Millennium Town Park Extension Proposed

Plans have been drawn up to extend the Millennium Town Park onto the former gasworks site as part of a major regeneration of the north of St Helier.

It's after Andium Homes was denied planning permission to construct 122 apartments on the west of the site after archaeological artefacts were found to be buried there.

The States-owned social housing company says it has exhausted all financially viable options to use the gasworks site for homes, and the project previously agreed by the States Assembly in 2017 has 'come to a dead end'.

Instead, it now hopes to 'look beyond the site boundary' and provide affordable housing on nearby sites while keeping the former Jersey Gas site as outdoor green space.

Andium's 'Town Park Vision' presented to Ministers late last year (Credit: Andium Homes)

In addition to the 9,100 square metre extension to the Millennium Town Park, the plans also propose demolishing properties along Simon Place and Tunnell Street - including Channel 103's former studios - linking the park with new homes built on the site of the Mayfair Hotel and Ann Street Brewery.

Andium says the proposals would 'support sustainable travel' by improving pedestrian areas, whilst also preserving the archaeology buried beneath the gasworks site.

The remaining gas cylinder on the site was demolished last year to make way for Andium's proposed redevelopment

St Helier Constable, Simon Crowcroft, put the plans to senior Ministers last year, saying it's unlikely the opportunity will come again to create so much green space in town.

"If this can be delivered, it would be the best thing to happen in St Helier for many, many years - certainly since the Millenium Town Park first opened.

Given all the housing planned for St Helier, and there are hundreds of units of accommodation planned for that part of town, I think it makes absolute sense for us to seize this opportunity to double the size of the Town Park. I think future generations will thank us for it."

Speaking to Channel 103, the Constable criticised the 'lukewarm' reaction from Ministers when he presented Andium's proposals to them last year.

"I think it's disappointing that the Council of Ministers, with a few exceptions, didn't really see the merit of these proposals when it was put to them in the Autumn.

Neither the Environment Minister nor the Chief Minister saw the merits of it and were very lukewarm about it, and yet only recently we've recently seen the Chief Minister rejoicing at the prospect of increasing the size of Coronation Park in St Lawrence onto the land formerly occupied by the Nightingale Hospital.

If a bigger park is good enough for St Lawrence, it should be good enough for St Helier."

But it's not the only vision for the site. Former teacher, Deputy Rob Ward, wants to see a new school created there to accommodate children living in the new homes being created in the north of town.

He's lodged an amendment to the Island Plan calling for a primary school to be built there.

"Locating a school on the Site would allow more children to walk or cycle to school thereby minimising the need for parents to drive them. It is not uncommon, for example, for parents to drive their children to D’Auvergne School only to return home to park the car before going to work. Such journeys could be negated altogether with a school in closer proximity.

The opportunity to safeguard the perfect site for a new, modern primary school should not, and must not, be missed and I strongly urge members to support this amendment."

Deputy Ward's plan will be discussed as part of the proposed Island Plan debate in the States Assembly in March.

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