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Skate Park: Planning Applications For Both Sites?

It now appears, following queries during a debate on whether to build the main skatepark at South Hill Gardens or Les Quennevais Sports Centre, that planning applications will be submitted for both sites.

Senator Steve Pallett, the former Assistant Minister in charge of Sport, has lodged a proposition to build the main skate park at Les Quennevais.

That was announced as the preferred site in January 2020.

However, it was revealed late last year that attention had turned in the summer to South Hill Gardens because of concerns about Les Quennevais - including accessibility.

The new Assistant Minister in charge of Sport, Deputy Hugh Raymond, then lodged an amendment to have the main park built there instead.

There are many planning concerns with that site, including it being within a Grade 2 Listed place, within the La Collette Hazard Risk Area.

Former Education Minister Senator Tracey Vallois first queried why planning applications aren't submitted for both, so the chance of getting a skate park sorted is improved.

"If we now decide to throw out the Les Quennevais option and go for South Hill, whereas South Hill might be more of a planning concern than what Les Quennevais may have been, then we're going to lose out on having any skate park whatsoever.

"So I do wonder whether this is an appropriate debate to have and whether we should be putting the two sites forward in order to make sure we at least have one and go forward with the next one with the right fight, with a planning application in the right way, to achieve a skate park for the public.

"That is our job. That's what we're being told to do, that's what we're trying to achieve, and I'm not sure this (debate) is the right way to achieve it."

Other politicians then followed suit, including:

Constable Chris Taylor: "I'm glad that she still thinks the same way that I do, my former St John Deputy Senator Vallois, when she put into chat 'submit both planning applications and get on with it.'

"That very much is what I wrote down in my notes. Submit both plans and build at whichever one will come first, because what we need to do as an assembly is to deliver a skate park and stop talking about it."

Senator John Le Fondre: "I think we should do the application for both and see which one comes out.

"I'd be very supportive of doing two applications and then that breaks the log jam that we seem to be in. That seems to be the pragmatic way forward and we then allow the planning process to determine the appropriate location."

Deputy Kevin Pamplin: "Are we politicians or not? As others are alluding to, surely the obvious answer is put forward two sites. We can have an urban designed, fit for purpose skate park that can accommodate the needs of St Helier.

"We can also have a skate park as we've seen in for the west of the island in a safe place at Les Quennevais."

Before the debate it was stated that whichever site was chosen, money would be allocated for smaller satellite facilities in other parts of the island.

More would be available for satellites if the main facility was to be built at the Les Quennevais Sports Centre.

The Economic Development Minister Senator Lyndon Farnham then revealed that it was agreed before the debate that it would be sensible to submit planning applications for both sites.

It would then be decided at a later date - based upon the planning decisions - that one main park would be built at one site, with a smaller satellite facility going to the other.

The debate continues.

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