Reclaimed land at La Collette should not remain an “engineering backyard”, but should instead provide for the community and the island, the Environment Minister has told Express.
According to Deputy John Young, the government should be considering relocating the fuel farm as the island aims to go greener, leaving the door open to a community-based development in the area.
The Minister’s comments came as he launched an island-wide consultation on the Island Plan 2021-2030 – a roadmap as to how Jersey should look and feel in years to come.
Land reclamation is one of six spatial strategy options islanders can share their views on to help the government decide where future developments should go.
Presented yesterday, the Island Plan consultation document notes that Jersey has a long history of land reclamation. The shoreline of St. Helier has advanced over several hundred years as land has been reclaimed “to accommodate the growth and defence of the town and the operation of the port”, as well as to provide “a disposal route for the island’s solid waste.”
Video: John Young shares his views on the future of island development.
But now the Environment Minister wants to see a fresh approach taken to building on reclaimed land – one that is decidedly less industrial, and holds benefit for the whole community.
“When that was reclaimed two decades years ago, it was seen as a major opportunity to provide for a new community and all sorts of uses for the island and I think the Island Plan should provide for that,” Deputy Young said.
“Of course, that means looking into the fuel farm and, of course, coincidentally, we are now signed up to climate neutrality so effectively I think phasing out oil and gas and possibly relocating that.”
“Those are the sort of issues that I would prefer to see looked at in the reuse of that particular site,” he added. “Personally, I’ve never been happy with seeing it being used as what I call an engineering backyard for ever.”
Pictured: Jersey has a long history of land reclamation.
Although he has not been involved in Future Hospital discussions, Deputy Young said he will include criteria for a new hospital site in the Draft Island Plan if the government hasn’t picked a location which the States Assembly is happy to support before then.
“I’m relying on them, if they come up with a proper process that gives us a clearly identified site that’s got the States support, that can go in the Island Plan, in the draft plan.
“If they haven’t, then it’s right that we have a policy, a generic policy if you like. It will say here are some criteria by which we can then kind of test it out. Rather than have to make decisions completely in an ad-hoc way without their policy, I think the Island Plan needs to have a policy in there.”
The current Island Plan was adopted by the States Assembly in 2011 and runs until 2020. The Environment Minister launched its review in May to consider how the policies for new development should be adapted in light of challenges for island, such as the need for homes, economic support, climate change, and the impact of an ageing population.
Pictured: The Environment Minister wants the Island Plan to include criteria on where and how the new hospital should be built.
Islanders have now until September to share their views on the strategic issues and options outlined by the government and effectively shape the future of the island.
“The heart of the island plan is about balancing different views and different interests so we don’t think this is a consultation that gives us silver bullet answers,” Steve Skelton, the government's Director of Strategy and Innovation, explained.
“We know people have different views and the whole process is about how we create a policy framework that allows us to balance those views and the spatial strategy which is the question around where development should go.
"We’ve published six options and we absolutely think the right answer will be a mixture of those not one over and above all. So it’s a qualitative consultation it’s about hearing views, hearing people ideas as well as about them actually the choice from the options.”
Pictured: A 52-page document containing 27 questions has been produced for the consultation.
According to Deputy Young, it is crucial that islanders share their views during the consultation as the Island Plan is an important piece of legislation that will have an impact on the whole community.
“Don’t leave it until the draft plan has been published,” he urged.
“Come on board now, give us your views that will shape, really will shape, the direction of travel we go and don’t leave it until the plan is cast and it’s more difficult to change it."
Pictured: Islanders are urged to engage with the consultation throughout the summer.
He added: "Whatever you do, talk to people, turn up to events, talk to planning officers, do it by email, online... Please talk to us.”
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