Little interest from States in new plans for Frossard houses

A CONCEPT design for potential new homes on the site of Sir Charles Frossard House car park has been prepared by local architects PF+A – but these plans are very unlikely to be built.

The company’s designs feature a block of about 60 units of accommodation which would include affordable housing and homes for key workers, as well as retail outlets on the ground floor.

‘It includes building upon the existing car park but retaining it and converting it into an interchange hub,’ said PF+A director Alex Whitmore.

This would be designed to encourage the use of sustainable transport, such as bikes and electric cars, as well as provide safe walking routes and shuttle services into Town and the hospital.

The design was unveiled after the Guernsey Housing Association confirmed it would be looking to double the number of key worker dwellings to 54 on a Charroterie site just down the road as there was such a desperate need for key worker housing.

Mr Whitmore said his team had thought about the design carefully.

‘We tried to be sympathetic with the design and have broken it up,’ he said, with elements such as an open atrium enabling views through the building, and allowing light through to the core.

The company was inspired to come up with its ideas after the potential use of the site for accommodation was raised by Deputy Peter Roffey about a year ago. He suggested that 90 units of accommodation could be built, and at about the same time Environment & Infrastructure president Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez called the area ‘a criminal waste of space’.

‘It struck a note with us because we really thought there’s an opportunity here,’ said Mr Whitmore.

PF+A presented its ideas to States Property Services. The firm said officers liked what they saw but did not discuss taking matters any further.

‘They were really delighted with what we’d come up with and they thought it was great and really exciting, but they didn’t really say they could do much about it. They didn’t think of it as a priority, which was a bit disappointing.’

The architects offered to give their presentation to other States departments, but none took this up.

If it was ever given the go-ahead the structure would be modular and built off-site with consideration given to being able to dismantle it and re-use the materials when it reached the end of its life.

Deputy Roffey said the concept for the site was one of two sets of plans he had seen by different local architects and he was impressed with them.

‘Obviously architects think it’s a good idea and that gives me some comfort,’ he said.

‘I think it’s just a wasted space at the moment. To me, it’s an absolute no brainer and I’d like to see it given more priority.’

It was an area in the island where high buildings could be created without having too much negative visual impact, he said.

But his ideas would extend beyond just the car park and he said he would like to see the States move out of Frossard House, perhaps to the so-called data park site in St Sampson’s, leaving the whole Charroterie site free for more housing.

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