MAJOR plans to redevelop the Waterfront could be the first casualty of Jersey’s lack of space to store contaminated waste.
The Planning Department says that it cannot support an outline application by the Jersey Development Company to build 984 flats with basement parking, plus new leisure and arts facilities, shops, streets, gardens and flood defences.
The application will be the subject of a public inquiry next month which will be chaired by an independent planning inspector, who will make a recommendation to the Environment Minister as to whether the ‘South West St Helier’ project should be approved or not.
One of the key documents that feeds into that process is a ‘statement of case’ from Planning, which sets out the department’s own views on the proposal.
Although the decision will ultimately be the minister’s, the thoughts of the Island’s planning authority clearly carries weight.
Its view is that the current plans, particularly the proposal to dig out 237,437m3 of contaminated waste to create underground parking and service space is not feasible – because the Island has nowhere to put the toxic spoil.
In its statement of case, Planning argues: ‘The department recognises the identified need for housing and the potential contribution that this site makes to meeting this need.
‘However, notwithstanding this, on balance the department is of the view that it cannot support the proposed development in its current form.’
It adds: ‘The development is predicated on significant areas of basement excavation to provide underground parking, plant and equipment.
‘These works will yield a significant volume of untreated contaminated material. The application proposes that this will be disposed of at La Collette.
‘In its initial consideration of the application, the department had concerns regarding the capacity of La Collette to receive this waste.
‘The environmental impact statement [a document submitted by JDC] categorises the effect of the development on landfill void capacity as a permanent, Islandwide adverse impact of major significance.
‘This concern has been compounded by the Planning Committee’s resolution on 16 March 2023 to refuse planning permission for the continued landfilling of contaminated and inert material at La Collette.
‘There is currently no identified means of disposal of contaminated waste arising from the development.’
The reason that the soil at the Waterfront is contaminated is because the reclamation site was allowed to be filled with ash from the Bellozanne incinerator mixed with inert waste.