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Third time (un)lucky? Islanders ‘rail’ against new promenade safety plan

Third time (un)lucky? Islanders ‘rail’ against new promenade safety plan

Tuesday 16 January 2024

Third time (un)lucky? Islanders ‘rail’ against new promenade safety plan

Tuesday 16 January 2024

Government officials are hoping it will be third time lucky as they take yet another stab at making a stretch of coastal promenade safer – via plans some have decried as a waste of taxpayer cash and a symptom of Jersey becoming a “nanny state”.

The Infrastructure Department were first prompted to review the safety along the La Haule walkway – where there is no physical barrier – following a near-fatal accident in 2019, when a pedestrian fell onto the beach below and became unconscious.

An application to introduce railings along the sea wall was put forward the following year, but rejected on the grounds that it would restrict the uninterrupted views across the bay and conflict with the Anti-Tank Wall (Panzermauer 7), which has special protections as a listed structure.

Two years later, Infrastructure instead put forward plans for a granite 'upstand' – a tiny 'wall' of just 300mm high.

The small granite structure was due to be installed in the autumn, but works were abruptly halted after a massive public backlash, as well as concerns being raised by civil servants and Andium Homes.

Key complaints were that the 'upstand' would itself exacerbate the problem as a trip hazard – as well as the project's £90,000 price tag.

St. Aubin

Pictured: An artist's impression of the suggested "upstand", which did not go ahead. (IHE/Antony Gibb Ltd)

Months later, police reported that a cyclist had fallen off his bike onto the beach below in the early morning. 

Officials have now reverted to railings, and a fresh application has been submitted for determination by the Planning Department.

Documents submitted as part of the application described railings as the "most robust safety solution" and one which would "cause minimal harm to the character of the area". It also states that such a change would contribute to "overcoming barriers to cycling" in line with a Government push for islanders to use greener forms of transport.

Under the plans, the railings would be painted in a "recessive dark green colour" to help further "lessen their visual impact".

The application appears to have divided opinion, and generated more than 100 comments when shared in the St Brelade parishioners Facebook page.

Many felt it was a necessary step, with one stating that "safety should come before money".

"It's quite easy for someone to trip and fall or have a wobbly moment if they are elderly, better for it not to happen after all," another commenter added.

But others felt it to be a matter of applying "common sense".

"If people cannot walk in a straight line or are irresponsible, why waste money? They already have lights directly above it," one parishioner noted.

"Can't people take responsibility for themselves any more?" another responded, later quipping: "...Next you will have to wear high viz jackets to walk along there."

Others came at it from a different perspective – among the concerns was that "once you set a precedent of of having to build railings for safety reasons you then have to apply this rationale to every area across the Island where the hazard could possibly arise – the mind boggles."

La Haule Railings - 3rd app

Pictured: Visuals of how the new railings proposal could look were included in the planning application. (IHE/Antony Gibb Ltd)

Another individual said that a wall would seem more appropriate in order to deal with the matter of climate change and rising sea levels.

Cost and priority remained a concern for a St Brelade resident who commented on the main application, describing it as "whimsical", particularly "when there are so many other schemes in the parish in urgent need of attention and investment".

The application, which has been graded 'Minor', remains open to public comments until the end of the month and can be viewed here.


When is a wall, not a wall? When it's an "upstand"

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