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FOCUS: What to do with Sir Charles Frossard House

FOCUS: What to do with Sir Charles Frossard House

Thursday 23 March 2023

FOCUS: What to do with Sir Charles Frossard House

Thursday 23 March 2023

Re-imagining the site where Sir Charles Frossard House is could offer a new site for so-called affordable housing, town car parking, and other facilities aside from civil service office space, according to an architects firm and some deputies.

The States offices were built there in the early 1990s, with Sir Charles Frossard himself opening the building on 26 January 1993.

Who was Sir Charles Frossard?

The former Bailiff of Guernsey was honoured with a building named after him, following decades of services to the island in many different ways.

He was a student at Caen in France when the Second World War and the Occupation began. He escaped to England and in time he signed up to serve his country. He spent some of the war and immediate post war years in India before returning home.

He was called to the Guernsey Bar in 1949 and had a long and successful legal career, among many other notable achievements.


Pictured: As Bailiff, his duties included official meetings with Portuguese officials.

He was elected as a Deputy in 1958, and later elected as a Conseilleur in 1967. He was a member of the Church of England General Synod between 1960 and 1982 and was President of the Indian Army Association. He was appointed Deputy Bailiff in 1977, and was Bailiff from 1982 until 1992. He was knighted in 1993, the same year he opened the building named after him - Sir Charles Frossard House.

Sir Charles continued to work as a Judge for the Channel Islands Court of Appeal until 1995. He died in 2012 aged 90.

What is Sir Charles Frossard House?

Many of Guernsey's government departments are managed alongside one another within Sir Charles Frossard House. Civil Servants across multiple disciplines work alongside each other. The President of Policy and Resources has an office at Frossard House and its meeting rooms are often used for political gatherings and press conferences. 


Pictured: The history of the Sir Charles Frossard House site has been discussed previously by users of the Guernsey Days Gone By group on Facebook.

Turn the clock back by four decades and a working mill was on the site, with Phoenix Mill an oft remembered name by users of the Guernsey Days Gone By Facebook group who have previously discussed the site.

Some people also remembered its use as the States Work depot with private businesses including DHS being recalled as having been based there at one time.

The States offices were previously split across different sites with many remaining in use until recent years. The plan was to bring as many services together under one roof as possible. The former mill site at the top of La Charroterie in St Peter Port was earmarked for the new States office building in the late 1980s with the building work being done by RG Falla ahead of the official opening in January 1993.

What else could go there?

There is not currently any plan to do anything with the site of Sir Charles Frossard House however PF&A Architects has come up with its own vision for the site based on previously mooted ideas.

frossard house PF&A

Pictured: PF&A Architects has come up with a "vision" for the future of the site known as Sir Charles Frossard House.

The States has, in recent years, relocated some services into the central office site at the top of La Charroterie, while moving some out of Frossard House to other buildings. This has been part of a long term plan to consolidate the number of buildings in public ownership.

One example was the closure of the States education offices on the Grange with all staff moving into Frossard House and the building being sold to the Queens Road Medical Practice which is currently redeveloping it.

Elsewhere, the Revenue Service has been moved into Edward T Wheadon House with income tax, social security, and housing working alongside staff offering driver and vehicle licensing services and other duties.


Pictured: The States has sold the Grange road education offices to the Queens Road Medical Practice.

If more staff were to be moved out of Frossard House - where could they go? One suggestion - made via Twitter, so not an official government view - was that the States could move the civil service to the 'data park site' at Route Militaire.

In conversation with a number of other people, Deputy Peter Roffey - the Employment and Social Security President, who has responsibility for social housing - said that the northern section of the data park site could be used "with cost effective, utility office buildings to replace SCFH and release that site for housing". He added that, as the northern part of Guernsey is already densely populated, it could lead to shorter commute times for people currently making their way from the Vale and St Sampon's to town every day. 

"As for public traffic, these days SCFH is largely a base for non-public facing activities. I agree that some limited presence in town should be maintained for those activities where the public need access," continued Deputy Roffey.


Pictured: Deputy Peter Roffey and Vic Slade of the Guernsey Housing Association at the site on La Charroterie where new key worker housing is to be built.

Environment and Infrastructure President, Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez has also previously intimated she'd like to see housing at the Frossard House site. Both Deputies Roffey and de Sausmarez have praised the Guernsey Housing Association for its plans to build more homes than previously suggested at the former-Guernsey Tyres site just slightly down the road from Frossard House.

The PF&A vision

PF&A Architecture have considered what could be built at the Sir Charles Frossard House site and have worked up a "vision" which it has shared with States Property Services and both deputies Roffey and de Sausmarez.

frossard house PF&A

Pictured: The PF&A vision for Sir Charles Frossard House focuses on the car park, with housing and office use mixed across the site.

The plans prepared by PF&A focused on the car park initially - a currently underused parcel of land in the eyes of many.

However, as PF&A started working up the vision the scope changed.

"The scheme goes further than the immediate site and considers opportunities for wider enhancement, an interchange encouraging use of sustainable transport, safe walking routes in to town as well as hospital and town shuttles," said the architects.  

"The design considers community facilities, green space, retail and amenity, with residential development which will include apartments for key workers, affordable housing and private ownership."

frossard PF&A

Pictured: PF&A said its plans aimed to use natural daylight and re-usable materials.

PF&A has utilised the natural areas of cliff edges with open atriums enabling sunlight to filter into the development, with high rise blocks and added living walls to enhance the aesthetics. 

"The aesthetic is driven by sustainable thinking and a circular economy, a modular design due to the ability for offsite production and considering the ability to dismantle and re-use materials at end of life," they said. "The form of the building is also driven by the natural surroundings and topography with an open atrium enabling views through the building and light to penetrate the core. 

"The overall project will act as a regeneration to the area providing opportunities for enhancement, connectivity and housing," said PF&A in publishing its plans.

frossard house pf&a

Pictured above and below: The PF&A vision for the future use of Sir Charles Frossard House includes living spaces for families with communal outdoor areas, living walls, open atriums and public transport services.

PF&A frossard house

Express has asked the States Property Services team what it thinks of the PF&A plans.

Let us know what you think by commenting below or by emailing editor@bailiwickexpress.com


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