Guernsey Press

Bridge could be ‘jewel in the crown' of east coast

St Sampson's Harbour and the Bridge could be the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of any development of the island’s east coast, according to the individuals driving the project.

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Peter Watson, chairman of the Guernsey Development Agency, is excited by potential for the Bridge among its plans for east coast regeneration. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 32788269)

The island’s ‘second town’ has always been a poor relation to St Peter Port, which is often promoted as Guernsey's ‘Jewel in the Crown’, but now Peter Watson, chairman of the Guernsey Development Agency, thinks that the Bridge and wider area could be the most exciting transformation of all its plans for the east coast.

‘St Sampson’s could be the real jewel in the crown,’ he told an Institute of Directors presentation.

He admitted that the entirety of the project was ‘complex’, probably the most challenging of all the east coast sites it could work on, and would be at least a 20-year vision, with the need to remove petrol and heavy fuel oil unloading on South Side and the associated ‘blast zone’, and the intent to stop sand and cement deliveries at North Side. But the end result could be more housing in the area, a bridge across the harbour, and outdoor dining and minimal traffic on the Bridge itself.

The creation of a permanent marina, particularly targeted for non-residents with large yachts to keep them in the island, free of VAT or GST, would be supported by the concentration of marine activities and industry at Longue Hougue in a ‘centre of marine excellence’.

Abraham’s Bosom on North Side could be the site of a ‘stunning restaurant’, there is demand for more use of Vale Castle, potentially as an events and wedding venue, and at least some of the power station could also move the way of Longue Hougue, to accommodate more housing.

‘We need a clear plan,’ Mr Watson said. ‘Fortunately we’re not up for election, so we don’t have to worry too much about what we say, as long as we can take the majority with us.’

The GDA published a survey last week encouraging public feedback on what could be done for the two harbour areas. Mr Watson said that within four days more than 700 responses had been received, while the directors of the GDA had met more than 80 stakeholder groups in recent times.

‘We really welcome all the input we can get,’ said Mr Watson. ‘We’ve already had some good ideas. If you feel strongly about something put it in.

‘We are a listening agency and are trying to listen to everybody, and then we can show the deputies that this is wanted by the people of Guernsey, for Guernsey.’