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‘No evidence’ Broad Street should close for medical reasons

‘No evidence’ Broad Street should close for medical reasons

Tuesday 01 September 2020

‘No evidence’ Broad Street should close for medical reasons

Tuesday 01 September 2020


Jersey’s key business lobby group is demanding that Broad Street be reopened immediately, claiming that the Minister that closed it for ‘medical reasons’ was never advised to do so.

Infrastructure Minister Deputy Kevin Lewis announced that the road would be shut to traffic back in March.

The move upset numerous businesses in the area, with one saying it has left the zone a “ghost town”, and the MD of Romerils claiming that the pandemic was being used as an excuse to fast-track a pre-existing plan.

Others expressed frustration at the loss of parking spaces and a bus stop on the road.

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Pictured: Deputy Kevin Lewis, the Minister for Infrastructure.

But Deputy Lewis has thus far resisted calls to reopen it - including a from an e-petition that garnered over 1,000 signatures.

He maintains that his decision was taken on the advice of health professionals amid concerns that physical distancing would not otherwise be possible to prevent the spread of covid.

But the Chamber of Commerce are disputing this.

Following what was described as a “lengthy process of being passed from department to department”, the group said it discovered that neither the Minister for Health nor the Medical Officer for Health asked for the road to be closed.

They are now calling for the road to be reopened immediately.

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Pictured: A quiet Broad Street since the closure.

Chamber also wants any further decisions to close the street to be the result of a “transparent, timely and consultative process involving the businesses and users of this route”.

“The Broad Street closure makes little sense, and it is now clear that the medical advice has not called for this road to be closed,” Chamber’s Retail and Supply Chair and former Town Centre Manager Daphne East said.

“Given the main concerns of safe distancing are for indoors rather than outdoors, it appears very odd that one can be seated in a bar or restaurant, but the Minister insists closing Broad Street, as opposed to any other roads, is supporting physical distancing.”

Chamber’s Vice President John Shenton added: “It has been a long-held political wish of some to have Broad Street pedestrianised. That is a discussion and consultation to be had, but it does appear that the Minister is using covid-19, to close a particular road, citing ‘health risks’ when no other roads are closed and neither STAC nor the Health Minister have requested it. It does a disservice to the open and transparent decision making we expect of our Government departments.”

Responding to Chamber this morning, the Government did not say it would be reopening the road, but invited dialogue with the business lobby group.

A spokesperson said: "Broad Street is currently closed to traffic to allow physical distancing at particular pinch points in St. Helier.

"Providing public spaces for physical distancing is part of our effort to encourage people, especially those at high-risk, to feel confident to come back into town.

"Contrary to the Chamber of Commerce announcement, medical advice is that it would not be prudent to relax measures further and that, as we enter the autumn and winter, we may need to re-escalate our ability to distance when outside the home.

"This is being kept under review and the Chief Minister has extended an invite to meet with Chamber representatives to discuss the Government's response to covid."

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Posted by Paul Maguire on
This would seem to be another case of incompetence in the States ,
Posted by David Whalley on
Simon Crowcroft and Kevin Lewis have an agenda here and they are not listening to the many complaints about this closure. Stop hiding/stonewalling/ignoring and get the road opened again.
Posted by john garner on
No it is yet another case of the old adage "don't waste a good crisis" .. Fasten everything to the Covid handle and push through pet schemes on the sly ...opportunistic to the very end .
Posted by nigel pearce on
It was obvious from the beginning that there was no medical reason for closing the street. The whole agenda was to pedestrianise it for the benefit of no-one but cyclists.
His other proposal to widen the cycle track on Victoria Avenue is a similar scheme which would actually lead to less safety for pedestrians as the cyclists would ride even faster than they do now. Incidentally, jet he number of cyclists using the cycle track has reduced greatly now everyone is back to work. Even Sundays are not that busy any more now that the novelty has worn off.
Posted by Keith Marsh on
Deputy Kevin Lewis ~ Do the right thing NOW and open up Broad Street.
Posted by Alan Keen on
In reference to previous stories on the subject. Firstly, the Chamber of Commerce have obviously lost their way. The should be promoting a cleaner greener St Helier, they clearly don't.
The retailer's moaning the most are on a street pedestrianised a few years back. They were silent then and their present excuses/ arguments do no stand up to anything.
No fan of Lewis, but finally he has got something right. As for Mr Simon and Mr Fotosound managers reasonings. Broad Street is a much healthier place than it used to be. A lot less polluted Ask you fellow Chamber members at Aurum . They like the fresh air.
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