Our Vision for a Regenerated St Helier
The regeneration of St Helier has rightly been identified as a priority area for Jersey in the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP). All of us want St Helier to be a great ambassador space for Jersey, a place with high living standards that showcases what’s special about our Island: so how are we going to make sure this vision becomes a reality?
As Environment Minister, I’m obviously very committed to protecting the outstanding natural beauty in Jersey, as all islanders are. Jersey’s natural environment is second to none, and we must do everything we can to preserve it. St Helier’s environment needs nurturing just as much as Jersey’s other areas do, and it’s also important to remember that safeguarding the future of our rural and coastal areas very much depends on enhancing the quality of life in St Helier.
St Helier needs to adapt and be resilient to the effects of climate change, and we must do all we can to ensure that the needs of residents, visitors and businesses are met and fairly balanced in the face of this challenge. On top of all this, St Helier is our capital: it needs to be a vibrant, attractive, green place to live, work and socialise.
Building a Future St Helier which we can all be proud of goes well beyond individual politicians’ terms in office, and obviously goes beyond the four years of the MTFP. That said, important plans and investment will be implemented over the next four years in town, and Future St Helier is serving as a unifying vision for many different government departments as we go forwards with the MTFP. This kind of collaboration is setting the standard for how we as an Island tackle our other challenges and opportunities.
There are a number of ways we want to promote and enhance St Helier. This will include showing the value of urban living to islanders and selling the benefits of living in town: from access to different cultural events to having excellent transport links on your doorstep, there is a lot be said for town living. We know however that we need to do more to build and sell this vision.
A big part of attracting islanders to St Helier who wouldn’t otherwise consider living in town is to ensure they have access to high quality, affordable housing. This is a major priority for government, which is why Andium will invest £200 million over four years into building and developing housing which also meets high living and environmental standards. We will also be driving up standards in rented accommodation with the introduction of the Rent Safe Scheme, ensuring tenants enjoy the protection and reassurances they need. It’s also why I will be introducing new planning guidance to ensure that new homes in town meet people’s aspiration for living space and where the amenities of town residents, both existing and prospective, are safeguarded.
The life and ‘feel’ of a town doesn’t just rest in the different landmarks and businesses there, but in the spaces between them. This is why we are asking businesses to ‘offset’ the impact of any of their developments on public spaces as part of planning obligation agreements or a new form of infrastructure levy. The development of the St. Helier Waterfront is not just about ensuring the Island’s economic future, through the provision of commercial office, retail and tourism space, but also through the creation of a new, high quality public realm in this new urban quarter of St. Helier. We will also be introducing a new Movement Strategy to see how we can make St. Helier more accessible and reclaim space for pedestrians, cyclists and shoppers, along with a Public Realm strategy to look at where more and improved open space is needed.
The Future St Helier group is obviously going to be at the heart of ensuring new plans and projects are done with strong and thorough engagement with the public. We will be working closely with residents and businesses to make sure that actions and plans are responsive to facts on the ground.
We need to work together, and we need to take a long-term view to ensure the success of the Future St Helier project. The MTFP commitments are an important part of this.