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Multi-million-pound replacement of Castle bridge approved

Multi-million-pound replacement of Castle bridge approved

Saturday 27 January 2024

Multi-million-pound replacement of Castle bridge approved

Saturday 27 January 2024

The States have backed the reconstruction of the crumbling Castle Cornet bridge, but concerns were aired that heritage sites need to become more profitable going forward.

Policy & Resources have been authorised to spend up to £7m on a like-for-like replacement of the existing Bridge which has slowly been deteriorating over several years with the risk of collapse feared.

Deputy Peter Roffey, President of the States Trading Supervisory Board, said it would be “inconceivable to not maintain access to our premier asset”. 

The project had been delayed by covid and the works had since become “rather more urgent, but the project cost hadn’t come “out of left field”. 

Many States members raised concerns over the high cost, which was accepted by Deputy Roffey who promised to try and limit the maximum spend as far as possible. But he also criticised sceptics: “Not a single member has come to STSB with queries and questions about it”.  

There were also fears that the Castle is proving to be a drain on public finances and not washing its face commercially. 

It’s expected the new bridge will last at least 50 years, but he hopes it can last for twice as long. Work is planned to finish by 2027. 

Pictured: Restrictions are in place on the bridge due to its crumbling concrete deck which was installed in 1951.

There was strong criticism of the £7m price tag. Deputy Marc Leadbeater said the States needed to “reign it in” particularly on professional fees which he said were becoming “unsustainable”. 

He noted that the Castle is one of the most popular paid-for visitor attraction but brought in little revenue. 

Deputy Neil Inder said he rarely trusts project figures from STSB, while Deputy David Mahoney suggested that closing the Castle would save the States money or allow a commercial entity to make it profitable.  

Others reminded critics that those arguments were meaningless if access to the Castle is removed.   

P&R President Deputy Lyndon Trott said it is “clearly a must do project”, with Deputy Peter Ferbrache saying the need to increase revenue from the site is necessary but the bridge “has got no time left”.  

Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen said deputies should be grilling officers prior to States debates if they need assurance and said while all wanted to maximise revenues from heritage site infrastructure to support access was essential. 

Meanwhile, Deputy Victoria Oliver said: “I am loving how many engineers we have in this house. Really guys, this a completely different beast”. 

She called for trust in the quotes and appointed engineers. 

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