Rouge Bouillon School will expand into the next-door former Police headquarters - unless a more suitable site for a new town primary is found.
States Members yesterday voted in favour of an amended proposal from Deputy Inna Gardiner to protect the site for the school – but it is far from certain that it will actually move there.
Instead, the old station will not be considered for any non-education purpose, including housing or a joint Fire and Ambulance Headquarters, which have both been proposed for the site, until Education completes a review of its property estate, which is currently under way.
In supporting the proposal, which was backed by the Education Minister, politicians also agreed that every site in Government ownership in St. Helier and St. Saviour that could become a school should not be allocated for another purpose until Education’s review of its town estate is completed.
Pictured: Rouge Bouillon School's facilities have been described as inadequate and out of date.
Deputy Inna Gardiner said: “We live on small island. I cannot see that there would be any surprises in relation to new sites for development as a result of the ongoing review of the education estate.
“In reality, the number of serious contenders for an alternative site for primary schools in both St. Helier and St. Saviour is not high. The criteria for such a site must include sufficient outdoor space, and space for sports facilities in addition to fit for purposes school buildings.
“There will always be competing priorities for large development sites. However, there are a number of primary schools in St. Helier, and indeed in St. Saviour, which are built on sites that are no longer fit for purpose. Education sites that lack outdoor play space, lack sports facilities and have out of date buildings such as Rouge Bouillon, Springfield, and St Luke’s.
“Looking at the school estate within St. Helier has also highlighted those schools on the boundaries of the parish – schools in urban areas that are used by both St. Helier and St. Saviour and which need space and facilities.
“This is why I feel it important to expand the strategic vision for the education estate to St Saviour, and to ensure a joined-up approach between the parishes.
“There is a need for at least two three-form entry - north and south - or three-form entries primary schools in these areas, or potentially in another configuration.
“The review of the town primary school estate is nearing completion. The importance of the outcome of this review cannot be understated as this will inform the decisions which need to be made in respect of the feasibility of school extensions, new schools and use of sites within the Government property portfolio in the town vicinity, including addressing issues such as catchment areas, and the delivery of appropriate outdoor space with consideration of national guidance.”
Some Members did urge caution, pointing out that it could delay planning for the development of publicly owned land, such as Fort Regent. It also meant that if Rouge Bouillon did expand into the old police station, a suitable site for a new joint Ambulance and Fire Station would still have to be found.
Supporters, however, said it added urgency to the search for new school sites and it showed islanders that the Government is serious in its strategic aim to put children first.
Members passed the amended proposition by 39 votes to six.
Those voting against included Home Affairs Minister Gregory Guida and Treasury Minister Susie Pinel.
However, Chief Minster John Le Fondré, Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham and Environment Minister John Young all supported Deputy Gardiner's proposal.
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