Pausing the development of the Waterfront while a ‘Town Masterplan’ is written would put agreed house-building targets under threat, the Government’s developer has said.
Although stressing that the Jersey Development Company will always abide by the decisions of the Assembly, JDC Chief Executive Lee Henry said that the drafting and approval of a new plan for St. Helier would mean that an approved aim to provide 2,650 open market homes before the end of 2025 would probably not be met.
St. Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft is calling for a halt to the redevelopment of the Waterfront until a Town Masterplan is approved by the Assembly.
Mr Crowcroft argues that there needs to be greater coordination across St. Helier and its neighbouring parishes when it comes to development.
He said: “I am not asking that the scope of the current Waterfront plans are reduced or abandoned, only that they are paused while a Town Masterplan develops an agreed vision for St. Helier and puts in place the policies required to support its delivery, and protect the quality of life for all urban residents.”
Mr Crowcroft has lodged a formal proposition with the Assembly, which is due to be debated at the next States sitting, beginning 21 March.
Mr Henry says that if the proposal is approved, it would delay the redevelopment of the Waterfront by at least three years.
Pictured: Jersey Development Company CEO Lee Henry: "Ultimately, we are owned by the public and we will always follow the decisions of the States Assembly."
JDC has submitted outline plans to build close to 1,000 units on reclaimed land south of the underpass, which is currently car parking as well as the cinema, gym, pool and former The Bar.
The in-principle plans, which include extending Jardins de la Mer, moving La Frégate café, constructing a new slipway at West Park and building a new leisure centre and art-house cinema, will be the subject of an independent planning inquiry in May.
JDC has pledged that the current pool, gym and cinema will not close until replacements are up and running.
Mr Henry said: “Ultimately, we are owned by the public and we will always follow the decisions of the States Assembly.
“Also, there is definitely merit in having an overall plan for St. Helier. However, pausing the Southwest St. Helier project at this stage would cause significant delay and hinder wider States targets, which have been approved by the Assembly.”
Mr Henry added that focusing development on the Waterfront had already been backed several times, with the public taking the opportunity to have their say.
“We have been working on this for six years,” he said. “It started in 2017 with a review of the Esplanade Quarter Masterplan.
“It has been subject to extensive public consultation, facilitated by the Design Council, and culminated in the publication of the Southwest St. Helier Planning Framework."
Mr Henry said that, in parallel, the Bridging Island Plan – against which all planning decisions are made, including the outcome of the public inquiry – focused development in the existing urban centre to limit the rezoning of fields in the countryside.
The BIP backs the provision of up to 4,300 homes by the end of 2025, including 2,650 open market homes and 1,650 ‘affordable’ homes.
600 of the latter will be built on rezoned fields.
Mr Henry stressed that the outline permission JDC were seeking would only establish “maximum parameters” and all phases of the scheme would need separate planning applications.
“If and when outline permission is granted, you wouldn’t see a digger on site for at least two years,” he said.
Some environment groups are objecting to the plans over concerns about the amount of contaminated ground which will be excavated.
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