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£360m ports plan back to the States

£360m ports plan back to the States

Monday 28 March 2022

£360m ports plan back to the States

Monday 28 March 2022


Proposals are being relaunched for extensive development at Guernsey's harbours - including the creation of a new commercial port at Longue Hougue South - less than a year after they were defeated by the States' Assembly.

The States' Trading Supervisory Board (STSB) will give deputies another chance to back its harbours plan - which has an estimated cost of at least £360million - when the Assembly meets this week to debate proposals to set up an east coast development agency.

Under the Policy & Resources Committee's (P&RC) original proposals, a vision for the future of the island's east coast, including the harbours, would be drawn up by the development agency - a company owned by the States but with an independent board operating at arm’s length from government.

But Deputy Peter Roffey, the President of the STSB, believes the States need to provide clear policy direction now on the future of the harbours if P&RC's proposed development agency is to "lead to some real action and not just expensive words".

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Pictured: The development of a new commercial port at Longue Hougue South remains a key policy objective of the STSB but was not approved the first time it was debated by the States last year.

Deputy Roffey and his Vice-President at the STSB, Deputy Charles Parkinson, have submitted an amendment to this week's debate. Their amendment - known as amendment nine for this debate - includes asking the States to approve:

  • carrying out essential repairs to the current harbours; 
  • constructing a new port at Longue Hougue South; 
  • relocating commercial activity away from St Sampson's Harbour to Longue Hougue South; 
  • converting St Sampson's Harbour to leisure use only;  
  • improving the leisure sector offering in St Peter Port Harbour; and 
  • relocating some or all commercial freight activity away from St Peter Port Harbour.

The STSB put essentially the same proposals to the States in June 2021 and saw them rejected by 21 votes to 13. 

P&RC's position on STSB's latest attempt to revive its harbour plans is not yet clear. The President of the P&RC, Deputy Peter Ferbrache, told Express over the weekend that his Committee would meet tomorrow, Tuesday, to discuss all nine amendments submitted against its policy letter to set up a development agency.

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Pictured: Unveiling proposals for a development agency, Deputy Mark Helyar, P&RC's Treasury Lead, said it was an idea which had received widespread support for many years.

Deputy Roffey told Express: "Of course, no final decision can be taken on new commercial port facilities until further investigation work has been completed, but unless the States has the courage to at least make a decision in principle we are in a real catch-22 situation.

"No outline decision on commercial ports provision means no planning briefs for the Harbour Action Areas, which means no meaningful developments around the harbours. Stalemate. The opposite of 'action this day'.

"It has become crystal clear that, in order for a development agency to carry out meaningful work, the States need to take the plunge and make an in-principle decision over commercial port developments.

"We know it is a big decision and that makes it hard to take. But if the States shy away from voting for the STSB amendment then a prerequisite of drawing up the planning briefs for the Harbour Action Areas will be yet another investigation into what sort of commercial harbour facilities Guernsey needs.

"Of course, the issue can be looked at again if that is what the States want, but it is very hard to see how different options will be put forward than those which came out of the recent investigations, which cost nearly £800,000 and involved Guernsey’s leading experts in the provision of commercial port facilities."

In supplementary information published alongside their amendment, Deputies Roffey and Parkinson said that approving it would "speed up considerably the timetable for genuine progress on enhancing the eastern seafront".

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Pictured: Deputy Charles Parkinson tweeted that the amendment he is seconding tries to establish a "logical order" to the work of the development agency proposed by the Policy & Resources Committee.

READ MORE...

Development agency to be debated with eight amendments

P&R wants a development agency to run Guernsey's east coast

Guernsey Party deputies and Chamber welcome east coast plans

Some deputies yet to be convinced by development agency plans

£360m harbour "revolution" sinks in the States

Compromise agreement salvaged harbours debate - P&R

Two wasted days - was there a point turning up? 

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