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Seafront enhancement programme

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Monday 05 November 2018

Guernsey's community will have the opportunity to shape the future use of six sites on the Town seafront earmarked for potential release as part of ambitious plans announced today.

The six States-owned sites, stretching from the North Plantation to La Vallette, have been identified as possible locations for initial projects as part of the States of Guernsey's Seafront Enhancement Programme.

While the programme's Steering Group believes the sites have significant potential in the right hands to build on the existing strengths of the seafront and bring about positive change for the benefit of the wider community, no formal plans are yet in place for their future development or use.

Instead, the views and ideas of the community are being sought before any proposals are prepared or recommendations made, which may ultimately require approval by the States Assembly.

Deputy Gavin St Pier, who chairs the Steering Group, said:

'Understanding what is important to the community is absolutely vital, so islanders are being asked to submit ideas about what they would love to see in place at each site. As the ultimate aim is to enhance the community's enjoyment of the seafront, we want islanders to be as creative and imaginative as possible when submitting their ideas, which could include pictures of developments elsewhere in the world that they think would work here. It really is a case of no ideas are off limits for these sites.'

The six sites are all within the Main Centre of St Peter Port and the Harbour Action Area as designated in the Island Development Plan. The Harbour Action Area provides significant policy flexibility for most potential forms of development. Although the policy requires the preparation of a comprehensive plan, individual sites can be brought forward where they will not undermine the ability to implement a coordinated and comprehensive plan for the area.

The engagement programme will run until Friday 14th December and the community can share their ideas either through an online forum, via email, letter or in person at a pop-up shop at the Chamber of Commerce's Business Development Centre in the Market building.

An 'expressions of interest' process will run in parallel, with developers being invited to submit their ideas for the sites.

Once all community-led ideas and expressions of interest are received, the Steering Group will consider all possibilities before outlining its recommendations. This consideration will include any synergies between community ideas and those proposed in the formal expressions of interest.

Deputy St Pier said the Steering Group is keen to see ambitious proposals.

'These need not be purely commercially led proposals, as schemes that lead to environmental and social enhancements will be assessed as equally important. The Steering Group has committed itself to ensuring that tangible progress should be made with these initial projects by October 2019, and this dual process of generating community-led ideas and seeking formal expressions of interest from would-be developers is key to that.'

Following States' approval in November last year, the enhancement of the seafront area is one of the 22 States' priorities, as set out within the Policy & Resource Plan. A political-level Steering Group, with members representing various States' committees, has been overseeing the programme's progress.

Two primary work streams have been identified. The first is the development of an overall strategy for seafront enhancement. The development of a seafront enhancement master plan is a long-term piece of work.

The second work stream has focused on identifying initial projects that can be carried out ahead of the preparation of an overall strategy, with the aim of seeing progress on one or more of these sites before October 2019.

The seafront and surrounding area are often described as the jewel in Guernsey's crown and the Steering Group is focused on developing enhancement opportunities that will benefit the whole community without detracting from what it values about the area.

Vivier Bunker

A green space and bunker overlooking Fisherman's Quay and the wider seafront has the potential to add to the growing offering at the southern end of Town, the chair of the Seafront Enhancement Programme's Steering Group has said.

Deputy Gavin St Pier said Vivier Bunker presented a unique opportunity to further enhance an area that had experienced positive recent development in the form of the Slaughterhouse.

Vivier Bunker benefits from high footfall, particularly that of tourists, due to nearby amenities such as Castle Cornet and the Yacht Club.

The available land area includes a grassed area of approximately 9,911 square feet together with a cold bunker totalling 1,674 square feet at its eastern end.

While making clear that these are not proposals, Deputy St Pier said the sorts of developments that might enhance the area could include retail, a bar and beer garden, or an art gallery.

'The Programme Steering Group is really open-minded about the potential use of the Vivier Bunker site,' he said. 'While we think it could lend itself to commercial or social uses, these really are just ideas intended to get the community thinking.

'Given the inside/outside location, there is also the possibility for ideas to be centred on one or the other.'

The Steering Group is initially looking for ideas for the short term (approximately five years) use of the site, so that this can be included in the wider plans for the seafront area.

La Vallette Kiosk & Amenities

La Vallette Bathing Pools was once Guernsey's tourism hotspot and the sensitive development of the kiosk and amenities could rejuvenate the area and build on the good work in the area undertaken by Floral Guernsey, the Seafront Enhancement Programme's lead officer has said.

Damon Hackley said La Vallette remained a popular and desirable Guernsey attraction. It benefits from stunning views over the Bathing Pools and the rest of the Channel Islands.

'Recreational uses or leisure facilities would seem like a natural fit given the wonderful Bathing Pools next to the kiosk and building. But again that's not any kind of limitation, as our very creative community may think of other, more imaginative ideas.'

Mr Hackley said the Steering Group was also conscious that some members of the community would have concerns about a site such as this being released.

'We appreciate that position and if people feel strongly about that then we want to hear from them to understand the reasoning behind this,' he said. 'The La Vallette area has historically been a highly popular part of Guernsey but in recent years it hasn't enjoyed the same levels of use and activity as it once did.

'Being sensitive to its history and what makes it special is crucial in any enhancement idea and project - we are also conscious of the excellent work Pat Johnson and his team have done in recent years. But the Steering Group thinks it is a site with great potential to help enhance the community's enjoyment of the seafront.'

The main building on the site is approximately 1,500 square feet and currently accommodates the kiosk, two stores and changing room. There is also a public convenience building which provides additional toilet facilities for people using the wider area.

La Vallette

A grass verge running alongside the hillside at La Vallette might appear a challenging location to bring forward enhancement proposals on first look, the lead officer of the Seafront Enhancement Programme has said, but with the right vision it could present a rare opportunity for something very special.

Damon Hackley said the area, opposite the La Vallette kiosk and near the Aquarium, has huge potential.

'We appreciate that this is an unusual site that has more constraints that others. However, we think our creative community will be able to produce something that brings activity and animation to the area. As part of our research we came across some beach hut-inspired self-catering units in Bournemouth, which are incredibly popular with tourists.'

Mr Hackley said the area has stunning views off Guernsey's east coast, overlooking Havelet Bay, Castle Cornet, La Vallette Bathing Pools, as well as six of Guernsey's neighbouring islands. It also benefits from a superb location, in close proximity to the centre of St Peter Port, the Aquarium, La Vallette Underground Military Museum, Octopus Restaurant, and Guernsey's South-East Coast cliff paths.

The grass verge is approximately 5,000 square feet, on elevated ground which backs onto the hillside and has steps leading up to it from the public road.

'This site in particular is an example where creativity, imagination and vision are key if its full potential is to be unlocked. It may look unassuming at the moment, but we think it could be so much more and further improve the community's enjoyment of the area,' Mr Hackley said.

North Plantation

Possibilities are abound for releasing the landscaped garden site at North Plantation to enhance islanders' enjoyment of the area, Deputy Gavin St Pier has said.

Some 'starter-for-10' ideas include Guernsey-specific public art, a beer garden, alfresco dining or street food venue, or some kind of performance space.

'While these aren't formal proposals that are on the table, they are conversation starters for the community. We are really interested to hear from islanders about what is important to them and what their ideas might be for this site,' Deputy St Pier said.

Deputy St Pier, who chairs the Seafront Enhancement Programme Steering Group, said the North Plantation site, which includes a protected water fountain and protected tree at the north end, would likely attract a lot of interest given the flexibility it offered.

'It's a fantastic location right in the heart of Town. We're very open to potential uses but as with all potential ideas they need to be sympathetic and actually enhance the area. As the building directly to the south of this site, the current Tourist Information Office, is also potentially available, we would be receptive to proposals that combine the enhancement of these two locations.'

While the site currently has no electricity supply, this would form part of any discussion on leasing the area. Connections can also be made to the mains water supply and foul drainage system if required.

States Offices/Tourist Information Centre

The States Offices on the seafront, home to the Tourist Information Centre, provides a significant opportunity to enhance the use of one of St Peter Port's most prominent buildings, Deputy Gavin St Pier said.

Right in the heart of the St Peter Port seafront, it offers stunning views over the harbour to Castle Cornet and across to Guernsey's neighbouring islands. It is a protected building but might be well-suited to a boutique hotel, with an individualised unique selling point. Other conversation starters could include a museum, art gallery or community centre.

Deputy St Pier, who chairs the Seafront Enhancement Programme Steering Group, said the States Offices building was arguably the most prime location of all six sites being considered for release.

'It is unique both in terms of location, views, period features and potential,' he said. 'No ideas are off limits at this stage and we want people to use their imagination to full effect when thinking about what the building could be used for to truly enhance our wonderful seafront.'

The building stretches over three floors and an internal area of approximately 7,800 square feet. Its principal access, to the south, is over an attractive forecourt via a smart portico entrance into a sizeable lobby area.

As the area directly to the north of this site, the North Plantation, is also potentially available for release as part of the Seafront Enhancement Area Programme's initial enhancement projects, the Steering Group would be receptive to proposals that combine the enhancement of these two locations.

Round Top Stores

Unparalleled 360 degree views of the seafront make the 'Round Top Stores' site at the end of Victoria Pier a prime location for creative individuals.

Seafront Enhancement Programme lead officer Damon Hackley said the area, with upper and lower sections, could be perfect for some kind of leisure activity or potentially an alfresco dining area.

'As with each of the six sites, we want the community to be as imaginative as possible when giving their views. The end of Victoria Pier has absolutely fantastic views of the harbour, the Town front and out to Herm. It could be a real gem in the right hands with the right idea.'

The upper section is a circular shape, is accessed via steps and is approximately 1,400 square feet. Directly beneath are four secure granite storage areas that could be used as part of any proposals.

The Programme board would welcome proposals and ideas requiring any combination of the available areas, as well as proposals requiring a larger amount of land on the lower section if an appropriate case can be made. While the site currently has no electricity supply, this would form part of any discussion on leasing the area. Connections can also be made to the mains water supply and foul drainage system if required. The Steering Group is initially looking for ideas for the short term (approximately five years) use of the site, so that this can be included in the wider plans for the seafront area.

How to suggest your ideas for these sites

Do you see potential? Join the conversation via an online forum www.gov.gg/seafront (link also in useful pages on this page), face-to-face in a pop up shop at the Chamber of Commerce's Business Development Centre in the Market, email seafront.enhancement@gov.gg or write to Doug Mackay, States of Guernsey, Guernsey Registry, PO Box 451, Fountain Street, GY1 3GX

 

The Seafront Enhancement Area Steering Group consists of representatives from the Policy & Resources Committee, the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure, the Committee for Economic Development, the States' Trading Supervisory Board and the Development & Planning Authority. Its objectives are to:

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