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"They are using corona virus to fast-track what they have wanted to do for years"

Friday 22 May 2020

"They are using corona virus to fast-track what they have wanted to do for years"


The Managing Director of Romerils has hit out at the decision to temporarily close Broad Street to traffic, saying it will hurt shops by reducing town footfall and making deliveries harder.

The comments from Steve Jewell of the Dumaresq Street-based home interiors store came ahead of the closure coming into force tomorrow (Saturday 23 May) - just days after the move was announced by the Infrastructure Minister.

The closure will be in place until further notice, and will apply to all motor traffic, although delivery vehicles will be able to access the area between 07:00 and 11:00 each day.

Explaining the rationale for the decision, Deputy Lewis told the States Assembly this week that he believed it would allow for better physical distancing between pedestrians, while allowing alfresco business to thrive in the area.

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Pictured: Deputy Kevin Lewis, the Minister for Infrastructure.

But Mr Jewell has voiced concerns about the impact it will have on shops, adding that he felt the move had been on the cards for "a while".

“Businesses like Romerils, Marks and Spencer and De Gruchy have objected strongly to that due to the impact it would have on their operation and in customers getting to them.

“Broad Street is not a little runabout area, it’s a main road used for lots of purposes.” 

While deliveries are allowed during a three-hour period in the morning, Mr Jewell explained this will not help Romerils, whose deliveries are an “all-day operation”. 

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Pictured: closing Broad Street will affect businesses in town.

In addition, the Managing Director says closing the road will make it more difficult for customers to get into town at a time when businesses are already suffering massive losses due to lockdown, which some may not be able to survive.

“They say they are closing for the benefit of people so they can physically distance better, but the high street is not very busy, the footfall has been dropping for years and years,” Mr Jewell said. 

“They are saying they want to help future hospitality businesses, but retail has been decimated. They should be focusing on helping the businesses that are here now.”

In addition to potentially restricting customer numbers, Mr Jewell says the closure will cause traffic congestion and have repercussions for health and safety in the area, as drivers will have to go through Hue Street, which he likened to a building site, as Andium Homes is currently refurbishing Hue Court.

Pictured: The closure will send vehicles down Hue Street where Hue Court is currently being refurbished.

“With everyone having to drive through there, they will be congesting all of Union Street,” he explained.

“They haven’t considered the health and safety impact of that. They have not spoken to the Co-Op, De Gruchy or Marks and Spencer. 

“They should have come and said, ‘We are considering this,’ and come and talk about the implications. This will have an economic impact, a traffic impact and a health and safety impact.

“They have done this without consultation or checking the risks and they are instead creating a lot of risks. You do not just close a road and wait for the implications.” 

Pictured: Closing Broad Street will help people keep their distance from each other, the Infrastructure Minister said.

Mr Jewell also says he is not convinced by the arguments put forward by the Minister and is concerned his Department is planning to make the closure permanent. 

“We do not need to close a road to keep people’s distances,” he said. “I think they are coming up with very weak arguments or reasons to close the road.

“If they are so concerned about everyone’s safety, they shouldn't be opening small shops where people won’t be two metres apart. My personal belief is that they are using corona virus to fast-track what they have wanted to do for years."

Speaking about the rapid introduction of the road closure measure, the Infrastructure Minister said in a statement to the States Assembly this week: "As time is short and the need pressing, the changes to traffic management will in effect be rapidly prototyped and adapted as the need arises or conditions change.

"We are in uncertain times, we cannot reply on traffic modelling to give us the answers. Traffic volumbes will be changing as government lockdown restrictions are reduced. People's reactions are difficult to predict. Having a progressive programme allows us to tweak schemes and adapt as we work."

The news was met with varied reactions from States Members, with Constable Sadie Rennard bemoaning the loss of the Broad Street bus stop, which serves two bus routes. From tomorrow, the routes will depart from Liberation Station instead.

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Comments

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Posted by Denise Shrives on
NOT A GOOD IDEA !
Posted by Scott Mills on
Alfresco...Jersey....don't know the meaning of the word. Just look at the Royal Square. Biggest waste of space on Jersey. Let's see if they allow more the 3 to 6 seats in the up and coming so called alfresco area.
Posted by William Boyd on
Well said Mr Jewell. Our, and all other governments are in thrall to the well organised green lobby, ably assisted by the scaremongering media. Broad St will never re-open. It is another blow in the relentless attack on the motor car. The greens will have us back to the pre Industrial Age. Along with that comes bankruptcy, no jobs (they won't stop after they have banned cars, commerce is next), therefore no taxes being paid and no money to pay for services, including the health service. We can't say we were not warned. Wake up before they ruin life as we know it. It's OK saying "hasn't the lockdown been wonderful?" Yeah, but not for ever, that way lies penury.
Posted by nigel pearce on
Absolutely correct, Mr. Jewell, this is nothing to do with the wellbeing of people, more a chance to push through the agenda of the anti-car lobby, (Mr. Crowcroft, Geraint Jennings and other cycling fanatics). I read that this closure will not apply to cyclists for some reason. Years ago they wanted to close Halkett Place to traffic. The town will end up as deserted as New Street, once a thriving street, has become since they closed it to traffic.
Posted by Keith Marsh on
Lets be honest here, Broad Street has been under threat of closure for years, now with The States of Jersey Offices there, it is an ideal reason for this to happen. Its got NOTHING to do with Covid-19, just politics
Posted by John Henwood on
Another closure by stealth. Unless we stop accepting this sort of action the covert plan to make the whole of central St Helier pedestrian only will continue to creep forward. Be in no doubt, there are those who don't see this closure of Broad Street as a temporary measure and businesses in town are right to resist. Not for the first time the reason for so-called "temporary" pedestrianising - on this occasion allegedly for "better social distancing" - is wholly disingenuous.
Posted by Michael Tostevin on
I know that we have no visitors to the Island at this time but when we do, taxis will need to get access to the Premier Inn Hotel at Charing Cross to drop off and pick up passengers with their luggage.
Posted by Valerie Payne on
The 2 buses that stop on Broad street usually fill up with people who have been shopping, particularly the elderly who cannot walk to the bus station . The number 19 also serves the general hospital & Overdale. It is a ridiculous idea that will cause traffic jams around the town. This should have gone out for public consultation .
Posted by Valerie Payne on
The 2 buses that stop on Broad street usually fill up with people who have been shopping, particularly the elderly who cannot walk to the bus station . The number 19 also serves the general hospital & Overdale. It is a ridiculous idea that will cause traffic jams around the town. This should have gone out for public consultation .
Posted by Jon Jon on
Totally agree with him, why shut this street off? There is no way pedestrians will be fighting down King Street wanting to get into shops at this current moment, using this as a reason by Lewis is pathetic.Closing that street will cause more problems than it solves,Crowcroft must be jumping for joy over this plus the green parade, his way would be ban the car ,everyone on bikes, well ,considering many cyclists don't know the Highway Code ,I'd suggest a bike test, followed by a tax on bikes, followed by compulsory insurance.St Helier needs to attract customers in to town especially at this time ,myself like others will stay online, buy online and shopkeepers ,when you go under blame not the consumers but this feeble government .
Posted by Gary le blond on
Stupid idea, deliveries between 7am and 11am???????? the mail plane lands at 10am and freight boat is often late. More pollution as to get to de gruchy or romerils or M&S you have to go around the one way system to get passed Cyril Le Marquand house to access these places.
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