Amendment seeks to drive traffic away from seafront
INVESTIGATING the removal of traffic from the seafront in the heart of St Peter Port – through an underpass for example – could become one of the tasks of a proposed new development agency.
Environment & Infrastructure president Lindsay de Sausmarez has tabled a late amendment to the development agency proposals, due to be discussed this week.
Critically, she said that she understood that Policy & Resources was supportive of her amendment, with its vice-president, Deputy Heidi Soulsby, seconding it.
Deputy de Sausmarez’s amendment seeks to direct the agency to investigate, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, the opportunities of taking through-traffic off the surface level of the road between the South Esplanade and the North Beach roundabout – or whichever points along the stretch of seafront through St Peter Port that the agency considers more appropriate.
It also seeks to direct the agency to identify the ‘most viable option to realise greater potential economic, social, and environmental benefits in this area of the public realm’.
Furthermore, it seeks to direct the Development & Planning Authority to take this objective into account when developing the local planning brief for the St Peter Port Harbour action area.
Deputy de Sausmarez said the amendment was not prescriptive as to how that might best be achieved.
‘This concept is already explored and supported in the St Peter Port regeneration areas development framework, which uses case studies of successful waterfront regeneration to illustrate the possibilities of taking a similar approach in Guernsey.’
She said her amendment should be seen in the context of the policy letter recommending that the eastern seaboard regeneration project be led by a new development agency.
‘The policy letter underlines a very high-level strategic approach. At the moment there isn’t a particularly focused strategic direction given to the development agency and the States may not have that opportunity to put that strategic direction in place.
‘So, this is an opportunity that I don’t think we can miss if we want to give the development agency a clearer steer.’
She said that beautiful harbour and waterfront were constrained by the existing thoroughfare.
‘If you take traffic out it releases that land to be used and re-imagined in a number of ways. It is a potential game-changer.’
She felt creating more open and green space, as well as opportunities for recreation and socialising, was the right way to go.
There could also be commercial opportunities and returns on investment, although Deputy de Sausmarez stressed that it went beyond that to social and environmental returns – such as improving air quality, the aesthetics of the area and flexibility in terms of using the space as well as reducing traffic noise.
Other potential ideas could, for example, be a park and a playground on one of the piers in Town, she said.
Speaking personally, Deputy de Sausmarez also said she was in favour of looking into the possibility of an electric tram to improve access.
n In preparing her proposal, Deputy de Sausmarez undertook consultation with members of P&R and the DPA.
The views of both E&I and the DPA as expressed in the planning process around the regeneration areas have also been taken into account.