Senator Steve Pallett called for comments made on behalf of site landlords Jersey Property Holdings to be ignored at a Planning Committee hearing, as he spoke in favour of plans to renovate an abandoned section of the St Clement facility.
The former St Brelade constable admitted he was partly at fault for the decade-long disuse of the netball courts next to the athletics track, but called for sporting groups and land owners to rally together for the greater good, rather than pull in opposite directions.
However, four of Pallett’s States Assembly colleagues then voted formally to reject the proposals, which included the installation of 3G turf and new perimeter netting and boarding. They cited noise and light pollution and parking as their reasons for the decision.
‘I’ve heard some quite incredible comments, some quite disappointing comments from some of those who object to this application,’ Pallett said at the public meeting. ‘It’s not the residents’ comments I would like to take to task, it’s those that have come from government officials.’
Earlier, a representative from the Law Officers’ Department, speaking on behalf of site landlords Jersey Property Holdings [JPH], suggested that noise from the new five-a-side court at Strive in St Peter can be heard from a distance of 200 metres.
The nearest properties to the FB netball courts are approximately ten metres away.
Representatives from the Jersey Table Tennis Association and Jersey Spartan Athletics Club also objected.
‘I have to say, the comments from JPH are quite unbelievable,’ said Pallett. ‘They’re unevidenced and some of them are incorrect. They’ve mentioned Strive without having any evidence whatsoever and I think these need to be disregarded because they have no part in this planning application.
‘Sports in the UK live side by side quite happily. This is where some of my disappointment is with other sports [at FB Fields]. I understand their concerns but, frankly, they should be trying to work together, rather than trying to sink what I think is a reasonable proposal.’
The plans had long been plagued by the discovery of a 60-year-old land covenant, which led to JPH performing a u-turn on a lease agreement with former Muratti cap James Scott – the man behind the project.
The Government of Jersey has committed to developing a ‘masterplan’ for FB Fields and the east of the Island, as part of its Inspiring Active Places strategy, which was released earlier this year.
More in Friday’s JEP.