New development agency tasked with exploring tunnel idea
An underpass beneath the harbour between Albert Pier and North Beach roundabout will be an issue that a new States-owned, arms-length development agency should consider when it starts its work, deputies decided yesterday.
Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez’s motion was successful by 22 votes to 11, although she was disappointed about the public and media focus on a tunnel when her main desire, she said, was to explore other uses for the seafront along the Quay, and to take through traffic off the surface level of the road. The amendment was deliberately not prescriptive about how that might be best achieved.
While there has been some support for that ambition, there has also been widespread public criticism of the tunnel idea, particularly on grounds of cost and practicality.
Deputy de Sausmarez said she was concerned at the negative message that would be sent out if the States refused to consider turning the sea-front car free.
‘This is perfectly within the remit [of the development agency] and something they can do,’ she said.
She was confident about the economic benefit this could bring to town businesses.
Listen our 'Six-minute States' round-up plus an interview with Deputy de Sausmarez on her successful amendment
Deputy Steve Falla was among those supportive of considering options for the sea front.
‘We are looking at an opportunity that’s too good to be missed to free up a very nice part of our seafront,’ he said.
But Deputy David De Lisle said the move was 'foolhardy'.
'A tunnel through the front would destroy the historical integrity of the Town that’s been laid out for hundreds of years.’
The positive mood which enthused the States to approve the amendment was also reflected in the debate and final vote to set up the agency, approved 26 votes to nine.
Policy & Resources president Deputy Peter Ferbrache pushed for the development agency to be approved.
It was an opportunity to ‘reach for the stars’, he said.