There is already widespread political support for the Co-op's latest scheme to develop Leale's Yard, which has now been submitted to the Development & Planning Authority for planning permission.
Several deputies with seats on States' committees covering economic, social and environmental policy yesterday told Express that they are supportive of the proposed scheme for the 13-acre site, which includes around 320 homes alongside a new Co-op food store, other retail space, a multi-storey car park and green and civic areas.
And Deputy Neil Inder, the President of the Committee for Economic Development, tweeted congratulations to the Chief Executive of the Co-op, Mark Cox, on the unveiling of the scheme.
Congratulations Mark. Your new team got there in the end. Right scheme, right time. https://t.co/mv6EkKP89q— tothevale (@tothevale) April 7, 2022
His Vice-President, Deputy Steve Falla, who also sits on the Committee for Employment & Social Security, which is responsible for social housing, said he was "impressed and broadly in support of this scheme".
“It’s long overdue," said Deputy Falla. "Clearly, there are still details to be worked out but, on the surface, the main requirement on the States is to give the development planning permission.
"In return, the island gets an additional 320 houses in a well-balanced, apparently well-conceived development which will both make use of a very large area of land that is underutilised and encourage the regeneration of an area of the island that would benefit from some tender loving care, especially if these works can complement any scheme that the [States'] development agency of the future might have for St Sampson’s Harbour.
“It looks good for homes, good for business, good for the community and the vitality of St Sampson’s, our second town."
Pictured: Deputy Steve Falla.
Deputy Adrian Gabriel, who has responsibility for general housing policy as a member of the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure, said that he was more impressed with the Co-op's scheme than he expected to be.
"Initially, I was sceptical of what the development was going to look like," said Deputy Gabriel.
"I was pleasantly surprised and had fears allayed when Mr Cox led a very thought-out presentation. I am broadly supportive of the development as presented.
"I believe the Co-op has listened to the brief from any Development Framework [for the site] and come up with something which is useable and pragmatic and caters for most users of the area. I believe the developers and architect have thought of most things."
Pictured: The scheme for Leale's Yard unveiled by the Co-op yesterday includes hundreds of homes, food and non-food retail space and a multi-storey car park.
"I was concerned that the development would be used as a rat run to avoid The Bridge area, but this is not the case," continued Deputy Gabriel.
"As a very nearby resident, I was also concerned that any massing of buildings would have a visual impact on nearby properties. But the mews style terraces seem to be relatively low rise, saving the five- or six-storey buildings for the centre of the development.
"I think the Co-op has worked hard to get to this stage. Even in the relatively tight financial circumstances, it's encouraging to see that finally something is being done with Leale's Yard, and this could be the catalyst for improving other areas on The Bridge."
Pictured: Deputy Adrian Gabriel.
Deputy Andy Cameron, who also sits on the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure, said he was "very supportive of the development, which has been dragging on for years".
"I think the architect has come up with a pragmatic and innovative solution which will contribute massively towards the overall regeneration of The Bridge area and provide over 300 desperately needed affordable houses," said Deputy Cameron.
"I had some concerns over the lifespan of the modular buildings but have been reassured that these will last at least 60-100 years. Although not quite up to passive house energy ratings, the developers have promised that these buildings will be highly energy efficient.
"I feel very excited that this development ticks most of the boxes."
Pictured: The Co-op has prepared the scheme with various development partners, including Rihoy & Son, which would oversee all construction on the site.
Deputy Cameron said: "The modular builds can be built pretty quickly and the overall skyline of The Bridge is unspoilt. We need more five- and six-storey developments - building upwards is a great way of preserving green space around the buildings.
"The multi-storey car park provides 10 times more parking than there is currently on The Bridge. Reclaiming the parking spaces on The Bridge back into the public realm would have a fantastic effect aesthetically on the seafront.
"Would I want to live there? Yes."
Pictured: Deputy Andy Cameron.
Express reported yesterday on Deputy Peter Roffey's call for the States to consider limited financial involvement in the proposed scheme to purchase some homes for key public sector workers, such as teachers and nurses.
Deputies Cameron and Gabriel are also open to this idea or similar States' involvement in the scheme.
"The States could purchase some homes off the plan and use them as social housing," said Deputy Cameron.
"If the States took an option on some GP11 properties to use as key worker housing then this could help the developers financially," said Deputy Gabriel.
Deputy Aidan Matthews, a member of the Committee for Health & Social Care, tweeted that he thought the scheme proposed by the Co-op "will be great for helping to revitalise The Bridge area".
Pictured: Deputy Aidan Matthews.
Deputies Gabriel and Falla acknowledged that some people will continue to have concerns about additional pressure on infrastructure if the proposed development goes ahead.
"I’m a little concerned that any flood defences would have a detriment on the surrounding area. I’m yet to see how flood defences for the site are to be managed," said Deputy Gabriel.
"I appreciate that it will put additional pressure on the infrastructure of the north of the island - the road network and so on," said Deputy Falla. "But, if the Development & Planning Authority gives this scheme permission, there will be a real incentive for all the relevant agencies to look again at how this might be addressed."
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