Douzaine liaising with development agency over harbour development plans

Fri 15 Dec 2023

Parishioners have have seen this headline in the Guernsey Press earlier this week following a presentation by the Guernsey Development Agency and wondered whether the Vale Douzaine was aware of the vision being outlined for the Bridge area since the survey informing it is still in progress.

"I can reassure parishioners that the douzaine is very much in the loop on this," said Senior Constable Richard Leale, "and the directors of the GDA have already been to see us to outline substantially the same hopes for the Bridge and wider area.

"We have asked for further information and hope to arrange another meeting with the GDA in the next few weeks and will be saying more at that time."

He said many Vale douzeniers agreed with the GDA that St Sampson's Harbour and the Bridge could be the "Jewel in the Crown" of any development of the island’s east coast and looked forward to getting more information on how the transformation was to happen and over what timescale. 

The Guernsey Press article said the island’s "second town" had always been a poor relation to St Peter Port, which Mr Leale said was a rather unhelpful description. "You're not comparing like with like," he said, "but it is true that the Bridge area generally has lacked investment over the years and we have been pressing the authorities and Channel Islands Co-operative Society Ltd, as the biggest landowner, to redevelop Leale's Yard, which was key to many issues in the area.

Much change
He noted that after years of neglect, the north of the island was now facing considerable change and possibly in a short timescale.

"Outline planning exists for more than 1,000 new homes, including significant development in the Leale's Yard-Kenilworth Vinery-Data Park 'corridor' and elsewhere, commercial redevelopment at the old Quayside buildings and now the GDA vision of reducing traffic on the Bridge itself, increasing al fresco dining and possibly relocating the fuel and cement berths elsewhere.

"I'm not saying any of this is necessarily a bad thing but there's already a problem with infrastructure in the north, insufficient parking, overloaded junctions, too much traffic, and issues with public transport."

He hoped that while the plans for overdue investment in the area were being worked up, the States or the GDA would ensure that any development was progressed in a coordinated and joined up manner.

"Just as one example, flood defences are clearly an issue. Will these be addressed at a harbour mouth level or piecemeal via Leale's Yard and any other housing towards the west?" he asked. 

Joined up
"I don't think the douzaine wants to see anything slowed down – it's clear significant additional housing will be built here irrespective of the views of the north – but it does need to be a properly integrated package."

Mr Leale again urged people to take the time to have their say on the GDA survey, which is available here: gda.gg/news/take-our-survey/ 

Suggestions for the Bridge outlined by the GDA to the Institute of Directors:

  • The creation of a permanent marina targeted at non-residents with large yachts, supported by the concentration of marine activities and industry at Longue Hougue in a ‘centre of marine excellence’.
  • Abraham’s Bosom on North Side as the site of a ‘stunning restaurant’,
  • More use of Vale Castle, potentially as an events and wedding venue
  • Moving some of the power station to Longue Hougue, to free up space more housing.

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