Dandara, which has lodged a planning application for the building – most recently used as the Total Sport store until its closure in 2015, plans to rebuild the chimney and reinstate the ‘O.T. Bäckerei’ [Organisation Todt Bakery] signage.
Organisation Todt was a civil and military engineering group in Germany, named after its founder, Fritz Todt, a senior Nazi. It undertook a range of projects in Germany and its then-occupied territories – including Jersey, where it built the series of tunnels and bunkers.
OT was notoriously ruthless and used forced labour, with 16,000 workers – many of whom were Russian – being brought to Jersey.
The Channel Islands Occupation Society, which has worked with Dandara on the project, is due to install an informative plaque at the bakery.
Dandara is also building 63 apartments to the rear of the site on the footprint of a now-demolished warehouse.
A letter accompanying the application says that the conservation of the building is reliant on its owners securing a viable commercial use for it. However, separate plans have also been submitted to change the assigned use of the premises from a retail outlet to a shop and café on the ground floor and a ‘golf performance centre’ on the upper floor.
Matthew Costard, from the Channel Islands Occupation Society, said that he hoped the partnership would encourage developers to work more closely with Jersey’s heritage organisations in the future.
‘Dandara do get some bad press but they are very approachable and this is not the first time we have worked with them on Occupation sites. Once they understand what is required of them, they are very happy to take input from us and be guided, which is what they have done here,’ he said.
‘We are currently helping them put together wording for this interpretation panel on the side of the building, which will give people the opportunity to understand the building’s original purpose as an Organisation Todt bakery. It will also make reference to other structures in the area which were linked to the Organisation Todt.
‘Down the road towards St Peter’s Valley, near Tesson Mill, there was a forced labour camp which is now totally gone and at Tesson there is the OT power station, which Bel Royal Motors now use as a vehicle workshop. As you move further inland there are also the series of tunnels. It could be quite a nice way for people to interpret the other structures in the area.’