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Make St Peter Port ‘less busy, rather than bigger’

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COMMERCIAL operations could be moved out of St Peter Port harbour and more space created for leisure facilities, if an amendment is accepted.

Two committee president want the States to spend £1.45m. investigating a number of options for the future of St Peter Port and St Sampson’s harbours, including reclaiming land near Longue Hougue for port operations, and new berth facilities for importing fuel. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 24665017)

The States are being asked to spend £1.45m. on investigating a number of options for the future of St Peter Port and St Sampson’s harbours, including extending the east arm of the QEII marina, reclaiming land near Longue Hougue for port operations, and new berth facilities for importing fuel.

The current set-up of both harbours has been criticised as out-of-date, cramped and rundown. St Peter Port harbour in particular has a severe shortage of space.

An amendment put forward by the respective presidents of the States’ Trading Supervisory Board and Committee for Economic Development, Peter Ferbrache and Charles Parkinson, counters a requete from Deputy Neil Inder and six other States members calling for inert waste to be used to reclaim land off the QEII marina.

While the report does not rule out Deputy Inder’s plan, it says it needs to be considered in a broader context.

‘The setting is undoubtedly of unique significance to Guernsey, on many levels, and would be significantly affected by such major changes to the current harbour environment.

‘Among other potential impacts, it would permanently and dramatically change the appearance of St Peter Port harbour.

‘Any such development would also cost many tens of millions, and would entail extensive and long-lasting disruption both to port operations and to other aspects of the island’s capital.

‘The matter therefore warrants due consideration of all the options.’

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Instead, the two presidents want to introduce the possibility of relocating freight operations to somewhere else, potentially in deep water near Longue Hougue.

‘This would improve port operations, and refocus activities at St Peter Port more toward leisure, social and recreational uses.

‘That would include facilities for inter-island passenger transport, a hub for private boat owners and associated marine leisure services, and transit arrangements for cruise passengers.

‘It would also continue to accommodate the island’s fishing fleet, which complements the port’s character.’

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The crux of the amendment’s suggestion is to make St Peter Port harbour ‘less busy, rather than bigger’.

‘This would alleviate the current conflict between commercial port operations and other users of St Peter Port harbour; release space in the heart of St Peter Port for other uses, including potential development opportunities; and offer potential to significantly enhance the area of the Bridge.’

Importing fuel to the island is seen as inextricably linked to the development of the harbours, especially as significant safety and security issues have been highlighted with the current method.

Resolving that problem is an important priority.

The report asks for £1.15m. to be given to the STSB to carry out a detailed analysis of future harbour requirements and an environmental impact assessment on future development east of the QEII marina.

It also asks for £300,000 to go to the Development & Planning Authority to prepare a development strategy.

The amendment proposers are confident that these strategies could breathe new life into the east coast. ‘Such development would secure inward investment and promote wider economic, social, and environmental objectives, while retaining and enhancing any unique aesthetic, cultural or heritage importance.’

The Seafront Enhancement Programme currently has lots of States committees working on it, and a development company could be used to allow for faster progress ‘without undue bureaucracy.’

Helen Bowditch

By Helen Bowditch
News reporter

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