Plans to create a new park above a stretch of Victoria Avenue, designed to improve the gateway into St Helier, look set to get a rough ride from the Parish Constable - a key voice in any decision to lease the necessary land.
This week hotelier Steve Beddoe published plans to develop the lower park area, and part of Victoria Avenue, at no cost to the tax payer, in return for a long lease from the Parish of the St Helier for the land.
He wants to see the space converted into a car park for over 700 cars, with decking over the top giving islanders a new park that Mr Beddoe believes would be "the pride of the Islands" and known as Le Jardin de Mélêches. It would be funded by revenue from the concealed parking.
However, St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft commented that he hadn't yet see any detail on the plans, but he was sceptical as to whether they would work or whether more parking was needed in town, arguing that there were already plenty of available commuter spaces in St Helier, mainly at Sand Street:
“One has to question whether building an enormous car park at West park would make financial sense. Car parking is historically very cheap in Jersey, it is certainly a lot cheaper than large towns and cities in the UK.”
“The idea of extending lower park so that it goes down to the sea is quite attractive, but the people who sit in the traffic at the moment along Victoria Avenue might have a view about sitting in a tunnel.”
He also voiced concern about the size of the structure. Mr Crowcroft said, “...we’d be talking about quite a massive structure,” in order to adequately accommodate the double decker buses that use the Avenue.
Despite the Constable's concerns, Mr Beddoe would need the support of a Parish Assembly in order to go ahead with his plans.
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