Guernsey Press

‘States of action’ needs to take tough decision

IF THE States wants to be seen as an Assembly of action, then it should agree in principle to use Longue Hougue south for a new port facility as part of plans to create a development agency, States’ Trading Supervisory Board president Peter Roffey has said.

A 3D representation of the States' Trading Supervisory Board's preferred option for the harbour redevelopment at Longue Hougue south which its president and vice-president are trying to put back on the table.

He has submitted an amendment to the development agency proposals at this week’s States meeting, on behalf of STSB, to try to move the harbour plans forward.

Last summer STSB was frustrated after detailed analysis of the island’s harbour requirements, which included the concept of a new, multi-million pound harbour, was dismissed by the States in favour of a more detailed look at a development agency.

Deputy Roffey said the investigations for that policy letter cost £740,000 and took 18 months to complete.

He said that the amendment would prevent all that work being done again.

‘We want to save time,’ he said.

If the States agrees to establish a development and regeneration board, which will progress future development of the seafront enhancement area, it will require planning briefs for the harbour areas, which cannot be drawn up by the Development & Planning Authority without clear direction from the States.

Deputy Roffey said the States must give that direction now to stop more delays.

‘What we are asking the States to consider is taking an in-principle decision to go with what came out of our lengthy and expensive investigation,’ he said.

Accepting the STSB options for development of a new port at Longue Hougue south would give some direction and keep other options open, he said.

The port could be used for fuel and some freight, or for fuel, freight and international passengers. Both options would reduce pressures on harbours at St Peter Port and St Sampson’s, and their futures could be reassessed. But only last June deputies rejected the plans and the £360m. price tag.

‘It’s going to be a difficult sell, because it is a big decision,’ Deputy Roffey admitted.

‘Some people might not think we need more commercial ports facilities, but they are wrong. The ports are under enormous pressure now.’

He was also concerned some members would want to look at extending St Peter Port to the east.

‘That would be prohibitively expensive. I think some other people think there may be another option out there, if we keep looking. But we spent nearly £800,000 and I think it is unlikely there will be another possible solution.

‘That is what I’m hoping to persuade the States. This is the time to make a big decision. They wanted to be a “States of action”.

'But unless they make difficult decisions like this, that action won’t follow.’

Longue Hougue south has been earmarked for inert waste, but the idea has caused great controversy over concerns about the loss of coastline and habitats.

‘It would be better to use it for something constructive, like a commercial quay, rather than just reclaimed land. I know this might be a red line for some people. I like walking around Longue House south too. But the island depends on commercial shipping,’ Deputy Roffey said.

Policy & Resources’ policy letter now faces nine amendments, some of which are not expected to be contested.