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Ministers push ahead with Gas Place school amid "town cramming" fears

Ministers push ahead with Gas Place school amid

Tuesday 29 November 2022

Ministers push ahead with Gas Place school amid "town cramming" fears

Tuesday 29 November 2022


Ministers are planning to go ahead with proposals for a new primary school at Gas Place in St.Helier, despite strong opposition from the Town Constable, who wants the nearby park to be extended instead.

Roof gardens and a terraced area could be incorporated into the design under proposals which have just been published as an amendment to the Government Plan.

The proposed new school would sit within an extension to the Millennium Town Park, with the Council of Ministers spelling out their intention to ‘transform the public realm’ in the area.

Plans for two community open spaces at the site of Springfield School and the Le Bas Centre are also included in the amendment, which is set to be debated in the States Assembly in two weeks’ time.

Use of the Gas Place site was highlighted in a recent review of primary education in St Helier, which included plans for a ‘two-form entry’ school on the site, as well as an additional special-needs facility for up to 24 pupils and a 30-place nursery.

An indicative drawing that forms part of the report attached to the amendment shows a tiered design for the roof of the proposed school, which would include a roof garden and a multi-sport synthetic pitch.

"Islanders should enjoy the maximum possible community access to [the school] and use of its facilities," the report notes.

Ministers also state that new green spaces must form part of the overall scheme in order to offset the use of Gas Place. The report states that the combined area of the Springfield School and Le Bas sites would be around 12,000sqm, compared with the 9,000sqm area of the Gas Place site.

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Pictured: St.Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft is campaigning for more open space in the area.

However, it remains to be seen whether the plans for Le Bas and Springfield School would be enough to satisfy St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft, who wanted to see Gas Place used to extend the Millennium Town Park so that it ran all the way from David Place to St Saviour’s Road.

In a recent Politics Disassembled Podcast, Constable Crowfroft said that area of town needed more open spaces for families, rather than being the best location for a new primary school. 

When the schools review was first published, Mr Crowcroft criticised what he described as "town cramming."

The plans also include ‘green travel corridors’ that would link the new school to other sites in St Helier, with road improvements and new crossings at key junctions.

The report acknowledges that only 36% of adults in St Helier felt ‘very satisfied’ with their local neighbourhood, compared with 60% of adults Islandwide.

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