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READER LETTER: Protect green space for future generations

READER LETTER: Protect green space for future generations

Monday 11 July 2022

READER LETTER: Protect green space for future generations

Monday 11 July 2022


This week the States will debate a Requête, led by Deputy Steve Falla, which will propose new protections to make it harder to build key worker housing in a green field next to Duchess of Kent House in the grounds of the Princess Elizabeth Hospital.

Mike Brown, Land Manager of the National Trust of Guernsey, is enthusiastic about protecting green spaces and biodiversity. Ahead of this week's debate, he wrote this open letter to deputies asking them to support the Requête.

Dear Deputies,

Those of you who know me will be aware that I am the Land Manager for the National Trust of Guernsey. I am not contacting you in that capacity, but rather as a concerned grandparent and one who is worried about what sort of island my grandchildren will inherit.

I am aware that on a small island there will always be pressure on our limited land area. The pressure for houses is only going to increase and I am not so naïve as to believe we can save all green space for all time.

But - and it is a big but - the States need to set an example.

PEH_Duchess_of_Kent_field_Steve_Falla.jpg

Pictured: Deputy Steve Falla is leading a Requête in an effort to prevent building key worker housing in a green field at the Hospital, which was recently painted by a visiting artist. 

We should, as an island, delay building on any greenfield site until all our brownfield sites have been developed to their full potential for the benefit of the island. 

You are all aware of the numerous brownfield sites owned by the States. Surely it is incumbent on a responsible government to fully develop those sites before building on greenfield sites - the one next to the Princess Elizabeth Hospital being a case in point.

I urge you to at least pause and reflect and then hopefully support the Requête at the next States' meeting.

This is not empty rhetoric. I have put my money where my mouth is. Over the years, I have acquired a site of some 22 vergees in Vale and St Sampson's to retain some green space.

Unfortunately, due to the disastrous planning regime of the 1960s and 1970s, ribbon development means that this beautiful green space is not visible from the road. If any deputy wishes to visit the site, you are welcome to come and see over 120 different species of plants thriving on the site and listen to the birds sing free from traffic noise.

It is not too late. It is within your power to do something which sends a message not only to islanders but to the world.

Green spaces are important, climate change is happening, biodiversity is worth fighting for, and together we can do something.

Mike Brown

Pictured top: The green field at the centre of this week's debate in the States, which is currently being farmed and is zoned as an Agricultural Priority Area.

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