Co-op asks for £8m. to start on Leale’s Yard
THE Channel Islands Co-op wants £8m. of public money to progress the regeneration of Leale’s Yard.
It has made an approach to the States for a multi-million pound subsidy to establish roads and basic infrastructure at the site, sparking a backlash from some politicians.
Vale deputy Neil Inder said it was an appalling let-down by the Co-op and he urged his fellow deputies to have nothing to do with it.
‘It was a wholesale yard with chemicals, asbestos – God knows what is in that ground. To clear that site, I suspect, is going to cost us absolutely millions, no wonder the Co-op wants to hand it to the States of Guernsey because we will spend millions on another dream, another nightmare, another hallucination.’
Deputy Inder predicted that the States would be left with a ‘sink hole’ by bailing out the Co-op and he was worried about the precedent that could be set for other developers.
‘If the Co-op has made a horrible mistake, which I suspect that they have, they are quite capable of working, once this has lapsed, back with the planning officers and carving it up a different way.
‘Why is this being given to Guernsey? It’s being given to Guernsey because they bought it for sub-£4m. it’s on their books for £12m. and they want us to sort it out.’
Most deputies who spoke were in agreement, Deputy Mary Lowe made it plain that she would not be getting the tissues out for the Co-op.
Deputy David de Lisle said it was not proper for £8m. of taxpayers’ money to go into the enterprise.
‘The States should not be involved in financial support when the developer is not wanting to take the risk.’
Instead of new shops and homes, Deputy Peter Ferbrache hoped that the area could be parkland.
‘My own view would be that the only thing you can do is turn it into a nice parkland in due course, that would be the best use of that particular land, a people’s park as Deputy Brehaut said, that would be a practical use and that might not cost the States £30m. because you could probably live with the pollution to a degree.’
The Assembly passed an amendment calling for a policy letter to be produced by April 2020 to kick-start work.
The Co-op is expected to comment next week.