Heritage group proposes changes to £70m Bath Street plan
A HERITAGE group has published alternative designs to Le Masurier’s plan for a £70-million redevelopment of Bath Street which they say will preserve one of St Helier’s listed buildings.
Le Masurier, a property development company, is planning to regenerate a neglected area of Bath Street by building a 122-bedroom Premier Inn hotel and 145 flats in what could be one of the biggest single developments the town has ever seen.
The application is to be discussed at a planning meeting later this month. Ahead of that, Save Jersey’s Heritage has published alternative proposals in the hope of saving the 1830s Regency-era listed building that could be demolished under the original scheme.
Marcus Binney, a founding member of the heritage group, said that tweaking the application could save the building and also allow the development to take place.
Le Masurier’s managing director, Brian McCarthy, said that he had invited the group to meet and discuss the plans but that they declined. He also said he believed that £70 million of investment in the town centre outweighed the preservation of a listed building.
He said: ‘The planning committee will be discussing our application on the afternoon of 26 September.
‘Save Jersey’s Heritage have been invited to come and discuss the plans with us, but that invitation was not accepted.
‘We have submitted a detailed heritage-impact assessment which states the justification for the removal of a listed building and that is comprehensive.
‘It is a balancing act like all applications. What we are saying is the boost in terms of much needed housing on a brownfield site, employment, regeneration and £70 million of investment should outweigh the preservation of a listed building.’
The listed building within the plans is a Georgian townhouse that sits above the existing Cog and Sprocket bike shop.
The heritage group is hoping their efforts will preserve the building in a similar way that 200-year old shops and houses in Dumaresq Street and Pitt Street were saved as part of plans to redevelop the Charing Cross area, which also included a Premier Inn.
Mr Binney said the Bath Street scheme ‘simply does not deliver a worthy legacy for this important site and for St Helier.’
Save Jersey’s Heritage designs propose to rotate the hotel by 90 degrees, placing it on a north-south axis and moving it near to the centre of the site.
He has argued that by doing so the listed buildings in Bath Street would be used to create an ‘attractive heritage front’.