Tourism officials have thrown their weight behind plans to change disused barns in a 15th century farmstead into six self-catering accommodation units to help remedy a “struggling” industry.
According to newly submitted plans for La Robeline in St. Ouen, the accommodation would be made from the four barns currently on the site, with the owner requesting "as much of the character and original fabric as possible" is retained during the design process.
Currently, the Grade 2 listed site is made up of a three-bedroom house, as well as a two-bedroom cottage thought to date back to the 1400s, with four barn outbuildings - there would be no alterations to the existing accommodation, only the outbuildings.
The redevelopment plans from architects Axis Mason would also see more parking spaces added to each of the barns, as well as five more spaces further up the site, including one for electric vehicles, and storage for 17 bikes.
Internal alterations are said to repair the fabric of the barns, and additions such as: new doors, three additional windows and 14 new rooflights.
A heritage survey report from ecologist Piers Sangan observed that a species of bat used the interiors of the barns, and a “low level of activity around the site.”
He provided a species protection and enhancement plan to ensure any adverse effects on them were minimised, including recommendations for work to start outside the activity season and a lighting plan to ensure dark corridors are maintained.
The Government's Economic Development Department, which has responsibility for tourism, has voiced its support for the development.
Hospitality and Leisure Manager Andrew Jones wrote a letter to Axis Mason last year speaking of a need for more tourist accommodation.
“In light of the formation of Visit Jersey to oversee the marketing of Jersey as a visitor destination and with an aim to increase visitor numbers, it is important that the island is able to offer high quality accommodation that meets the needs of the visitor and for fill demand at all times of the year,” he wrote.
He noted that between 2008 and 2020, there was a loss of 2,286 tourist beds in the island, with a further 945 anticipated at the time for 2021.
“This change of use, if agreed, will generate a much needed income for what has become a struggling industry,” he added.
A planning decision will be made at a later date.
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