Guernsey Press

‘Stupid idea’ of Longue Hougue harbour thrown out by deputies

PLANS to investigate building a new port at Longue Hougue and expand marine leisure facilities in St Peter Port and St Sampson’s have been thrown out, after States members were told that it was a ‘stupid idea’.

A 3D representation of STSB’s preferred option for the harbour redevelopment, a new facility south of the Longue Hougue land reclamation site, but deputies rejected it. (Image supplied by STSB and Guernsey Ports)

Instead deputies agreed to set up a new panel of experts, called the Development and Regeneration Board, in order to consider more holistically an overhaul of the harbours and eastern seafront.

Deputy Neil Inder led the charge against the £361m. preferred option of the States’ Trading & Supervisory Board.

He said experienced mariners had told him that Longue Hougue was a dangerous location for a port because of rocky outcrops, the tides, winds and current.

‘Only four people out of seven billion on the planet are certified to take expensive fuels into our harbour and not hit the quay, not run onto the rocks, not turn the boat upside down, not have it drifting to Alderney.’

Another salutary tale came from Deputy Carl Meerveld, who used the example of the island of St Helena where a £285m. airport was built, and on completion only certain types of aircraft could land because of the wind.

‘What about ocean currents and tides?’ asked Deputy Meerveld.

Deputy Andrew Taylor, who called the Longue Hougue plan 'a stupid idea'. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29673415)

Deputy Andrew Taylor said he was not convinced that St Sampson’s could become the ‘St Tropez of the Channel Islands’.

He did not believe that the island needed a massive new harbour, and called it a stupid idea.

‘The real people who are kicking the can down the road are the ones that want a £4m. investigation into what is a massive waste of time.’

Deputy Taylor’s speech was followed with applause, and Deputy Bailiff Jessica Rowland tut-tutted that she did not encourage clapping.

Deputy Peter Ferbrache explained why a day earlier Policy & Resources had been advocating a twin track approach which kept STSB’s plans alive, but at the final hurdle they were urging members to vote against them.

‘We wanted everybody to debate everything.’

Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller was disappointed with what she called delay and delegation.

‘It’s another body of experts, who are going to be coming back with decisions, doing exactly the same as what we’ve been discussing today.’

Sensing that the tide was turning against him, States’ Trading Supervisory Board president Deputy Peter Roffey, who took the proposal to the States, made a last ditch attempt to persuade members to back his committee.

‘It is time to decide whether we have the courage and the vision to show confidence in this island’s future, to invest in our island so that private investors can see that we at least have confidence in where our community is going.’

The vote on the main proposal was defeated by 21 votes to 13.