Guernsey Press

Don’t alter road at La Robergerie

I WISH very strongly to oppose any alterations to the narrow section of road at La Robergerie, St Sampson’s, as outlined in your recent presentation and map. I am a Guernsey resident, these last 63 years, though not at all in the area in question, and have been involved with island heritage and buildings for many years, my research embodied in The Guernsey House, published in 1980; Channel Island Churches, 1986; Channel Island Houses, 2015; have been for 30 years secretary of La Societe Guernesiaise’s Historic Buildings section; am a membre d’honneur of La Societe Jersiaise; fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London; member of Les Antiquaires de Normandie; life member of the British National Trust as well as of the local National Trust, etc.; and have been consultant on planning matters in local appeals and so forth.


n Firstly, there are numerous narrow lanes in all parts of the island, and the sight-lines along the narrow stretch of Robergerie Road eastwards from La Robergerie Farm up to the junction with Franc Fief Road (Rue Queripel) are a good deal better than in very many areas where islanders, when in their cars, have to use their customary patience and good humour – both of which, I observed, were much in evidence during the morning rush-hour this week. Widening it by re-aligning the northern side of this route would not be possible for its entire length, due to the presence of houses that would then have their doorways almost on the road; and in any case, the extension of the route eastwards along Brock Road would still be narrow, and the bends to the west dangerous. Moreover, since the land drops steeply away, considerable engineering work would be necessary, an informal edge to the road with good semi-rural views would be completely changed, and more roadside parking, as with the already widened parts nearby, would merely be more likely. To close the road would only deprive people of choice, pushing even more traffic onto other parts of the network in order to make frustratingly long detours to get to the same place. Such inefficient change to the present layout is completely unnecessary as well as being out of order.

n Secondly, the very large boulders along this stretch of road, like those along many island lanes – particularly in St Sampson’s and the Vale – represent primary land clearance, carried out in the Bronze Age if not Neolithic times, when the land was first farmed. They therefore form part of a distinct and distinctive landscape unparalleled, for instance, in Jersey, Alderney or Sark, though akin to parts of Cornwall where such areas are given due protection from development. In my view, it would be an outrage to mess around with these extremely important stones, disturbing not only an attractive archaeological feature that gives Guernsey part of its particular character, but no doubt disturbing numerous rare wriggly things whose home amongst them has been there far longer than we have. Several years ago, I mapped all the existing roadside rocks of this sort, and they now form a separate layer on Digimap.

n Most importantly, this piece of road forms the boundary of the Delancey Conservation Area, quite deliberately, as being of high landscape value, bordering ancient fields, and being by far the oldest feature of that area. Since the States of Guernsey has seen fit to designate this part of St Sampson’s in that way, due regard must be taken of the legislation and guidance relevant to all conservation areas. There are many sections of text that one could quote.

For all of these reasons, I think it is both unnecessary and deeply undesirable even to consider alteration of this piece of road in any way.