Order to demolish most damaged flats at site of Haut du Mont explosion signed

Picture: JON GUEGAN. (36651885)

AN ORDER for the demolition of the most severely damaged blocks of flats left standing following the Haut du Mont explosion has been signed by the Environment Minister.

The order relates to two buildings – containing flats 22 to 26 and 33 to 36 – that were in the immediate impact zone of the blast, which killed ten people in December.

Work had already started at the site to remove roof tiles which could pose a danger in poor weather conditions, but the order – signed by Deputy Jonathan Renouf – will now mean the whole buildings will be demolished.

He said: ‘In consideration of the exceptional circumstances surrounding the incident at Haut du Mont on 10 December 2022, and the resultant loss of life and extensive damage to the property, I have signed a special development order which will permit the demolition of the most severely damaged properties.

‘Demolition may not necessarily commence immediately, but following guidance issued to the developer and once everything is in order to commence the works.’

The Political Oversight Group for the Major Incidents – which was set up in December last year in response to the explosion and sinking of the L’Ecume II fishing vessel – has previously recommended that the redevelopment of the site in the future should include a permanent memorial to those who died on 10 December.

The government has said the decision on the form of the memorial will be taken in conjunction with the bereaved families, displaced residents and the wider community.

Deputy Chief Minister Kirsten Morel – who chairs the oversight group – said: ‘This order will mean that we can now prepare to start work on removing the three blocks which were the most severely damaged in the explosion.

‘The buildings have severely degraded due to water penetration and we had already begun to strip tiles on the roof due to safety considerations.

‘The decision has been taken with the thoughts of those most closely affected by the terrible events in mind. We will continue to support bereaved families and displaced residents through States of Jersey Police family liaison officers and the support hub.’

States police announced last month that three people have been arrested on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter in relation to the explosion.