Tuesday, 11 May 2010

The Hopeless Masterplan

I've just received this flyer, which I am posting on my blog. The Hopkins proposals mentioned are absurd. They count in bits of widely separated green spaces as all belonging, in some strange mystical way, to the "Town Park"; I'm really surprised they didn't include the green spaces at Springfield as well - that's close enough to the area to merit inclusion in their peculiar arithmetic.

For most of us, a park is a single unit, not separate entities distributed over St Helier, and even the oddest topological transformations in mathematics could not combine them. Only an architectural  firm could argue this bizarre case.

This should be nicknamed "The Hopeless Masterplan" rather than the "The Hopkins Masterplan". It's from the same people who gave us the proposed sunken road around the Waterfront - which would cost  1/2 million pound a year in maintenance. This Masterplan is self-funding, but it effectively turns a park into a communal housing area.

The Millennium Town Park Support Group (MTP) has campaigned for this much needed green space in the densely populated centre of St Helier for over 12 years. In September 2009 the States voted the funds needed to treat the contamination and create a full sized park.
The car parking on Gas Place will be replaced by a temporary car park at Ann Court and several other sites have been identified to cater for town residents and shoppers longer term needs. Hopper Busses, car sharing schemes and States policy to reduce car commuting will lessen the need parking spaces. This long awaited park now faces a threat from proposed plans to build blocks of four storey apartments on the site. We believe 50 or more private apartments are planned; we are seeking confirmation of the detail.
This proposed development would destroy the vision of an open, green park on the whole site, these private apartments would tower across the east end of Gas Place. The building of private apartments would severely limit the use of the park by town residents, restricting the opportunity to play, relax and exercise, and stop future expansion of the park to the East.
There are also difficulties inherent in building anything on this land. It is contaminated and marshy so any buildings will require extremely deep foundations. There would have to be yet more investigations and reports which will escalate costs and lead to even more delay to the delivery of your park.
The recent Hopkins report recommends building on the park to fund the North of St Helier Master plan and to "frame" the park. It offers to deliver a park 'at no cost' but puts no value on the obvious social and health benefits a full sized park would offer the community. This report has ignored the views of the thousands of people who asked for a park across the whole area and who will be sold short if development goes ahead. Trees to frame,. an open vista encompassing existing Jersey buildings that reflect our industrial heritage, a regeneration of adjacent properties and pedestrianised boundary side roads plus a sympathetic scheme from top class firm of landscape designers are what is needed to form a successful Public park. These architects seem driven to push St Helier into accepting their vision of a London Square on this space, enclosed by buildings, walls and railings.
Constable Crowcroft will be taking a proposal to the States to ask that work start. on clearing the contamination and finalising a design which could deliver your Town Park by the end of 2011, if they reject the plans to build housing on this Public Park. Action is needed to ensure that your views and those of the 16,000 plus people who signed the petition to the States are not ignored.


- write letters to the Jersey Evening Post.

- contact the local media, BBC Radio Jersey and Channel 103.

- post comments on JEP website: thisisjersey.com  and Channel TV channelonline.tv

 - write to your States Member and States Members who started their political career in St Helier (Senators LeSueur, Ozouf, Le Main, Maclean and Routier). Are they prepared to disregard the very people who launched their political careers? Why are St Helier residents treated as 2nd class citizens? - contact States Members by phone or meet them to ask if they will be supporting Constable Crowcroft'sproposal which is due to be debated on May 11.

- listen to this important debate on BBC Radio Jersey - or in the States Chamber. The Constable's proposition asks for the States to agree to start work on the` Town Park without further delay.

If you are a member of Facebook you can join our page at "Millennium Town Park"

The`Town Park is more likely.to become a reality for you, your family and your children if you help to make it      happen. This is your park - please take action today as we suggest above.
Millennium Town Park Support Group town.park@hotmail.com

1 comment:

Freya said...

Hi Tony,
Just found your blog and this posting of last year's flyer when the new park was threatened by the 'Freddie's Flats folly.
That plan to build has been rejected- by Sen. Cohen himself-but now we have a new threat to the integrity of the Millennium Town Park. The Co-op has persuaded the St.Helier roads committee to keep the Gas Place road open to through traffic as they fear loss of trade if it is closed. As this road runs past the le Selleur building which the Parish of St.Helier wishes to acquire to create a community centre, art/craft workshops etc. it will impact on these worthwhile plans. There was to be a plaza here and the children's play area in also adjacent to what will now not be a traffic free road.
The MTP support group are horrified that commerce wins over road safety. We are planning to inform local residents and the wider public of this and other developments by forming a Friends of the Town Park group.This will allow the community to have a greater say in and be involved in the evolution and running of the new park- a vital 'greenlung' for St Helier's heart.
If you or others wish to contact us send your name by email to
Freya Gallichan.
Millennium Town Park Support Group