Fears that infill of Belle Greve could be back on the agenda
THE spectre of filling in Belle Greve Bay has been raised again, after States members agreed to establish a new board of experts to come up with plans for the island’s eastern seafront and ports.
All seven of the options put forward by the States’ Trading & Supervisory Board were rejected, including the preferred option of building a new harbour at Longue Hougue.
After the debate, Peter Roffey, the president of the STSB, said it was very disappointing and a classic case of kicking the can down the road.
He doubted whether the new group of ‘business gurus’ would come up with anything new, and he feared that the focus would be on maximising commercial opportunities for the mega wealthy, rather than for the good of Guernsey.
‘I do worry that if the membership isn’t correct, if it’s too entrepreneur and venture capital orientated, they will come up with things that really are unacceptable to the people of Guernsey.
‘For instance I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see proposals to yet again reclaim Belle Greve Bay, or partially reclaim, or enclose, or turn it into a lagoon, which I think is a red line for the people, so I hope we haven’t sent them down a cul de sac.’
This is not the first time that proposed big capital projects in Guernsey have sunk, but in this instance Deputy Roffey said they had received a lot of support
‘We were getting really supportive comments from the business community, we were getting really supportive comments from the douzaines along the east coast, Vale, St Sampson’s and St Peter Port, we were getting really positive feedback at all of our drop-in sessions.
‘So I think on this instance the community were willing to contemplate something big and were even quite excited about it, but the decision-makers just didn’t seem up to showing that level of vision.’
Deputy Charles Parkinson, the vice president of STSB, was also left feeling frustrated after the debate.
He said it set a disheartening tone for the political term, because States members could not make an important decision.
‘Disappointed would be one way of looking at it, sadly I’m not disappointed in the sense that I didn’t expect much better.
‘This is clearly not going to be a States of action, it’s a States of vacillation and indecision, and it’s got off on the wrong foot, but that’s the character of the Assembly.’
Not only disappointed by the debate, Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller was also ‘alarmed’ and ‘astonished’ by it.
She said it was ‘disingenuous’ of Deputies Helyar and Ferbrache to have hailed their compromise motion as an example of the senior committee listening and wanting to work together, when they turned their back on it a day later.
In her eyes it was a power grab.
‘What kind of leadership does this show from the senior committee? How about trust?
‘This was not a good day for the States of Guernsey. It was not a good day for democracy. It raises the question of any value of debate or democratic engagement.
‘The debate on harbours was nothing about the harbours themselves. It was all about the control to take the next steps.
‘P&R could have spared us two wasted days if they were honest about their intentions.’
How they voted ...
... on the proposition to set up a development and regeneration board to consider the harbours (and report back by December 2022):
FOR: Deputies Marc Leadbeater, David Mahoney, Aidan Matthews, Liam McKenna, Carl Meerveld, Nick Moakes, Victoria Oliver, Charles Parkinson, Rob Prow, Heidi Soulsby, Gavin St Pier, Andrew Taylor, Lyndon Trott, Simon Vermeulen, Chris Blin, Andy Cameron, Andrea Dudley-Owen, John Dyke, Peter Ferbrache, John Gollop, Sam Haskins, Mark Helyar, Neil Inder and Chris Le Tissier. Total: 24
AGAINST: Deputies Lester Queripel, Peter Roffey, Al Brouard, Tina Bury, David De Lisle, Lindsay de Sausmarez, Simon Fairclough, Adrian Gabriel, Sasha Kazantseva-Miller. Total: 9
ABSTAINED: Deputy Steve Falla.
ABSENT: Deputies Jonathan Le Tocq, Bob Murray, Susan Aldwell, Yvonne Burford, and Alderney representatives Steve Roberts and Alex Snowdon.