Don’t reject 20 years of work

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From Marcus Binney.

TWENTY years ago I sat for a year on the Waterfront Advisory Group, listening and deliberating on plans, proposals and strategies for the waterfront. Despite a huge expenditure of time and effort, nothing came of it.

Eight years ago hundreds of people spent a weekend at the Jersey College for Girls participating in the grandly named Waterfront 2000. Nothing came of that, either.

Now, thanks to sustained effort by Senator Freddie Cohen and his officers, we have an approved masterplan for the section of the Waterfront next to the Esplanade.

The scale of the new buildings has been carefully considered, a series of attractive and sheltered public open spaces is to be created and a further section of road is to be sunk so that the reclaimed land is no longer cut off from the town by six lanes of traffic.

These plans have been drawn by one of the leading architectural practices in the British Isles, Hopkins and Partners, joined now by a landscape designer of great talent, Robert Townsend.

Whatever the issues about Harcourt, I suggest it is folly to rescind plans it has taken 20 years to agree and approve. If for any reason Harcourt are unable to proceed, the existence of an approved masterplan is a basis for recruiting other developers. There was indeed a strong under-bidder for this site, ING, a company involved in major city developments in Europe.

The proposed new financial quarter will provide urgently required accommodation for some of Jersey’s leading companies and employers.

To rescind the masterplan will simply send out a signal that Jersey is closed for business. There are naturally numerous aspects of the development which will need further examination, elucidation and testing, matters which will be an integral part of the process, but to throw out the masterplan will condemn us to at least a decade of acrimonious and fruitless debate.

Domaine des Vaux,

Rue de Bas,

St Lawrence.

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