY966 from the plan expressed their thanks to States Members who had backed the amendment.
One of them, Manuela Milsom, said: “We are absolutely delighted as you can imagine.
“Common sense has prevailed and many Members stood up and spoke determinedly and passionately.
“They had clearly researched the matter thoroughly and we are very grateful for the time and support that they have put into this and for listening to the islanders.”
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