Chief Minister open to talks about bridge to France

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However, Senator John Le Fondré refused to give States Members his opinion on the project, as he was ‘minded of the response’ one of his predecessors faced after an ‘off-the-cuff’ comment he made about the proposal was reported in the media.

Deputy Graham Truscott yesterday asked the Chief Minister during States questions his views on the idea, which was recently reignited by former government adviser Kevin Keen.

The notion of a bridge to France was first mooted more than a decade ago and earlier this month Mr Keen, who has developed a reputation for turning around struggling businesses, said the debate needed to be reopened and feasibility studies carried out, as he believed it could ease the Island’s growing housing crisis.

‘I’m going to be very careful,’ the Chief Minister said in response to the Deputy’s question. ‘What I will say is the main protagonist is generally regarded as a sensible individual and I would be willing to have a discussion.’

Senator Le Fondré added that he was particularly keen to discuss with Mr Keen, who is an accountant, what impact the bridge could have on the economy.

In 2008, then-Environment Minister Freddie Cohen began investigating a road link between the Island and France, and estimates suggested that it could cost 1.5 billion euros.

Although Mr Keen said he had no idea how much building a bridge would cost, he says that the project could alleviate the housing crisis by allowing Islanders unable to afford a house in Jersey to commute from northern France, and also substantially reduce freight costs – lowering the cost of living for Islanders as well.

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