Successful Amendment Paves The Way For Building On PEH Field

Painting of Le Vauquiedor field courtesy of Tony Parsons

Deputies have voted 24 to 15 in favour of a land swap, should it be decided to build nurses’ accommodation at Le Vauquiedor.

After a day and a half of debate, a majority of States members have agreed to an amendment laid by Deputy Neil Inder.

It totally changes the wording and thrust of the requete, originally brought by Deputy Steve Falla.

Instead of blocking development on the land next to the hospital, should development go ahead, the States will buy an equal-sized plot, and return it to grassland for dairy farming.

A budget of up to £300,000 will be provided to enable that to happen.

The original Falla requete wanted to block any development at Le Vauquidor, and requested that any attempt to build on prime agricultural land should first be considered by the Assembly.

Members on both sides of the argument agreed on the absolute need for key-worker housing but differed on where, and on what sort of land, it should be built.

During debate on the amendments, many said they were uncomfortable with deputies assuming the role of the Planning Authority.

There was concern that the Sycamore tree that sits in the valley that could now be built on, would be felled. Deputy Steve Falla raised this in his opening speech:

“That Sycamore tree has survived two World Wars and a German occupation. It has stood testament to the comings and goings at the Vauquiedor for four generations, only to be potentially lopped down on the whim of a few States members.”

Members were assured that the tree would be preserved if building goes ahead.

Deputy Peter Ferbrache said he wasn’t a ‘concrete crusher’ and wanted to protect ‘every blade of grass and every cow’ in Guernsey. But he said Guernsey needed its healthcare service and nurses needed accommodation, and the cold hard facts reluctantly pointed to the PEH site and the Vauquiedor field.

23 voted for the amended requete, 12 against with 2 abstaining.

Despite the success of the Inder amendment, it is unclear at this stage when, or indeed if, a planning application will be filed to build nurses’ accommodation at Le Vauquiedor. The Planning Authority will ultimately rule on whether any development can go ahead.

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