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A new home for the iconic La Frégate?

A new home for the iconic La Frégate?

Thursday 17 November 2022

A new home for the iconic La Frégate?

Thursday 17 November 2022

The iconic La Frégate café building will stay if the building is listed, it has been confirmed - but not necessarily where it is now.

The distinctive upturned-hull design was built in 1997 and has become a landmark between West Park and Jardins de la Mer.

However, when JDC unveiled its ambitious plans for the Waterfront last year, which includes 1,000 flats, a ‘gateway’ tower, an arthouse cinema and a new leisure complex, La Frégate was conspicuous by its absence.

Drawings showed a café and kiosk ticket zone near West Park, amphitheatre seating, a playground, a ‘flexible’ lawn space and seating – but not the 33-metre cedar-clad eatery.

This prompted campaigners, including local architect Derek Mason who helped design it, to lobby for its listing, which is currently being considered by the Government.

JDC argue that, because of expected rising sea levels, the nearby seawall needs to be raised by 1.2m to “future-proof" the area and avoid potential flooding, with ground levels also increasing by 1.2m to maintain views over the seawall.

Derek Mason La Fregate

Pictured: Architect Derek Mason (third from left) is campaigning for La Frégate to be listed.

Meanwhile, the West Park slipway will be moved further to the west.

However, this week Jersey Development Company Chief Executive Lee Henry revealed to Express that the firm would be open to dismantling the café and reassembling it elsewhere.

“We would obviously adhere to any listing requirement, but it is possible the building could move to a more suitable location, while still retaining its link with the sea," he explained.

“It would have to be dismantled because it was not built to be simply picked up and moved. Rebuilding it could be an opportunity to include a mezzanine floor, which featured in the original plans but was not built because it had no disabled access.”

However, Mr Mason said that the building he helped design – meant to look like a large fish or whale – was never intended to be moved and it would fall apart if attempts were made to dismantle it.

Listing would mean that La Frégate would be considered a building with special heritage interest – something that would be taken into consideration at planning application stage.

Waterfront JDC.png

Pictured: An artist's impression of what the western end of the Waterfront will look like, if JDC's plans are approved.

UK campaign group the Twentieth Century Society (C20) has argued that the café is noteworthy as a “small-scale experimental structure” alongside the likes of James Stirling's Biennale bookshop (1991), Alsop & Stormer's Visitor Centre at Cardiff Bay (1991), Piers Gough’s Notting Hill flower stall (1993) and Michael Hopkins and Partners’ Buckingham Palace ticket office (1995).

JDC's plans for the Waterfront will be assessed at an independent planning inquiry, which is likely to take place in the first half of next year. 

Following advice from Planning, the Government-owned developed has already halved the height of its 'gateway' building near the bottom of Gloucester Street.


Architect in birthday protest as La Fregate listing stalls

British architecture group fights to save La Frégate

Architect makes plea to save La Frégate

Revealed: Developers plan to remove iconic 'upturned boat' café

GALLERY: Plans for Waterfront overhaul submitted

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Posted by Scott Mills on
Listed!!! It's should be listing in the victoria pool, about 50 metres due south from where it is. Listed status....only alan partirdge would come out with something like that.
Posted by Wayne Le Cuirot on
Does anybody believe that 'rising sea levels' is the reason why it is being removed. If you used that logic surely the same would have to apply to every building along the coast.
Posted by David Kingham on
Overdale seems a popular place
Posted by Rex Cardy on
Could convert it to an air B n B ,then sell it with sea views, cheap breakfasts, and sleeps 40 ,parking for 50 cars, and work on the doorstep.. should being in a few million ????
Posted by Keith Marsh on
What a dreadful site ~ "An artist's impression of what the western end of the Waterfront will look like, if JDC's plans are approved". Jersey and the sole of St Helier is being lost.
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