Plans to redevelop the Government’s South Hill Offices will be amended to give equal weight to tourism, accommodation and cultural uses.
The changes come after a public consultation on the brief for the site was published, with the Minister for Environment stating he would ensure that its potential use for the tourism industry was properly considered.
Although a report outlining the consultation responses notes that some “respondents wished to see mixed uses, hotel, sports and culture with links to Fort Regent”, there was a divide over those who wanted to see it as a hotel, with 39 (50.65%) disagreeing that the site should be used as tourist accommodation.
Pictured: Environment Minister John Young argued that "the maximum return in the release of this public asset should be secured" if it was housing.
The question of whether the site should be used for open market housing, as per the original briefing, divided respondents though, with 34 (44.74%) agreeing, 31 disagreeing (40.79%), and 11 (14.47%) remaining neutral.
Many responses felt that the need for social housing and first-time buyer homes was of a higher priority, despite recognising the high value nature of the site.
However, the Minister did not change his stance, stating that there were other sites planned for redevelopment that would “better contribute to the provision of affordable housing.”
On the structure of the building, respondents were predominantly in favour of the site remaining at its current height sitting within the hill, with 52 (67%) agreeing – The Minister agreed with this but said he wanted greater clarity in the subsequent height assessments.
Final comments from respondents published included a suggestion that St Helier could be akin to “the waterfronts of Sydney, Capetown and Vancouver with their blend of housing, hotels, restaurants, shops and bars.”
Another commenter looked to more rural comparisons, saying “a small ‘village’ of hillside cottages… would sit beautifully nestled in the hillside”, drawing comparisons to Devon and Cornwall.
The amended Supplementary Planning Guidance will be published at a later date.
Last month, the Government Plan suggested that any funds from the sale of public assets like South Hill should be ring-fenced to reduce the Government’s covid debt.
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