ESPLANADE DEVELOPMENT UPDATE: CORPORATE SERVICES SCRUTINY PANEL TO LAUNCH URGENT REVIEW.
Last week with your help, we distributed over 1,000 digital flyers explaining what is scheduled to happen on the Esplanade. This was followed by ten senior surveyors publicising that their concerns set out in comprehensive letter to the Chief Minister detailing why the development is a very bad idea for Jersey was ignored.
The photo of the article shown here details the concerns. Effectively:
1. The mixed development on the Waterfront promised by the last but one Planning Minister (Freddie Cohen) in 2008 and endorsed by the States…
2. …has been replaced for the next two decades by a single focus on offices specifically designed for the finance sector…
3. … offices that the States of Jersey Development Company are finding hard to pre-let for a variety of reasons.
As the surveyors point out, the social needs of our society for undeveloped Waterfront land (eg, affordable housing, and an urgently needed hospital on one site, not two) are ignored in the development.
The figures given by the JDSC of a £50 million profit are, even by their own calculations, not achievable until 2035 at the earliest, and until then it will be the taxpayer pumping in funding for the offices.
£13.2 million alone will be needed for the underground car park and that was miraculously found by the last Treasury Minister (Ozouf) whose financial finger must still firmly on the pulse. Senator Ozouf, who got re-elected by the skin of his teeth, is now Finance Minister, Digital Minister, and Assistant Chief Minister.
Although he now spends much of his time at the taxpayers’ expense in London and elsewhere (he last week gave a Skype interview for the Jersey Evening Post from his luxury suite overlooking Dubai) and does not have the nuisance of having to attend every States Sitting, one feels that the new Assistant Chief Minister could still be very influential, advising the CM to rebut the adverse views of many professionals including senior professional chartered surveyors and accountants.
We hope that the Review now scheduled to take place by the new Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel (CSSP) under the Chairmanship of Deputy John Le Fondre will be forceful and meaningful and the findings acted on and not put aside as is so often the case.
On this occasion the sheer size of the public deficit stretching ahead over two decades or more cannot surely be ignored even by the the most ‘party faithful’ in the States?