Jersey will no longer benefit from £75 million of private investment after the States have failed to agree a development brief with Le Masurier for the north of St Helier.
The local company have announced regrettably that they no longer have confidence in the States of Jersey Planning Department and have therefore had to withdraw plans for ‘Parkside Village’ on Bath Street. The site that sits south of the Freedom Centre (former Odeon cinema building), with Bath Street and Rue de Funchal forming the east and west boundaries, will now remain in its current form.
The decision has not been made lightly by the Jersey owned company. Plans for Parkside Village included homes and amenities for all generations and family sizes as well as much needed affordable homes, a new pedestrian link to the Town Park, short-stay shoppers car parking, shops and cafes and was expected to deliver a considerable boost to the Island economy.
Over the last year, having been invited to do so by Planning, Le Masurier have been working towards agreeing a development brief, also known as ‘Supplementary Planning Guidance’ (SPG) A ‘draft’ brief was agreed with the Planning Minister and Officers in July and put out to public consultation (Dept. Of the Environment consultation paper, 16/7/12). The response from the public was very positive, including strong support from the Parish of St Helier and the Chamber of Commerce.
Following the positive consultation Le Masurier expected determination of the brief, enabling them to move forward with the submission of a planning application. Instead, Planning Officers recently delivered a re-written brief with wholesale changes (1st November 2012).
Brian McCarthy, Managing Director, C Le Masurier Limited, explains;
‘It is with deep felt regret, that we have no option but to down tools on our Parkside Village project. We have spent the best part of a year simply trying to agree a development brief for our site. We thought we had achieved this in July but now we have been presented by Planning with unacceptable wholesale changes, the alterations have made our proposals totally unviable. This is despite the fact that our proposals sit comfortably within the States approved North of Town Masterplan and the Island Plan. We have experienced nothing but constant delays, U-turns, and a lack of cohesive decision making from the Planning Department. It is impossible to make sensible progress and we cannot risk spending millions of pounds on a planning application, without the certainty of due process and the Department’s commitment to a transparent service.
Sadly, I believe that we are not alone in our frustration in dealing with the Islands bureaucracy. I believe that it is a widespread feeling shared by other Jersey businesses, many of whom would clearly value, and would have benefitted from, our proposed private investment’.
Ben Ludlam, Group Property Director, C Le Masurier Limited, says;
‘This is a really sad day for Le Masurier and for Jersey. We are a long established Jersey family company, fully committed to the Island and are willing investors despite the dreadful economic climate. Our proposals would have provided much needed regeneration and vital work for the Island’s construction industry. This has not been an easy decision for us but we will now focus solely on our J1 development in Broad Street, and our substantial investment plans will have to take place outside of the Island’.
Category: Editor's Choice