A Parish Constable has spoken out about the loss of a historic road sign which used to mark the start of Georgetown...but now only refers to GE TOWN after being cut in half by a new development.
St. Saviour Constable Kevin Lewis described it as a “wonderful granite piece (which) has now been cut in half and destroyed."
The Planning Department confirmed that neither the building, nor the sign, are 'Listed' which means it isn’t protected.
Pictures of the sign with a new door and balcony built through the middle of it were posted on Facebook, and islanders expressed their “disgust” at the renovation which was branded as “disrespectful”.
Pictured: a photo of the cut-off sign was posted on Facebook.
Jojo Le Cornu Lane, the St Saviour’s parishioner who posted the photo on Facebook, said: “I'm just so disgusted it was ever allowed to happen, it's pure vandalism of Jersey architecture.”
Constable Lewis explained the sign’s significance: “A lot of people think this whole area is Don Road, but this granite sign served to signify when it becomes Georgetown Road so it was quite a local landmark to signpost the area.”
He says he has spoken to Planning about a new sign to signify the start of Georgetown Road, as well as emphasising to the department that “this must not happen again”.
He added: “It should’ve been part of a planning obligation to retain the road names, especially as its granite which could have been relocated.”
Although Constable Lewis lives in the Georgetown area, he said he didn't know the sign was going, until after it had happened as the “whole building was clad in scaffolding and a plastic wrap” whilst renovations were taking place.
Pictured: The Georgetown Street sign before the balcony was added to the building.
The other half of the granite sign rounds the corner onto a neighbouring building and signifies the beginning of Elizabeth Street.
Consable Lewis explained that Elizabeth Street is a Parish-owned street and therefore the sign has been retained. He has also spoken to the owners of the Elizabeth Street property to ensure that the “granite is cleaned and restored” as it was painted over during the renovation of the Georgetown Street property.
In England, there are ‘local lists’ of heritage assets which aren’t listed nationally, but which people care about locally, and are part of the area in which they live. Historic street signs are typical examples of the sort of things that appear on local lists as they make places individual.
Constable Lewis expressed his support for a similar system in Jersey.
The Bridging Island Plan outlines plans to introduce Conservation Areas to protect areas which make Jersey special, as well as further ideas to protect and celebrate our island identity.
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