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Douzaine calls for Island Infrastructure Plan

Douzaine calls for Island Infrastructure Plan

Sunday 15 November 2020

Douzaine calls for Island Infrastructure Plan

Sunday 15 November 2020

The St Sampson's Douzaine is calling for a review of the island's infrastructure as a "matter of extreme urgency" as it lambasted the States for its "lack of planning, foresight and poor governance".

Douzenier Rob Gill has written a report to raise concerns about "nearly all of Guernsey's industry" being located within "the same one square kilometre" near Bulwer Avenue in St Sampson's.

"Within that one square kilometre is the island's largest builders merchant and timber mill, most plant hire companies, the heavy scrap yard, a structural steel fabricator, joinery shop, window manufacturer, vehicle body shop, the islands refuse and food waste processing, general recycling, inert waste dump, the abattoir, the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Office, and the island's fuel offloading and storage facilities," said Mr Gill.

"This is the result of years of a lack of planning, foresight and poor governance. A direct result of government not producing the Island Infrastructure Plan that was proposed per the States Strategic Plan of 2009."

The douzeniers are worried about safety, particularly following the fire at the recycling centre in 2018.

recycling centre outside fire

Pictured: The scrap yard at Guernsey Recycling caught fire in 2018.

"There is a tendency with heavy industry to say 'stick it down St Sampson's'," said Mr Gill. "This is continuing as the last tenants of the Fontaine Vinery are to be moved to Longue Hougue and government currently proposes to infill Longue Hougue South.

"[In 2018], Guernsey Waste's scrap yard caught fire. Were it not for the expertise of our fire department we could have lost not only our 900-year-old parish church but had a conflagration to compete with the recent ammonium nitrate explosion in Beirut."

The report followed on from a meeting between the Douzaine and Ferryspeed, after parishioners raised concerns that the freight company had occupied Longue Hougue Lane and closed it off to the public.

"[The Douzaine] learnt that Ferryspeed had, over time, absorbed the majority of other freight companies and now handled most of the goods delivered to the island," said Mr Gill. "This required around 8,400 40' trailer movements per year from the harbour to Bulwer Avenue and 360,000 pallets and cages handled on site per year.

"Ferryspeed's expansion has taken them beyond their original premises to include the 50-year-old tomato marketing board premises and, across Longue Hougue Lane, the two hangars bought by Jack Norman from WWII air bases.

Deputy Lindsay De Sausmarez

Pictured: The Douzaine wants Environment & Infrastructure, led now by Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez, to make an Island Infrastructure Plan a priority. 

"It was not planned as such but it has become the centre for distribution of practically all goods for the island."

Although the douzaine has acknowledged Ferryspeed's importance to the island, it has raised a number of questions about whether the Driving & Vehicle Licensing Office could be moved, whether the facility would be better placed nearer St Peter Port Harbour, and why Ferryspeed hasn't been able to develop the States-owned premises.

"In consideration, the St Sampson's Douzaine has sympathy with Ferryspeed but is not of a mind to lose the use of Longue Hougue Lane because of government inaction and lack of planning," Mr Gill concluded.

"The constables and Douzaine ask that government review the island's infrastructure as a matter of extreme urgency and produce an Island Infrastructure Plan."

Pictured top: Bulwer Avenue.

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