An impact report by the Société Jersiaise finds that the proposed road access to the Overdale Hospital site has the potential to cause significant damage to the form, character and appearance of Westmount.
This could have an adverse effect on the special interest of People’s Park, as this familiar promontory forms a powerful and symbolic backdrop to the public open space which has been given statutory protection because of its intrinsic historic and cultural value. In light of such risk the Société Jersiaise has produced a report outlining the historical and cultural context of the site.
The report is shorter than intended because of the sudden rescheduling of the State’s debate on the road proposal, the commentary the report offers is therefore restricted to a few key issues.
It has been acknowledged that this road line will cause disruption to the northern and eastern edges of People’s Park, a listed place, but the extent to which this harm to the historic park and its boundary trees can be mitigated is unclear.
A decision to approve this proposal in principle could nullify the established planning policies and established procedures which seek to protect the Island’s character and facilitate public involvement in significant proposals.
Stuart Fell, Vice-President Société Jersiaise said: “Our conclusion, based on the lack of evidence to the contrary, is that the impacts of the proposed road access on the historical, cultural and visual significance of Westmount could be considerable and that a decision to proceed with this proposal without due regard to these matters would be very regrettable.”
“Société Jersiaise is not a campaigning body but among its aims are the dissemination of knowledge about the Island’s history, culture and natural history, and also an active interest in the conservation of the Island’s environment, both natural and man-made. We are very concerned that a decision to approve the principle of this proposed access might be made in the absence of a proper understanding of the cultural significance of Westmount as well as its scenic importance as one of the most important and prominent landmarks in the Island.”
There is concern that if the Westmount Road decision is taken, it would tend to nullify the established planning policies and established procedures which seek to protect the Island’s character and facilitate public involvement in significant proposals.
Jersey’s States Assembly Scrutiny report ‘Future Hospital Review Panel – Access Route to Overdale’ was released at the weekend and can be read here.