New school facilities in the centre of St. Helier are "desperately" needed and the Government must put more thought into harmonising housing and education needs, a town politician has said after a project to build nearly 200 new homes opposite Millennium Park was unveiled.
It was announced last week that Andium Homes has been given Ministerial approval to acquire the majority of the former BOA and Play.com site, now to be known as 'Northern Quarter'.
If plans are approved, the existing warehouse will be demolished and the site will be redeveloped to provide a total of 195 new homes - 169 of which will be available as affordable social housing.
Housing Minister Deputy David Warr said he was "delighted that Andium will be building much-needed housing" in an area of St. Helier he said would "benefit from such regeneration".
However, concerns have been expressed over where children living in these homes would go to school, with pressures already on the existing provision.
Pictured: The area is now to be known as Northern Quarter
Replying to a Government tweet announcing the project, St. Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft said: "This makes the case for doubling the size of the Millennium Town Park even more compelling."
This prompted a response from Chief Scrutineer and Reform Jersey Leader, Deputy Sam Mézec of St. Helier South, who added: "And it makes the case for a new school even more compelling too. Where is your suggestion for where the kids who live here will go to school? Don't leave us hanging. We need to know."
And it makes the case for a new school even more compelling too.— Deputy Sam Mézec (@SamMezecJsy) August 3, 2022
Where is your suggestion for where the kids who live here will go to school? Don't leave us hanging. We need to know.
Speaking to Express, fellow Reform member, Deputy Rob Ward of St. Helier Central, whose district would include the new 'Northern Quarter', echoed his sentiments.
"We desperately need new school facilities in walkable distance in the centre of St. Helier," he said.
"More homes are being built without consideration of where children will go to school."
Pictured: Deputy Rob Ward says that "more homes are being built without consideration of where children will go to school".
He continued: "It seems the park is the only green space being considered and that gives the go-ahead for dense housing developments.
"A new school at the end of the park with old sites being replaced turned into other green spaces as per my manifesto is the key.
"Plus, where is the provision of genuine green space with these new developments?"
Last year, Deputy Ward put in an amendment to the Island Plan - a blueprint for development in Jersey over the coming years - asking for the site on Tunnell Street to be safeguarded for educational use to help address "deficiencies" in the island's schooling provision.
In a report explaining his proposal, Deputy Ward said the site, which was originally earmarked for an extension to Millennium Park and more Andium housing, “is in the perfect location for a primary school in the North of St. Helier.”
States Members also voted last year in favour of an amended proposal from Deputy Inna Gardiner - now the Education Minister - to protect the old Police Headquarters site for the expansion of Rouge Bouillon School.
Pictured: Rouge Bouillon School's facilities have been described as inadequate and out of date.
They agreed that the old station would not be considered for any non-education purpose, including housing or a joint Fire and Ambulance Headquarters, which have both been proposed for the site, until Education completed a review of its property estate.
The Education Minister was unavailable for comment when contacted by Express.
However, Assistant Minister for Children and Education, Deputy Louise Doublet, said that school plans would be brought forward in the coming months.
“The announcement of the Northern Quarter development demonstrates the competing demands for housing, education, and amenity sites in town," she commented.
"The Government will be considering the result of the School Estates Review this autumn, and will decide how to make the best use of the sites we have available.
"Providing enough school places for children, and sufficient green space for them to play, are priorities for this Ministerial team."
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.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.