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£350m. plans for Belle Greve Bay

News | Published:

A £350m. project to dramatically redevelop the ‘archaic, inefficient and underused’ east coast has stalled after sitting with the States for over 18 months.

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Hydroport’s plans would see a tidal barrage spanning Belle Greve with a minimum of 70GW power generation, a purpose-built container port off Longue Hougue, cruise liner and super yacht berths, new land for homes and industry, and significant traffic reduction via a barrage road and ‘Gatwick-style’ monorail between St Sampson’s and St Peter Port.

However, directors are becoming frustrated at the lack of progress despite having provided the States with plans, drawing on at least five consultants, and agreements for financial backing ‘as good as secured’.

Hydroport’s proposals were submitted to the States in late 2017 and were met with support from some deputies. However, aside from intermittent correspondence and meetings, forward momentum has stalled.

While the States is keen to hear more about the proposals and assess economic viability, one director said: ‘The States do things at their own pace. We’ve got plans, expert consultants, we’ve got financial backing, we’ve got companies who want to invest – I don’t see what the problem is. It has been far too long since the island invested in infrastructural development, not since the QEII marina.’

Tomorrow, the States meets with part of the debate on the future of inert waste disposal likely to centre on whether to spend £1.45m. on investigating the future of St Peter Port and St Sampson’s harbours.

Past proposals for reclaiming parts of Belle Greve Bay sparked public protests in the early 1990s and in 2006.

A primary concern then, among others, was the irreversible damage to the marine biology in the area.

While those at Hydroport do not claim that development would come without disruption – the tidal nature of the lagoon will allow circulation of nutrients.

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It is believed that after the four-year development timeframe, within two or three years marine life would return to normal.

The tidal turbines, built and fitted by Norwegian company Tidetec, are also fish-friendly, allowing marine life to pass through unharmed.

Tidetec are based in Oslo and have stated that if at least 30% of the materials used are Norwegian sourced or built then it will invest a substantial proportion of the £350-400m. price tag.

Development aside, Hydroport have claimed they would secure the island’s flood risk areas for the foreseeable future as part of the project.

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A flood risk assessment study, undertaken in 2012 by Royal Haskoning, estimated correlation between spring tides and an easterly storm could leave the Saltpans area and low-lying parts of St Peter Port underwater.

Barriers would be constructed in St Peter Port and St Sampson’s harbours, which would control the flow of water preventing flooding risk to low-lying areas.

While this would assign both harbours to leisure purposes, Hydroport argues it would create new moorings for non-resident vessels and relieve pressures of industry from the 19th-century ports.

‘Other plans for the harbour like Deputy Inder’s requete to place inert waste off St Peter Port harbour would create strain on the port for years with lorry runs, much like when Lagan worked on the runway,’ said a Hydroport director.

‘Our proposal would see a development time of no more than four years; strain taken away from the Town area; much of the construction work prefabricated and floated to the island; and most of the rubble required taken from Belle Greve itself.’

Although drawings are being finalised, the port would sit on the south-eastern corner of Longue Hougue headland from which the barrage would run across the mouth of Belle Greve to near Salerie Corner.

Land would be reclaimed outwards from North Beach creating super yacht and cruise liner berths allowing the vessels to refuel, restock locally, and allow more passengers to visit the island.

The new port would have deep water berths, a 150m hydrocarbon refuel point, and space for services such as Brittany Ferries to dock, widening the scope for passenger services.

‘We have spoken with Elon Musk’s Tesla, they would be willing to provide batteries to install in the tidal barrage which would allow us to control the level of water in the tidal lagoon and allow us to store and export energy generated, with the environment at the forefront. We have connections to large ferry companies who would jump at the chance to open new routes. Basically we have a professionally compiled plan drawing on world-renowned experience in port generation who are willing to see the project to fruition. We know Jersey are seeking deep water berths because it realises the market being missed. If there is no progression then we may be forced to focus attention else where,’ said the Hydroport director.

Yves LeMarquand

By Yves LeMarquand
News reporter

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