Saving Guernsey's Seafront

(Click image to enlarge)

A safer and more scenic St Peter Port seafront

There is said to be a substantial threat to the commercial activity along the attractive, Georgian-style seafront in the British Channel Island of guernsey. Increasing sea levels are already threatening the east coast and the Town Seafront. This proposal will help defeat these threats. I addition, the area will become much more user friendly if there can be:-

  1. Out-of-sight car parking for all.

  2. Increased Ports Account revenue.

  3. Permanent gardens for leisure and relaxation.

  4. A home for the RCIYC and vastly improved berthing.

  5. Bus Station and garage on a central site.

  6. Special pier and waiting room for local ferries and Ribs.

St Peter Port, its’ Harbour and approaches are architecturally attractive. A major part of this attractiveness is the shopping area but not enough has been done over the years to separate cars, vans, buses and people, resulting in a chaotic and hazardous mix.

An out of town retail outlet developer considers it essential to provide sufficient car parking for as many customers as are predicted. Why should we not consider St Peter Port as a retail complex and do the same? Many of the Town Traders lease their premises so there is a difference here but I feel that it should be possible for them to ‘club together’ and partly subsidise short and medium-term car parking conveniently close to their premises.

The Victoria Marina is poorly placed for access from the sea. Quayside premises often flood at spring high water, a situation which is steadily getting worse.. Shore based Multi story high rise car parks are precluded because of soaring land prices.

The following thoughts are I feel both realistic and deal with many of the current shortcomings. Bringing them into reality will be expensive and disruptive but they could be introduced over a number of years with one part of the scheme being completely finished before the next is begun.

New Marina

Facilities within the visitor marina in the Old Harbour are only just sufficient to cater for the casual yachtsman from the U.K. or Europe during the summer months. Add to this an event which has over 100 participants and it becomes a ‘hell of a squeeze’ with many vessels have to moor against a pontoon in The Pool or take up a casual mooring elsewhere. St Peter Port is competing for business for the marine tourist with a considerable number of newly established facilities in other islands and France.

We need a larger facility for our friends from the north and east but where could this be built? I propose that a new marina be built, on the outside of the Castle Emplacement. Also that rubble walls be thrown up to protect Havelet Bay and the precious beach and leisure activities in the bay. This would create a calm lagoon where water level can be controlled by a system of locks.

Final work on the new breakwater wall could use granite from the existing Emplacement, which may be reduced to quay level. Existing buildings could be supplemented by a Customs Post, showers and toilets for the use of Fishermen and Private boat owners. The new area could have an average capacity of 400 vessels, three times more than at present.

Car Parks and Gardens.

In the now vacant town marina a series of underground car park could be created with two or three levels with landscaped gardens on top. There can be sufficient space for 800 cars in each of three units to be built over an extended period.. This would remove all cars from the piers, esplanades and eventually from North Beach (except for unloading, taxis and those with special needs, taxis and pick-up points.)

One of the parking units would also provide overnight accommodation for route buses with the station on top, in easy reach from the Quay. The road between Albert and Victoria Piers would be diverted along the top of the underground parking. In addition, extensive gardens and recreational areas could be established on top of the parking and as a sunken area on the former marina bed until all the car parks are built.

An opportunity should be taken to create a special local ferry pier extending from the Red Light Berth for use at all tidal states. A comfortable waiting room would provide shelter. Income from car parking would be a much needed asset to the Ports Account. The charge levied should be the equivalent to a return bus journey.

To depict the historic association of the area with the first enclosed harbour or Old Harbour, a non-seaworthy Tall Ship could be a central feature of the car park and gardens. The hull of this vessel could be at the lowest level with the masts and sails soaring through the central opening above. The vessel would make an excellent home for the Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club or a fine restaurant. Emergency exits from both car levels could be on the eastern side, as shown on the attached plans. Pedestrian access to the car parking areas would be by one of three lifts and a couple of ramps. A narrow, one-way service road would be retained to allow access to quayside premises.

The Crown Casino?

I know the idea of a casino has waned recently but such a facility could be built underground in the extreme north-east corner of the old harbour, once again boosting revenue.

I do hope that this plan can be a catalyst for discussions between interested parties. I would ask that you respect my intellectual rights to these proposals.

Copyright 2008, Roy S. Perry