Plans to demolish town centre buildings

MAJOR plans for a £14 million redevelopment of derelict buildings in the heart of St Helier – which would see the demolition of six historic buildings – have been submitted by the Co-op.

Could it be the end for these empty buildings?
Could it be the end for these empty buildings?

MAJOR plans for a £14 million redevelopment of derelict buildings in the heart of St Helier – which would see the demolition of six historic buildings – have been submitted by the Co-op.

The organisation has applied to the Planning department with a revised version of their Charing Cross scheme that caused controversy towards the end of 2012.

Last year Co-op leaders accused the Planning department of a U-turn by showing support for their application during the early stages of discussions, before ultimately recommending the project be refused.

The department said that there were issues over the size and scale of the original scheme as well as the impact on the historic environment.

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Comments for: "Plans to demolish town centre buildings"


A ruined abbey or medieval castle has a degeree of romantic interest attached to it. These sad derelict "historic" buildings have none and are merely an eyesore. Either do them up or knock them down.


Do them up please.

jacob and robert MARLEY

they may be small, but their importance in the historic representation of st helier are HUGE.


Knock them down


tubbs and edward-- 'ARE YOU LOCAL'.

Jerry Gosselin

Why do you think the Co-op have let them get into this state then? Obviously to strengthen the argument to allow them to be demolished. It's an age-old trick of developers. Don't be so quick to fall for it.


Are you saying that they been planning this for at least 20 years ?


Whay about the 30 years prior to that?


When Planning refused the application before, didn't the Co-op say they'd had enough (somewhat dramatically) and would scrap their Charing Cross plans altogether?

So isn't this a U Turn on their behalf? Was their intention all along to play the victim so that they could knock down historic buildings?

It's not that I give a flick of a coin about derelict old buildings. I just question the public behaviour of the Co-op's Top Brass, whipping up anti-Planning sentiments for their own ends.

RESTORE THEM to 1890 standards

they are only derelict because the owner has FAILED TO CARE FOR THEM


Do we really want buildings that have outside toilets, draughty single glazed windows that don't keep out the cold,no central heating just a coal fire that heated only a few square feet of the room by the fire itself, gas lighting, no running hot water, no bathrooms?

When I was young, I used to live in Commercial Buildings where in winter there was ice on the inside of the windows. There was only a small mat by the side of your bed and cold lino flooring for the rest of the room. My grandmother had a dresser with a jug of cold water for her morning wash. It wasn't very comfortable, to say the least.

People today wouldn't put up with those conditions.

spirited thinking

ahh yes,..but it made a man of her!


You are just being silly. Preserving buildings DOESN'T mean preserving the living conditions that people lived in 2 hundred years ago. It is about preserving the ARCHITECTURAL features.

Have you never noticed that the Town Church is no longer lit by oil lamps? Did you not realise that the States Building now has modern heating and plumbing? Did it not occur to you that the Governor and his wife are no longer using an outside lav at Government House? Did you really think all those millionaires living in historic old farmhouses still had earth floors and cows in their sheds?

For goodness sake get real! I'm sure you will find that modern facilities have been installed in the Commercial Buildings too. Did you really think that Planning required the restoration work at Liberty Wharf to keep it as a cattle slaughtering facility???!


These buildings may be historic, but i would argue they are not worth saving, there are no stories to go alongside them, these buildings are unessecary when there are others with such rich historic value, they are dilapidated and uncared for, make an effort with them and then will can discuss whether they are worth saving!

R. Williams

At last, hopefully, we shall see the end of these slums which should have been demolished years ago.


To say the architecture in St.Helier is shocking would be an understatement. In fact it's hilarious, I can't wait to see what happens.


At last, it s about time !!!


Planning are just a bunch of people who make the rules up as they go along!!!! funny how Mr Dandara has just has his planning approved on St Brelades beach when people can not even change wooden windows!!!!

phil, st ouen

I feel these building are an important part of town and should be protected. I agree they are in an appauling state of repair but if they were done up they would improve the area significantly. Just look how well the sewing shop accross the road has been restored.


Are you referring to the slum buildings that adjoin the Post Horn pub?



Have you been into the slum building next to the Post Horn, I figure not as if you had you'll see that the Jersey Heritage renovated them and they actually still have some of the wonderful Jersey charm that everyone seems to be so keen in getting rid of.

Tim South

When the buildings were sold by the owner, the planning department in their wisdom, imposed heavy restrictions and had a grand plan to see them as boutique shops in an old part of St. Helier. The room sizes and structure have to be saved they are a Heritage gem.

The outcome was this scared away other interested developers and the Co-op bought the buildings in the centre of town for the price of a decent bungalow.

To now demolish them and build exactly what the Co-op want reeks of carpet bagging, and the Co-op where always going to play the long game. It is a shame they are not as thoughtful to the islands public, and kept the grocery prices reasonable !



Times have changed and retail has changed dramatically in the last few years and will continue to change even more dramatically over the next decade.

That thinking was barely viable 20 years ago and certainly is not now.


Who owns these buildings? Why did they get to this dilapidated state?

I presume the logic would be: let the buildings get dilapidated and then planning would be more forgiving.

Jsy man


Let's get realistic about what is valuable to keep and what is simply old property in need of total redevelopment. That area of town would benefit from redevelopment.

Or the plans could just be refused and they sit there for another X amount of years rotting away to no ones benefit.

Maybe national trust could start another campaign to turn into a park area!

Are some people confusing this story with Le masuriers plans for their bath street development with some of the planning dept comments on here?


No no no! Hands off! They are certainly historic buildings and have their value and unique beauty hence needs to be protected!


Thank you. At last, a voice which speaks sense.

R. Williams

These slums are of no architectural value whatsoever. There are no redeeming features to warrant listing. Just because they are old does not make them valuable. They were worn out buildings when Foott's were there more than 50years ago.

Buildings are for people to live, work and play in, not monuments to be preserved for ever. Every building eventually comes to the end of it's useful life and these certainly have.

The important thing is that they are replaced with something worthwhile.


Well said Slawek!!

I prefer these old building instead of a new glass monster to join all the empty shops and offices that seem to litter St Helier


We need to ask ourselves a few questions before proceeding with things like this:

1.) If the development doesn't take place, will anyone invest in the area as it is currently - restoring it to its former glory?

2.) If no, will the proposed development improve the area and quality of living for residents?

I suggest that the answer to both of these questions is 'no' and 'yes' respectively. These buildings will simply be left to ruin as is otherwise. No developer in their right mind would want to take on these buildings and refurbish them. It's simply not profitable. And profit drives development - it's a simple idea.


I sincerely hope co-op win their battle to renovate this area. The current buildings are an eyesore in the middle of town. Also, the co-op needs expanding big time - that place is always chockablock with customers.

the future

Jersey has stopped evolving and is becoming a dinosaur in every way, if this carries on it will go the same way and become essentially extinct.


Well something definitely needs doing with this unkempt area.


There is a huge difference between 'historic' and 'old'...the sooner Planning realises this the better. Keeping buildings for keeping them's sake is pointless and prevents areas of the island being used for more useful purposes other than just standing there to fall down. Given that Planning place such importance on maximising density of new developments it's amazing that these have been allowed to deteriorate for so long.


Sorry, but planning policy on listed and historic buildings must be consistent, the same for everyone and just because its the co-op applying does not mean this should be granted approval. You cannot have different rules for the rich and if John Doe down the road also wants to knock down his old historic decrepid eyesore building and make new, but is turned down on the grounds of the property being listed and historic, it makes a mockery of the whole planning issue. There are many old and decrepid looking historic eyesores around Jersey, and I myself own one which to do up would cost more than to demolish and build new, so, please give everyone the same policy, and not just because of a name.


Its funny how the buildings across the road have been made into new homes for islanders. Why doesn't the CO-OP do the same!! And keep this area as it was.


Seriously would you want to live in one of those? I certainly wouldn't.


You have visited one of these houses have you roombay?


The whole of the town is a dump. I think the one of the worst towns in the UK


Well i'll say it again,we are not in the UK! You obviously walk around St Helier with your eyes closed and cannot have seen real towns that are dumps,there are parts of town that are very poor and parts that are pretty good,could it be better of course but to allow commercial owners to play the 'derelict' game does the island no service.


I thought were were in the UK as it says British Island on my Jersey passport, also says I am a Britsh citizen which I would assume means we are part of the UK.



UK is short for "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland"

The "British Isles" are a group of islands that include the UK, the rest of Ireland and a few thousand other smaller isles, including the Channel Islands.

"UK" and "British Isles" are two separate places.

R. Williams

We are a British island and we are British citizens, but we are not, and I hope never will be, part of the U.K.

despite the bullying that the U.K. government is putting upon us.


Is it one of the worst towns in France? How about one of the worst towns in Timbuctoo?


it would be a sin if these were pulled down,they have put wooden planks in the gutter area to stop anything that may fall but look up nothing is going to fall its to create an illusion, if they pull these down i swear ill never shop there again...


It's always good to hear of someone backing up their convictions with positive action. So where will you buy your groceries in future? And how will anyone know?

the thin wallet

i do hope foots shop and the staircase will be kept as for the rest its quicker and better to flatten the rest.

the black and white painting of " the girl in the window " is wonderfull .

ive known a few like that.

No axe to Grind

These buildings are simply redundant. There is confusion about what is historic and what is old.

Historic can be new. Old means it is time to be replaced. Common sense is lost, I fear.

Demolition of old buildings, which is a normal and natural part of renewing the built envoronment, should result in the development of something of better function and given advances in architectural practice, appreciation of aesthetics, modern building materials and planning controls, should surely result in something better.

It is perfectly normal to have a sense of loss and nostalgia when part of our world is gone but that should not be allowed to impinge on someone else's property rights, common sense and normal renewal of the built environment.

Let's get real

Grumpy Old Woman

You lot seem to have very short memories!

The last application that the Co-op put to planning was to keep the majority of the old buildings and develop around them, reinstating the Foot advert in the process. Planning in their usual ignorance made approving noises all along until the final decision and then rejected the plans.

I don't blame the Co-op for getting the huff and coming back, after much wasted time and money trying to appease planning, with a proposal to demolish the lot.

If pigs could actually fly then planning would now see sense and allow the original plans. Most likely though they will stick to their stubborn guns and leave the whole of Hue Street to remain as a slum for another 10 years

Jersey Boy

Spot on. Sympathetic development of these buildings was refused at least 10 years ago on the basis that they were too iconic and had to be maintained as they were. Look at them now. Another great achievement by the conservationists.


I love the old buildings there, and yes they are an eyesore, to a degree, but i can remember being a kid and seeing them open as shops etc, and they do have historic value - BUT - i can see that they are getting worse and worse. I would, however, prefer to see the buildings stay as they are than see new buildings there. Either restore, or leave.

Sadly Jersey is losing a lot of its heritage, we are no longer what we were, in more ways than one!


How much longer can this little Island afford to maintain five thousand listed properties when we have year plus waiting lists at our Hospital, our elderly can’t afford basic health care and even our schools have been reduced to teaching out of portacabins.

How many thousands of pounds have the owners been forced to spend on detailed architects drawings and historical consultants, and the reports simply binned by planning. How much have planning spent on very expensive “historical officers” who clearly not fit for purpose and like most Civil Servant far removed from commercial reality. Then multiply by 5000.

Yes we do need to keep what is important but important to the Island and not simply to create a bureaucratic empire for a very expensive Civil Servant. A frequent quote heard from the States when trying to justify an expensive but un-necessary project is “if we can save just one life”. Well if all the money wasted on planning fees, specialist drawings, re-applying for permissions etc was redirected towards health than we would be saving many lives.


Since user pays was brought in, nothing is straightforward because there's no money for the States' departments in it.

Brian Jacks

Where were the so called 'heritage lobby' when the previous plans to keep the old buildings on Dumaresq Street were rejected by Planning?

Were they coming out in their droves to applaud the Coop for spending many millions in restoring these old buildings that the company would never get an economic return on?

Seems to me when somebody other then the vocal minorty tries to do something sympathic to their cause they don't really know how to handle it. So go all silent.

Rather then slagging off the Co-op for trying to develop their commercial operations which have served the community very well over the years they should take aim at Planning. It was them after all that rejected the previous scheme on the grounds it was to tall. As if any body would have even seen the top floor as it was set back from the road and invisible from street level.


I look forward to the Jersey Heritage campaign to save these buildings......what what


If the buildings were restored and the whole area tidied up this could be a fantastic part of town, and one that the few remaining tourists would visit.

Far too much of our history has been destroyed and replaced with Dandara-esque cardboard monstrosities. Oh well, at least these new buildings won't last long enough to ever get listed ;)


The voice of sense!!

Someone is trying to convert St Helier into one big empty office block, we should fight to save this area of town as the quaint St Helier that visitors hope to find when they come to Jersey.

Co-op already have Grand Marche so i'm not sure why they need another massive shop in town... has there been any thought to what is going to happen to the traffic in this area??

of course not!!

La Moye Squirrel

Fifty years ago I lived in the 'back streets' of St Helier, which is what they were known as in those days and they were foul - outside toilets, damp houses, green walls, sick children with lung infections, mouldy windows, a tin bath - I remember it well. These buildings are crumbling away and have thin walls, poor foundations, leaky roofs, rotten floor boards. Why can't they build in an architecturally retro style to preserve the view of the street with the benefit of all mod cons?

Paul Granger

What's so great about old buildings? Where is the so called character? Is it in the damp, the dry rot, the lack of insulation? Buildigs have a finite life. Modern, warm buildings for modern lives are needed. Knock down the old and up with the new. There is absolutely no character and no historic value in an old delapidated (or even old renovated for that matter) terrace.