An icon of Jersey’s Waterfront for nearly 25 years is set to be removed as part of plans to dramatically redevelop the area, developers have confirmed to Express.
According to the Jersey Development Company (JDC), La Frégate Café cannot stay in its current location near Les Jardins de la Mer due to the risk of flooding.
The 33-metre cedar-clad café - whose unusual design has received international recognition - has been welcoming islanders and visitors alike to the Jardins de la Mer area since 1997.
However, when Government-backed JDC recently released detailed concepts for the Southwest waterfront area of St. Helier, the eatery, famous for its upturned hull shape, didn’t appear to feature.
The designs divide the Waterfront into a number of 'Key Open Spaces' (KOS). KOS2 includes the Jardins de la Mer area and is described as the ‘Park Quarter’.
According to the concept images released by JDC, this area would include a café and kiosk ticket zone near West Park, amphitheatre seating, a playground, a ‘flexible’ lawn space and seating.
Following queries from Express, JDC confirmed the plans did not feature La Frégate Café because it would have to go, apparently due to flooding risks.
A spokesperson said JDC had carried out a flood risk impact assessment on the section of coastline around the West Park slip and café area as part of the Waterfront design process.
Pictured: La Frégate is located in what would become the ‘Park Quarter’, which includes landscaped gardens and a promenade.
Following this, the developer concluded that the seawall needs to be raised by 1.2m to “future-proof" the area and avoid potential flooding, with ground levels also increased by 1.2m to maintain views over the seawall.
Meanwhile, the West Park slipway will be relocated further to the west.
“Given these significant changes, particularly West Park’s revised ground levels, it will not be practically feasible to retain La Frégate Café and it is proposed that it will be removed as part of the area’s redevelopment which will include significant enhancements to the Western Gateway to St. Helier,” the spokesperson said.
The JDC spokesperson added that part two of the South West St. Helier public consultation process is still ongoing and that an outline planning application will not be submitted until end of September.
Pictured: The 33-metre cedar-clad building was built in 1997.
La Frégate was intended as a "more modern and more appropriate structure" to replace the nearby West Park Café, with the island's Tourism Investment Fund contributing £250,000 at the time.
The facilities and dimensions of La Frégate Café were agreed with the Planning and Environment Committee and with the Tourism Committee and the contract for the construction was let after competitive tender on 5 December 1996 at a price of £519,000.
Its unusual design was based on a "hastily designed conceptual squiggle" from acclaimed British Architect Will Alsop of Alsop and Stormer - the practice behind Le Grand Bleu government complex in Marseilles - who worked in conjunction with Derek Mason from Mason Design Partnership and it posed a challenge to local boatbuilders, Dave Matthews and Paul Haslam.
While the build received mixed reviews from residents at the time of its opening, it went on to receive international recognition, selected to feature among a handful of projects in the 2011 Sao Paulo Biennale, alongside the work of architectural stars like Sir Terry Farrell, designer of The Deep in Hull.
Over the past eight years, the popular café, which turns into a Thai restaurant at night, has been run by the Troy family, Diana and Marcus.
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