Guernsey Harbour Area – Building For Tomorrow


Historical Decisions

St. Peter Port’s first man-made harbour was built in 1275. The construction of the harbour as we know it was begun in the 1850s after 20 years of deliberation by the States. At this time the harbour area was increased from 4.5 to 73 acres to include a large anchorage, a floating dock, shipbuilding yards and a careening hard.

The Guernsey we enjoy today was built by our predecessors and ancestors. Throughout Guernsey’s history we can see examples of where those in charge at the time have made bold investments into the island’s infrastructure in order to facilitate our sustainable growth. Making big investments in the future is a daunting task. Nonetheless we have a responsibility to the island’s future generations to ensure our infrastructure continues to evolve and be fit for purpose.

Other previous examples can be seen with the land reclamation of the Braye in the early 1800s, forming a connection we now rely on in the island’s day to day functionality. Likewise the land reclamation which took place in the 1980s to create North Beach and the QE2 marina; which faced significant opposition at the time and was barely approved by the States. Looking back on these decisions today, few would argue that these developments have not been economic enablers for Guernsey.

Guernsey Harbour at Sunset

The States Plan

The Island Development Plan, introduced in 2016, identifies a requirement to consider the Harbour Action Areas (HAAs). This is a positive step in bringing forward plans for the development and expansion of these areas.

Members of Guernsey’s Chamber of Commerce recently produced a document which sets out a suggested Framework for how Guernsey’s Harbour Areas could be developed, advising a community-led vision, along with private and public investment vehicles.

Even more encouragingly, The States of Guernsey’s Committee for Economic Development recently published a paper which outlines Guernsey’s Economic Vision. Amongst other important areas identified where States active encouragement and investment will be necessary to allow for economic growth, the redevelopment of St Peter Port Harbour is presented as a key issue growing in momentum.

The CFED advise that a coordinated approach is taking place whereby four of Guernsey’s committees (P&R, CfED, CfE&I and the STSB) are coming together to progress the first stage of works in the enhancement of the Harbour Area, and that this is one of the States twenty-three prioritised policies.

The danger, of course, with such a process that there are too many cooks!  For all the interested parties mentioned to agree a masterplan is a major challenge – particularly in a timescale that ensures the document is still relevant when implemented.

Celebrating 60 Years

Lovell Ozanne are about to celebrate 60 years as architects on this Island.  When we look back at the many projects and dreams that have been discussed over this time frame it becomes apparent that focused and clear objectives on a fixed programme is the only way to avoid a project disappearing into the bottom draw of a filing cabinet never to see the light of day.

Clearly this is the infrastructure project of the generation and has the potential for Guernsey to demonstrate that we are a forward and outward-looking community. It is crucial now, more than ever, that we continue to build momentum and look to creating a legacy we can be proud of. This means that we need to focus on the bigger picture and avoid getting distracted by short-term negativity.