Thursday 11 February 2016
A summary of the feedback gained from November's public consultation workshop.
In response to a number of concerns about changes to the Town seafront and harbour areas, the Chief Minister established a Town Seafront Working Group in the latter half of 2015. The Group has met on a number of occasions and has, by a majority, reached the conclusion that the issues involved require a coordinated approach if we are to address them appropriately.
It was decided that the most appropriate way forward was to first consult the public on whether there is consensus that there is a need for government action. In this respect, it invited members of the public and representatives of groups with an interest in the future of the Town seafront, to attend a workshop on 12th November. The purpose of the workshop was to highlight the issues that exist and seek feedback from participants about these pressures and to identify whether there is an appetite for change in the future for the Town seafront area.
Factual information was presented around the themes of:
- tourism and the economy,
- the functional harbour,
- culture and leisure, and
- the environment.
Workshop attendees were asked to consider the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that were presented in these areas. Open discussion took place and the attendees were able to indicate whether they agreed with the information presented and to add additional strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats if they felt they had not been covered.
Based on the results from the workshop, there is a clear indication that the majority of those who participated had an appetite for some strategic, longer term change to the way in which the Town seafront is utilised, to help to deliver social, environmental and economic benefits to the Island community. It was of significant interest that there was overwhelming recognition of the potential to make improvements to the area, although exactly what those improvements might be was not fully articulated. Not only were further opportunities identified, but also some potential barriers to change and a recognition of the need to balance a number of competing demands.
After the meeting, attendees were asked to give their feedback on the quality of the workshop and overall everyone was either very satisfied or satisfied. However, many were also right to recognise that a solution which satisfied all would not be easy to arrive at.
The Town Seafront Working Group consider that this initial workshop was successful. However, it is conscious of the fact that, while those in attendance were representing a diverse range of interest groups, only 34 attendees took part (out of a total of 50 people who indicated that they would attend). The Town Seafront Working Group recognise that wider public consultation is necessary before it is confident in progressing further. To that end, the Working Group will be meeting in the near future to consider plans for wider engagement.
Jonathan Le Tocq, Chair of the Town Seafront Working Party, said:
"The States and the community need to work together to develop tangible solutions that meet the identified and agreed needs of our community and make the best use of our Town seafront area. Ultimately, it is the belief of the Group that further engagement will help to clarify the next steps and, if the response from the wider community aligns with that gathered at the first public consultation workshop, it will support the group in taking this forward."
The draft Island Development Plan identifies an area at the Town seafront as a Harbour Action Area. If adopted by the States later this year, this will provide a planning policy gateway to produce a Development Brief for the area. It is the intention of the Town Seafront Working Group that its work will ultimately form part of the broader picture for planning policy guidance for development within the area and a Harbour Action Area plan, taking into account the wider Town area needs. Therefore there will be even greater opportunity for public engagement ahead of any ideas for change being agreed by the States.
You can find all the updated and further information, including the findings from the workshop, here: https://gov.gg/townseafrontconsultation