The Government has decided not to build a new centre for MOT-style car inspections amid struggles - leaving construction to its preferred supplier, which is yet to be appointed.
The news emerged during a quarterly hearing of the Environment, Infrastructure and Housing and Scrutiny Panel with the Infrastructure Minister, Deputy Kevin Lewis.
The chair of the Panel, Constable Mike Jackson, asked for an update on plans to build a new centre for the Periodic Technical Inspections (PTI), which are planned to be introduced to the island as a result of Jersey signing up to the Vienna Convention for Road Traffic, allowing islanders to continue driving freely through Europe.
Gordon Forrest, the Head of Driver and Vehicle Standards (DVS), revealed that in August funding for the inspection centre was 'reprioritised' and removed from the capital programme.
The Infrastructure Minister said the decision was due to a “lack of funding for the department as a whole”. “We had to make ends meet,” he said.
Pictured: The Infrastructure Minister said his department had to "make ends meet".
The decision came after the department had already carried out an “expressions of interest exercise”, which revealed that at least four companies wished to take on responsibility for the inspections.
Three of the responses came from large businesses, two of which were European and the other a large local business.
“What we did is we went back to those who responded to the expression of interest and asked them if that affected whether they would tender or not, if a franchisee had to bear the cost of constructing the test centre,” Mr Forrest explained.
“Three of the four who responded to the expressions of interest came back and said it wouldn’t make a difference at all, however clearly there would be an additional cost to the inspections.”
Mr Forrest said the funding decision had “held up” the project for a while but that the department was now about to launch a procurement exercise and go out to tender to select the preferred supplier, with the help of the Government’s commercial team
He also told the Panel that a potential site, which will not only need to house the test station but also space for vehicles to queue and exit the centre, had been identified but wouldn’t reveal its location.
He however said La Collette didn’t seem to be an option as most of it is located within the blast zone.
Mr Forrest said he hoped that by the time the tender process is launched the site will be available and included as part of the tender. If not, he said the department would help the franchisee find a suitable site.
Express recently sat down with DVS Head Gordon Forrest to discuss the plans for driving MOTs into Jersey...
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