Guernsey Press

‘Tunnel not only option for the Town sea front’

THE deputy responsible for driving through a possible tunnel for traffic along the Town sea front has urged the island to keep an open mind on progress of the project.

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Town sea front. (30681418)

Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez’s efforts to place such radical thinking on the agenda of the new development agency for east coast redevelopment, which the States agreed to set up last week, were backed by a two-to-one majority of deputies, despite considerable public reaction against a tunnel concept.

Deputy de Sausmarez said she was really pleased to see the support and urged the community to consider the opportunities of such a project.

She wants the agency to consider what it can do to make the sea front, especially the area from Albert Pier to the North Beach roundabout, traffic-free. A tunnel is one option, but not the only one, she said.

‘The amendment was not a prescriptive thing.

‘We haven’t just voted through any particular idea.

‘We’ve given a steer clear to the development agency to investigate some options around how we can potentially better use that amazing sea front.

‘It really is a magnificent setting and at the moment we’re quite constrained by how we use the stretch of land as a road.

‘If we find other ways of dealing with that, then we open up a world of possibility in terms of what we could do with it.

‘We’ve seen from successful regeneration projects in many other places, reimagining that space and instead of devoting it primarily to vehicle movements, you can make it really about people and you can open up a whole range of possibilities in terms of recreational activities, socialising, environmental possibilities, and public art.’

It can actually improve transport connectivity, and I very much hope that would be a big aspect of this proposal.

‘There’s so much that we could do. It’s got economic opportunity, it’s got social opportunity, it’s got environmental opportunity, and I’m really glad that the States has supported the idea of looking into all of that.’

Deputy de Sausmarez, also president of the Environment & Infrastructure Committee, said there were two realistic main options for traffic management – an underpass, or to use existing infrastructure and support that with mitigating measures.

‘That’s an approach that we know has been used in many other areas quite successfully and that would potentially, have a much less significant cost or price tag attached.

‘I would imagine that the development agency will assess those and any other options they think are viable and and do some cost benefit analysis and see which one they think is the one they want to recommend.’

She said the States vote was ‘a good start’ and she was optimistic on prospects.

‘We have given the development agency a clear steer that we want to be big, bold, ambitious, and that we’re not prepared to settle for mediocre.

‘We do want to actually enhance the island for future generations and make the most of our beautiful town. It’s very early days, we don’t know what, if anything, will come back as being recommended as viable. But it’s worth looking at, isn’t it?’