Protect WW2 bunkers, say Jerbourg residents

JERBOURG residents have joined the call to see Second World War sites get better protection.

The bunker at Jerbourg that was the subject of a planning application to convert the site into a dwelling. The plans were rejected. (Picture By Peter Frankland, 30241249)
The bunker at Jerbourg that was the subject of a planning application to convert the site into a dwelling. The plans were rejected. (Picture By Peter Frankland, 30241249)

An application to turn a bunker there into a house was rejected due to its impact on the area.

But it has also provoked debate on how these structures should be protected.

While there are plans to add them to the protected building register, that has not happened yet, meaning they are treated as disused buildings by Planning.

The Jerbourg plans drew 57 objections.

Janine Le Sauvage has been in touch with area residents and is calling for sites to be protected. She said slave workers could have died at the Jerbourg bunker.

‘We believe those bunkers are war graves,’ she said, after a Jerbourg resident’s mother said she had seen Russian prisoners of war marching up and down the road each day.

‘They would count them on the way there and there were less on the way back.

‘Whether you love or hate the bunkers, it’s important they should be preserved. It’s a part of our history and we need to respect it.’

Jerbourg resident Jane Stevens said the historical reminders were significant to her, because her father was evacuated as a child.

‘It’s part of our heritage. It’s important people never forget.’

She added that recent developments were impacting on Guernsey’s environment.

‘There are a lot of new buildings going up and gradually the landscape is beginning to change.’

Another local to the area, Greg Archer, said the bunker was part of Guernsey’s history, and raised concerns about where the line would be drawn if planning had been approved.

‘If you say yes, then you’ve opened up the floodgates – you just can’t do it,’ he said.

‘Everyone will want one and it sets a precedent.’

Lee Falla said allowing the development was probably not a good idea.

‘To retain our heritage, I don’t think we should get rid of, remove or disguise them. People shouldn’t be profiting from it.’

The bunkers were also good for tourism, allowing more people to learn about the island’s history, he said.

James Ogier said he did not have a strong opinion on the subject.

‘I’m not really bothered, but it would be nice to keep the bunkers, depending on where they are.’

Festung Guernsey project coordinator Paul Bougaize said islanders had welcomed the planning rejection and hoped action would be taken to protect significant sites.

‘It’s about making sure the bunkers that need protection get the protection they deserve.

‘It’s been a very long time coming, but there is a trend of looking for redundant buildings on agricultural land, which is concerning for us.’

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