Save St Helier Fields has attempted to contact Prince Charles about proposals to build up to 76 affordable homes on a site near Mont à l’Abbé School which was identified in the draft Bridging Island Plan as one of 11 potential locations for development.
Hannah Curnock, who lives near the fields on Grande Route de St Jean, sent a letter on behalf of the group. Residents have objected to the plans, raising concerns over increased traffic, the impact on a nearby dairy and biodiversity in the area. In her letter, Mrs Curnock pointed to the Prince’s role as ‘the future Duke of Normandy’, and wrote that she had taken ‘a great interest in everything you have achieved with organic farming and your advocacy of wildlife protection and animal welfare standards’. The Duke of Normandy is one of the titles the Prince will inherit if and when he becomes King. It is the title by which the British monarch is known in the Channel Islands.
Mrs Curnock said: ‘Three fields which are deemed strategically highly important for dairy farming have been earmarked for affordable housing. The tenant farmer has spent over four years making these fields organic for his Jersey dairy herd and within a few years this could all be concreted over and he will lose his livelihood. His herd is the oldest established herd in the Island and he provides half of the Island’s organic milk supply.’
Mrs Curnock’s message also says that there is ‘an abundance of wildlife in these fields with hawks, bats and wild flowers’, with people coming from town ‘to walk and enjoy seeing the cows, rural landscape and tranquillity of the area which is important for mental health and wellbeing’.
The letter continues: ‘This would be an absolute travesty both for sustainability and the heritage of Jersey with its iconic cow.’
She said she hoped a response from Prince Charles, who has no jurisdiction in the matter, would make the government ‘see common sense’ and find an alternative brownfield location.
Residents have also lodged a ‘stop urban sprawl’ petition, which has accrued about 860 signatures.
St Helier Deputy Mary Le Hegarat has also lodged an amendment to the plan, calling for the three fields to be saved. Deputy Le Hegarat said the fields were ‘strategically important’ for the continuation of the farm’s business, and added that she found it ‘surprising’ that the fields had been included, as it was ‘clear’ the dairy herds needed land close to the farm.