Ronez is developing proposals to quarry the Chouet Headland and intends to submit a planning application before the year is out.
A public drop-in was held at the Peninsula Hotel yesterday, with the Director of Ronez on hand to meet with people who wanted to learn more about the plans.
“The only area is Chouet headland, so the next stage is for the planners to publish a development framework and we’ll submit a planning application probably later on this year,” said Steve Roussel from Ronez.
“The idea behind this exhibition is to give members of the public, or anyone who has an interest in Chouet, an opportunity to have a good look, to understand what our plans are, so we can consider that before we finalise and submit our planning application.”
Pictured: Information boards were presented in one of the halls at the Peninsula, with members of Ronez staff on hand to hear feedback.
Mr Roussel has heard concerns from people living in the area, relating to biodiversity and a potential increase in noise and air pollution.
“Whilst we will have an impact on the site, we think we can actually make new habitats that will mitigate for it - we’ve made a commitment to the States that we will implement projects for biodiversity net gain,” he said.
“There are people who live quite close so we want to make sure that the air quality and noise won’t be a nuisance, so we’ve got to persuade them exactly how we can mitigate that and stop dust emitting from the site.”
Peter, 64, doesn’t live in the area but came to the exhibition with a particular concern about traffic.
“I was interested in seeing the proposals, particularly the number of truck movements a day,” he said.
“I’m interested as a golfer. The road to the site goes straight through the golf course and there’s already been a major problem in the past with green waste coming through.”
After speaking with Mr Roussel and others at the exhibition, Peter left feeling like his questions had been answered.
“Learning that there’ll be about 50 trips a day, I’m reasonably satisfied that there won’t be too much disruption – there’ll actually be less than there is now!” he said.
Pictured: There are 8.5 hectares of land that could be quarried at Chouet.
Paul from Festung Guernsey came to better understand the work being undertaken, after the historical group made some recommendations to Ronez.
“Ronez has a good track record of listening to concerns,” said Paul, who wanted to make sure the site had been properly surveyed.
“There’ll be a lot of people with concerns and this’ll be a good opportunity to hear them first hand.
"I’ve left with my own concerns being met and listened to.”
Pictured: The estimated location of the WWII tunnels within the Chouet site. There are a series of Martello Towers located on the surrounding land and headlands, forming part of the wider coastal defensive chain. Consultation with Festung Guernsey and an initial assessment by the Planning Service indicate the WWII structures "do not have sufficient special interest to be given statutory protection."
Once a development framework has been signed off, Ronez will look to apply for planning permission toward the end of the year. However, Mr Roussel said it won’t be a quick process.
“It’s a 30-year project, so this will be developing over a long period of time,” he said.
“At this point in time the States have only approved half of it, it’s only about the first ten years or so we’re looking for planning permission for at this stage.”
When asked about what’s to become of Les Vardes quarry, Mr Roussel said Ronez is open to whatever is in the best interests of the island.
“We don’t have a particularly strong view on what it has to be used for. In the IDP (Island Development Plan) it has been identified as a water safeguarding area, which means we can’t do anything which would make it unsuitable for the storage of water.
“I know there are discussions about potentially using it as a future inert waste store site instead of Longue Hougue, but we’re really in the State’s hands,” he said.
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