During the latest hearing in the Bridging Island Plan Examination in Public, John Nicolson, representing Ports, called for the site to remain part of the ‘built-up’ zone, meaning it would be easier to redevelop.
The much-criticised Steam Clock, which was commissioned by the Waterfront Enterprise Board in 1996 at a cost of £250,000, was ‘gifted’ to Ports of Jersey in 2016. It has been plagued with technical issues and for long periods has not told the right time. Ports of Jersey managed to repair the clock last year.
Mr Nicolson said that the site currently had no protected designation and Ports of Jersey would like this to remain the case.
He said: ‘The Steam Clock site has no specific designation in the current Island Plan. The proposal [under the Bridging Island Plan for 2022 to 2025] is that it becomes protected as important open space. We think that is unnecessarily negative. The emphasis is certainly not positive within that policy framework and we are requesting that it remains a built-up area without the designation.
‘I can refer you to the open-space audit, which is a background document. [It was] not subject to any public consultation and not adopted but it does acknowledge that there is no qualitative need for further civic open space. But the Island Plan still pursues this designation.’
Natasha Day, senior planning policy officer and Island Plan review programme manager, said that the site was a ‘key opportunity’ for connecting open spaces in the area and the proposed designation would not ‘preclude entirely against development’.
She said: ‘We have quite clearly set out our reasons for proposing the designation of the Steam Clock as protected open space in our community sites assessment report.
‘The wording we have used is encouraging the site to be used as key opportunity to connect the existing open spaces and improve that area.
‘With regard to the protected open-space policy it doesn’t preclude entirely against development, it just requires the developer to bring forward a series of tests.
‘Should the developer wish to bring the site forward they may of course be subject to these tests.’
Also during the hearing, Paul Harding and Mike Waddington, of the Jersey Association of Architects, raised concerns about a lack of clarity on guidance in the plan relating to the height of buildings in St Helier, as well as what type of development could take place in the Green Zone and Coastal National Park.
The Bridging Island Plan is due to be debated in March It outlines draft planning policy from 2022 to 2025.