Guernsey Press

‘No action on development of ports this political term’

Scrutiny president Yvonne Burford thinks States dithering ‘will eat up an entire political term’ without agreement being reached on the future of the island’s harbours.

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Scrutiny president Deputy Yvonne Burford. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 31929674)

The Assembly has twice rejected a £360m. plan from the States’ Trading Supervisory Board for extensive development at the ports in St Sampson’s and St Peter Port.

In 2021, Policy & Resources seized control of harbour planning. In April 2022 P&R secured deputies’ permission to draft proposals for future harbour developments.

It emerged this week that P&R has no idea when it will finalise its proposals or take them to the States.

‘I cannot give you a definite date,’ said P&R president Peter Ferbrache at a Scrutiny public hearing.

‘We will be bringing it back. As often happens, it has taken longer than perhaps was intended. It is not immediate, no.’

  • Podcast: Listen to the latest Guernsey Press Politics Podcast with Deputy Yvonne Burford and Deputy Carl Meerveld

Deputy Ferbrache said it was too early to know whether P&R’s proposals would differ from STSB’s previous plans.

Once the States has agreed the future of the harbours, the Development & Planning Authority will need to draw up local planning briefs, which is expected to take a further 18 months.

‘We’ve got just over two years to go [of this term]. It doesn’t take much to work out that process is unlikely to be completed in two years,’ Deputy Burford told a Guernsey Press Politics Podcast.

‘This has eaten up and will eat up an entire political term before anybody thinks of drawing up plans about where we might be going. I think it’s a mess really.’

Deputy Ferbrache encouraged the DPA to start work on local planning briefs and rejected claims there would be no meaningful progress before the term ends in June 2025.

‘We were very much urging the DPA to get on with the local planning briefs, because there is nothing to stop it getting on with them now,’ he said.

‘I think it would be unduly pessimistic to say that something won’t come back in the next two years.’

DPA president Victoria Oliver said the time required for local planning briefs remained unchanged.

‘As resolved by the States last year, the DPA is required to complete the local planning briefs within 18 months of a decision of the States which provides direction as to the future development of commercial port infrastructure,’ said Deputy Oliver.

‘This was, and remains, the anticipated time-frame for the drafting of local planning briefs for the harbour action areas and the fulfilment of the required statutory processes.’

STSB president Peter Roffey said the States had so far ‘failed spectacularly’ to set out a strategic direction for the harbours since rejecting his committee’s plans.

‘My frustration stems from a feeling that we have failed to unlock huge potential, both within our existing commercial ports and on the land-side,’ said Deputy Roffey.