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Back to the drawing board for Green Street ‘plaza’ plan

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CONTROVERSIAL plans for a £230,000 redevelopment of a paved area outside Green Street car park have been pulled – and are to be redesigned.

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The government has faced weeks of criticism after submitting a planning application to transform an area outside the car park entrance which currently features several overgrown bushes, a large tree, a cycle rack and a phone box.

The application, which described the area as a ‘plaza’, was broadly opposed by Islanders, who questioned the need for spending almost a quarter of a million pounds on the scheme when the government is planning efficiencies and is still locked in a pay dispute with civil servants.

Now, Infrastructure Minister Kevin Lewis has confirmed that the plans have been withdrawn, and a ‘more cost-effective’ scheme will be put forward and form part of the forthcoming Sustainable Transport Policy.

‘I was not completely happy with the plan,’ said Deputy Lewis.

‘We have just come back from the Netherlands, where we looked at their cycling network, and there are things I want to do in that regard, such as increase the number of cycle racks.

‘I also want to improve access, particularly for people with pushchairs and the disabled.’

Asked if the decision to redraw the plans was in response to the public backlash, he said: ‘From the outset I felt that the plans needed modernisation. I want to look at all aspects and I want to come back with a more cost-effective plan.’

The planning application received 66 formal comments, with the majority criticising the proposals.

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Many people called for the money to be spent on improving cycle routes and increasing the number of cycle racks in town. Some highlighted the perceived high rates of bike thefts and called for secure cycle storage to be incorporated into any scheme.

Islander Darren Roberts, in his submission, said it was ‘another badly thought-out idea which should have been squashed before the people who actually have to pay for this heard about it’.

He called for the money to be spent on secure bike parking, and added: ‘And to call it a plaza seems a bit pretentious. It’s hardly Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere.’

In another formal submission to the plans, Islander Jo Patterson described it as ‘more unnecessary wasting of public funds’ and added: ‘Who wants to sit on a bench outside a car park on a busy road?’

Last month, a spokesman for Growth, Housing and Environment said that the estimated budget took into account work such as the clearance and levelling of the site, ground preparation and replacement of the paving, as well as design and planning fees.

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