Efforts by two members of the Islanders Association and Charter 18 to prompt a review of planned developments in the north of Guernsey have been defeated, with the Committee responsible for infrastructure saying there is a "misunderstanding" about the levels of development planned for St Sampson and the Vale.
Deputy Carl Meerveld and Deputy Peter Ferbrache used the States meeting on the Policy and Resources Plan this week to warn that "significant development is likely to take place in both parishes in the next five years" adding that they wanted the States to force the Committee for the Environment and Infrastructure to explain what infrastructure might be needed to meet all proposed and planned developments.
Deputies Meerveld and Ferbrache said that "as a result of previous planning approvals, the Island Development Plan, the Draft Development Frameworks, the Waste Disposal Strategy and the Education proposals for two high schools, significant development is likely to take place in St Sampsons and Vale in the next five years."
With some of that development accounting for more than 1200 planned dwellings, the island wide waste transfer station, possibly a 1400 student school and the expansion of Oatlands Village, the pair's amendment said "there is also the possibility of commercial developments at several sites in this area," but they said there is "currently no indication of the effect this will have on the area."
The concerns raised by the pair were not reflected by enough of their colleagues though, with the majority of the States voting against debating the amendment.
Pictured l-r: Deputy Carl Meerveld and Deputy Peter Ferbrache
Following the Assembly’s decision on Tuesday 5 June to not debate the amendment to the Policy & Resource Plan, the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure issued a statement "assuring the community and clarifying some of the matters raised by the amendment."
Deputy Barry Brehaut, President of the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure, said it is fully recognised that "the amendment touched on issues that are important to the community," adding that E&I oversees "many policy areas that can deal with some of the concerns contained within the spirit of the amendment."
Deputy Brehaut said as a committee "E&I is sympathetic to the concerns at the heart of the amendment and has been working on them for some time in any case, in conjunction with other Committees such as the D&PA."
He said the States need to work together to overcome some of the issues raised, "we would hope that those who would have supported the amendment will support the Integrated Transport Strategy and the bid for funding for the Infrastructure Plan next year so we can more effectively address the issues it raised."
The E&I President also criticised Deputy Meerveld and Deputy Ferbrache for the laying of their amendment, adding that "the Committee is always willing to meet and discuss amendments in relation to policy areas we are responsible for. We always welcome engagement at an early stage."
Pictured: Deputy Barry Brehaut
The E&I Committee has also said there is "a general misunderstanding that most development is happening in the northern parishes." It also said it is "incorrect" to say that most of the larger allocated housing sites are in and around the St Sampson/Vale main centre.
Deputy Brehaut said town actually feels the brunt of all residential developments.
"Overall it is expected that the majority of future housing development will occur within and around St Peter Port," he said. "This is supported by evidence as monitoring figures show more development has occurred in St Peter Port than St Sampson/Vale and of all the pipeline supply (two years’ worth) of housing planning permissions. Permission in St Peter Port total 339 while St Sampson/Vale equals 231."
Concerns over infrastructure in the north of the island was also considered by E&I which said that it believes "in general terms," most roads can cope with the volume of traffic that is carried, "albeit the size of some of the vehicles combined with the road infrastructure can make it difficult for passing manoeuvres to take place without mounting the pavement."
E&I acknowledged traffic problems at certain junctions at peak times, including the two most affected which have been identified through previous traffic impact assessments as La Vrangue/Le Bouet and Braye Road/Route Militaire. Other exceptionally busy junctions which have been identified include Elizabeth Avenue/Les Banques and the Grange/Doyle Road.
E&I said these issues have all been considered in relation to Development Frameworks and planning applications for development, "which present the Development & Planning Authority with the opportunity to consider infrastructure improvements on a case by case basis where reasonable to do so."