States developer supports criticism of Waterfront plan
CRITICISMS of the ‘downright boring’ Waterfront Masterplan have been supported by the managing director of the company developing the Jersey International Finance Centre.
Last month at a Chamber of Commerce lunch Environment Minister Steve Luce described the existing plans to redevelop the St Helier Waterfront as ‘too restrictive, too detailed and too downright boring’.
The Deputy added that he believed more consideration needed to be given to integrating the Waterfront with the rest of St Helier, as well as looking at the development of commercial and residential units and trying to introduce a ‘cultural’ aspect to the area.
A review of the masterplan, which dates back to 2008, was ordered last year on the recommendation of independent planning inspector Philip Staddon, who described the existing plans as ‘out of date’.
One of the key projects in the area is the Jersey International Finance Centre – a six-block office scheme which is being developed by the States-owned Jersey Development Company.
In response to Deputy Luce’s comments, JDC managing director Lee Henry said his company agreed that the current masterplan was ‘too detailed and restrictive’ and would result in too many similar-style buildings being constructed.
‘JDC is a delivery vehicle for the States of Jersey. It follows guidelines and masterplans set down by the States of Jersey,’ he said. ‘JDC has welcomed the review of the Waterfront Masterplan and supports the Environment Minister’s comments that the current plan is too detailed and restrictive. Masterplans usually set out the overarching vision and aspirations for an area of land for the eventual developer to bring forward detailed plans to match those aspirations.’
He added that under the current masterplan a number of buildings were set out in a ‘block/grid pattern’ and were of a similar shape and height, which would result in a ‘homogeneous’ development.
‘JDC identified this and made changes to the design for IFC 5 [the second building to be constructed, on the corner of Castle Street and Route de la Liberation] to deliver a building with curves to add variety and to positively respond to the site’s boundaries,’ he said.
‘The facade of IFC 6 [the planned third building] has also been split down to appear as four pavilions to add interest and variety. JDC is committed to delivering a quality scheme with well-designed buildings by acclaimed architects and extensive areas of high-quality public spaces. Globally, waterfronts have extended cities through reclamation and/or the regeneration of former port and industrial areas.’
He added that until the revised masterplan was completed JDC would be unable to assess what the likely impact would be on future development plans in the area.
The review of the St Helier Waterfront Masterplan is due to be tabled for debate in the States next March, after initially being scheduled for this year.