Opposition to quarry plans

A CAMPAIGN opposing a potential quarry expansion in St Mary, which was proposed in the recently published Draft Bridging Island Plan, has been launched.

La Gigoulande Quarry. Picture: ROB CURRIE (30936491)
La Gigoulande Quarry. Picture: ROB CURRIE (30936491)

The document identifies La Gigoulande Quarry, operated by Granite Products, as being ‘potentially acceptable for extension’. If approved, the quarry would be expanded into the adjacent 21-vergée Field MY966 – bought by Granite Products for £1.65 million – with the bordering lane Rue Bechervaise possibly being extinguished in the process.

While a planning application for the development has not yet been submitted, a number of residents have expressed concern about the potential impact it could have. The ‘Action against Quarry Expansion’ Facebook group, set up by St Mary parishioner Manuela Milsom, accrued more than 150 members within 24 hours.

‘There’s been no consultation, no speaking to residents,’ said Ms Milsom. ‘When something like this appears from nowhere, with such potential dramatic effect, we have to do something. We’ve put up posters around the lanes, started talking to residents and have a group of residents being proactive in the matter. It’s been really, really surprising how few people were aware of anything – when we knock on doors and talk to people they’re shocked.

‘The destruction of a green lane in itself seems crazy. It’s a cycle path and so many people use it. We need this to be taken out of the draft Island Plan and to be reconsidered, to have environmental scrutiny and independent assessment.’

Meanwhile, St Mary Constable John Le Bailly said that the quarry expansion was ‘only a proposal’.

‘I honestly don’t think it’s going to happen,’ he said. ‘It is something that people are objecting to now very strongly. Residents are really concerned about all the blasting that will take place because of the dust factor, the noise factor and the vibrations.

‘Logically it’s not practical – you’ve got to consider that just a quarter of a mile away there is Greenhills Hotel. It’s a really lovely quiet little hotel that would be ruined as a business [if the development went ahead].’

Mr Le Bailly said that he planned to have a public consultation with parishioners.

St Mary Deputy David Johnson, who chairs the Economic and International Affairs Scrutiny Panel, added that during a meeting with Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham it came to light that ministers themselves had had ‘little time’ to look at the bridging plan.

‘They contemplated putting in amendments of their own. Not on the quarry – but it illustrates the fact that this plan has been brought forward without much consultation, or in some case any consultation, with industry parties,’ said Deputy Johnson.

He added that the quarry owners were due to travel to the Island from England to meet political representatives and explain their proposals for the site.

The Deputy said: ‘They are engaging and are not being uncooperative in that sense. I think it is perhaps fair to say that this is not just a nimby reaction from local residents. It would be a major incursion into the countryside as far as I’m concerned.’

The JEP contacted Granite Products for comment but had not received a response at the time of going to print.

Two years ago Jersey Water said that the quarry would be an ideal site for a new reservoir.

It made the announcement after revealing that the Island could face water shortages as the population continues to grow and the climate becomes warmer.

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