Friday 10 April 2015
Work to reconfigure the port operations area at St Peter Port Harbour will not result in any loss of parking.
The change involves a section of North Beach car park that has been used as a temporary trailer park since 2012 when work began on a major refurbishment of freight handling facilities at St Peter Port. It was required then because some of the normal storage areas within the harbour were unavailable while repairs were being carried out to the berths.
This meant the removal of around 200 spaces at North Beach, but this parking was relocated to other areas, including the nearby East Arm of the QEII Marina.
Although that project is near completion, Guernsey Harbours now has planning permission to retain this section of North Beach for up to three years. This is due to space constraints at St Peter Port and the additional requirements for Condor's new ferry. It will enable the creation of a larger car marshalling area and freight compound, and improve traffic flows.
The Ports Master Plan, a comprehensive study of harbour requirements for the next 25 years and identifying priorities for development, which was published in 2013, identified:-
- "The landside area at St Peter Port - comprising the freight storage and handling areas, car marshalling yard, and North Beach Car Park - suffers from limited available space, leading to severe congestion and conflicts between public and commercial operators. Besides restricting operational functionality and efficiency, these conflicts lead to safety and security hazards."
Harbourmaster Captain Chad Murray said the new layout will greatly improve the area from an operational, safety and security perspective, without impacting on parking.
Around 99% of goods coming to or leaving Guernsey pass through the harbours. St Peter Port handles more than 200,000 tonnes of freight a year, including all food imports, and more than 350,000 ferry passengers travelling to and from Jersey, the UK, or France.
'These are lifeline services, which everyone in Guernsey relies upon. We could not function without the goods that come through St Peter Port, and the car ferry links that provide vital connections for tourism, leisure and business travel. However we have long-standing issues in maintaining these essential port operations, with all the modern security and safety requirements, within the confined area we have.' said Captain Murray.
The East Arm will now be retained as public parking, with some additional spaces provided along the southern side of the QE2 Marina. This will mean there is no loss of parking.
Captain Murray said that no complaints had been received from commuters after the initial change-over in 2012.
'For the last 2½ years the East Arm has been a convenient alternative while this section of North Beach was unavailable. By retaining this arrangement, we address some of our space requirements, and also improve port operation and traffic movement in and around the harbour.'
A wall at the eastern end of the North Beach, built in the 1980s when the area was reclaimed, has been demolished. The original harbour wall, which dates back to the 1800s and now separates the car park from the White Rock area, is unaffected apart for some finishing work around a section that was removed in 2012 to create a new exit.
The stone from there is being stored in case it needs to be reinstated in the future.
Condor's new Liberation vessel has capacity for 250 cars, but the previous marshalling yard had just 90 spaces. The new layout will increase this to 160, and add a third check-in lane to avoid congestion in and around the harbour when sailings are scheduled.
The roll-on roll-off (RoRo) freight compound will move to the far end of North Beach, and accommodate up to 55 inbound or outbound trailers - an increase of approximately 10. Condor's conventional vessels typically have capacity to carry 65.