The Bridge site is often seen as a potential solution to the island’s housing problem, and Deputy Heidi Soulsby, the vice-president of Policy & Resources, has stated that there is government consensus on how to move forward.
The Co-op has been in discussions with the States over whether financial assistance could be offered to bring plans into reality.
Deputy Soulsby has written to the St Sampson’s douzaine in response to their open letter highlighting how the lack of an infrastructure plan is risking economic and environmental disaster in the north.
One of the douzaine’s main frustrations is that Leale’s Yard was zoned as a regeneration site 15 years ago, and the delay has restricted economic growth, hampered further development at the former Quayside premises and English & Guernsey pub, and has set back improvements to traffic flow, parking and lighting.
Deputy Soulsby’s letter states that there are multiple parties involved in Leale’s Yard and commercial decisions for developers and builders.
‘It is right that those discussions happen away from the public domain, but there is a determination from the Policy & Resources Committee to enable this development to go forward, and to play the right role – as government – in doing that.
‘It may well be that parties are advising the douzaine that nothing can happen until the taxpayer – through government – has put its hand in its pocket and taken the risk.
‘However, that is not the only solution, and, in any event, would need very careful consideration as to whether this was the best use of taxpayers’ money at this time.’
With regard to other infrastructure problems in the north, Deputy Soulsby has promised that this States will take a very different approach to these strategic issues.
‘We will be prepared to roll up our sleeves and take decisions, and enable the private sector as well as States’ trading entities to get on and get things done.’
Along with Leale’s Yard, the douzaine set out other issues on which parishioners feel let down, including traffic, urban and rural conservation, a possible increase of 1,400 new homes, coastal defences, oil and gas deliveries, and quarrying.
On the harbours infrastructure, coastal defences and quarrying, Deputy Soulsby outlined how these matters have been given priority status.