St Sampson’s douzenier Leonie Le Tissier and Vale constable Richard Leale were responding to the States’ Trading Supervisory Board's proposals to modernise the ports.
The preferred development, out of seven potential options, is to build a new harbour at Longue Hougue south, primarily for bulk freight and fuel.
Commercial activities would be largely removed from St Sampson’s Harbour, converting it solely for use by the leisure sector, and opening opportunities for the regeneration of St Sampson’s as a ‘true second town’.
Essential repairs would be carried out to both harbours with an opportunity to extend the non-maritime leisure facilities within St Peter Port, using land released as a result of some harbour operations being reconfigured, which is likely to include a new passenger ferry terminal, repositioning the Border Agency control point and providing a multi-storey car park at North Beach.
St Sampson’s Harbour and the Bridge spans both northern parishes, and officials from Vale and St Sampson’s have been engaged in discussions with Ports and STSB.
Having had a short time to talk to their colleagues in the douzaines, they realised the potential for improvements at the Bridge that a new port could create.
Describing the proposals as a fantastic opportunity for regenerating the whole Bridge area, Mr Leale said: ‘The knock-on benefits that will stem from a new harbour will benefit people who live around here and means we could avoid unsightly flood defences if the harbour has gates put in.’
Mrs Le Tissier agreed, adding: ‘It could get the Bridge back to being an area that people want to visit, especially if there is development on land with more shops or restaurants.’
They believed St Sampson’s Harbour was under-utilised at the moment and it was rare that much commercial activity took place anyway
‘Harbours do make money. They have in the past,’ Mr Leale said.
‘It wasn’t long ago that the surplus from the harbours was used to offset the deficit at the airport.
‘We now just need the States to get on with it.’
Condor CEO welcomes proposals
INVESTMENT in Guernsey's harbour infrastructure is critical, Condor Ferries’ CEO has said.
Paul Luxon’s comments follow the States’ Trading Supervisory Board going public with its proposals to transform the sea ports, recommending that politicians support an investment of around £350m.
The expenditure would see a new port for freight constructed south of Longue Hougue, commercial activity taken out of St Sampson’s Harbour and damage at the current ports repaired.
Condor has been involved in the consultation process for about two years, contributing at both operational and strategic levels.
As the largest commercial operator at the harbour, whose services date back 70 years, the company understands the challenges presented by the existing infrastructure.
‘The area known as the “restricted zone” [behind the metal gates where the public cannot go], for example, is small and confined,’ Mr Luxon said.
‘It functions thanks to the partnership approach of harbour users but is less than optimal.’
A key challenge is, therefore, to improve not only the visual appearance of the facilities in St Peter Port, but its functionality for commercial port users.
‘Investment in the harbour infrastructure, which has been delayed, is both necessary and critical,’ he said.
‘We therefore welcome the collaborative approach from STSB and Guernsey Harbours and the recognition of a real need for change and future-proof the port.’
Preferred options for the harbours
FOLLOWING in-depth surveys and reports, 15 options for improvement and regeneration were identified.
These were sorted into seven combinations, ranked in order of preference and suitability, with a percentage score and forecast costings outlined.
This is the order given by the STSB and Guernsey Ports:
Combination 5, £361m, 78%
Construct a new northern port for some freight and fuel.
This would see operations reconfigured within the White Rock and North Beach areas.
A new northern port would be built at Longue Hougue south, primarily for unitised, bulk and liquid (fuel) freight, freeing up space within both existing harbours.
St Sampson’s would be converted to a leisure-only facility, and essential repairs carried out while improvements would be made to the leisure sector offering in St Peter Port.
Combination 7, £706m, 76%
Extend St Peter Port Harbour eastwards and construct a new northern port for some freight and fuel.
This would see a new port established to the east of the QEII Marina, primarily for international passengers and unitised freight. A new northern port would also be constructed for unitised, bulk and liquid freight, freeing up space within both existing harbours.
St Sampson’s would be converted to leisure only and improvements would be made to the leisure sector offering in St Peter Port. Essential repairs would be carried out to the current harbours.
Combination 6, £354m, 75%
Construct a new northern port for all freight, fuel and international passengers.
A new northern port would be built, primarily for international passengers, trailered, unitised, bulk and liquid (fuel) freight, freeing up space in both existing harbours.
This would see cruise ship passengers disembark at Longue Hougue south, and St Sampson’s Harbour converted to leisure only.
The leisure sector offering in St Peter Port would be improved and essential repairs would be carried out at the harbours.
Combination 4, £514m, 70%
Extend St Peter Port Harbour eastwards and construct a new bulk fuel import facility.
This would involve building a new port east of the QEII Marina, primarily for international passengers, unitised and bulk solid freight cargo.
A new bulk fuel import facility in the north could also be provided if required, freeing up space within both existing harbours.
St Sampson’s Harbour would be converted to leisure only.
As with other combinations, it would see improvements to the leisure sector offering in St Peter Port and essential repairs being carried out to the current harbours.
Combination 3, £460m. 65%
Extend St Peter Port Harbour eastwards.
Constructing a new port east of the QEII Marina was seen as another potential option.
It would be primarily for international passengers and unitised freight, freeing up space within the existing St Peter Port Harbour.
This would also involve improving the leisure offering in St Peter Port and carrying out essential repairs to the current harbours.
Combination 2, £ 115m, 56%
Reconfigure St Peter Port Harbour.
This would look at optimising the layout of St Peter Port harbour to meet forecast requirements of the port and improve efficiency and security.
Reconfiguring operations in St Peter Port within the White Rock and North Beach areas were looked at, as well as improving the leisure offering in St Peter Port and carrying out essential repairs to the current harbours.
Combination 1, £37m, 36%
This is seen as the default position and was referred to as the ‘do nothing’ option. It would mean improving the leisure offering in St Peter Port and carrying out essential repairs to the current harbour.
However, it was reported in a spatial requirements study carried out by the company Jacobs that minimal changes would not meet the future harbour needs.