Friends and followers of Save Our Shoreline Jersey may be aware that for some time we have been working hard to try to save this section of the Town Heritage Sea Wall and Promenade from imminent destruction. The plans before the Minister require its destruction for the sole purpose of providing additional office space to be added on to the first of six blocks for the Finance Sector, to be built on what is now the Esplanade car park. A link to that development can be viewed in our October 2012 edition here.
We have now had confirmation from the Planning Department, that they accept that our first formal submission and objection dated 8th October 2012 was ‘not logged’ and apologise for this and for failing to invite us to their presentation, and as the Planning Application is still ‘live’ the Environment Minister has agreed to meet with us and our team and also with the Applicant, the CEO of the States of Jersey Development Company, so that we can put our case and proposal to save this Historic and valuable part of our Heritage.
We welcome this initiative by the Department but would stress that we do not see it as a box ticking ‘procedural exercise – it is a real chance for the Environment Minister and his team to work with us and others constructively to save a valuable and much loved piece of our Heritage without compromising the overall development, much as we dislike it. In the picture above, this section of sea wall and promenade would be destroyed by the enlarged ‘footprint’ of the office block previously pictured.
The original plan approved by the States in 2008 did in fact feature and expose the wall and leave the natural curve of the promenade and a ‘sight line’ of the abattoir arch. There was indeed public consultation, and even though the public didn’t express enthusiasm for the development, they were at least assured that the sea wall would be featured (much as the old granite abattoir arch was retained and incorporated as a facade for the Tourism Building).
In 2011 an amendment to accommodate the additional ‘office space’ required by the then Waterfront Enterprise Board, was made by the last Planning and Environment Minister, Freddie Cohen. It was a very brief amendment, presented to the States on one side of A4 paper. It contained no mention whatsoever of the Heritage sea wall and it did not go out to any form of consultation, or the realisation by States Members that in fact, this amendment would result in the destruction of the sea wall. The sea wall was not mentioned at all in the document.
The new building (Building no 4) that is the subject of our objection is shown on the 2007 plan (below left pic) as building 6. It is in the same position but follows the curve of the sea wall and promenade so that the end of the promenade attractively lines up with the old abattoir arch now integrated with the Tourism Building.
If you then look at the revised 2011 Masterplan (above right), the same building is shown (now referred to as ‘Building 4’) but this time it is square and knocks out the last Town section of sea wall and promenade.
Then look at the SoJDC’s full plan of what they wish to do if Building 4 goes ahead. You will see that building no 5 has been rounded off to the south to follow the roundabout. So how can they argue that they are just following the ‘Masterplan’? Because they are not. They are altering ‘it on the hoof.’
The SoJDC could, with a little good will, do the same thing to Building 4 and retain the Heritage sea wall and promenade and the pleasant vista that people like as they walk along it and see the old granite arch which leads into the Tourism building. The public will still hate the buildings but at least the development will have been ‘softened’ and our Heritage sea wall saved.