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KOS 1 & 2 Public Workshop Feedback Summary

KOS 1 & 2 Public workshop feedback summary

On Monday 9th September, the Government of Jersey held a community engagement event at the Radisson Blue Hotel consisting of two public workshop sessions. The second session provided by Jersey Development Company and facilitated by The Design Council gave the opportunity to discuss two Key Opportunity sites (KOS) at St Helier’s Waterfront.

The workshop was built on the discussion, suggestions and advice from the public consultation of the South West St Helier (SWSH) Planning Framework held earlier in the first session. The participants had the opportunity to focus on KOS 1 & 2 to convey their priorities for each site through a series of visioning exercises.

A broad range of participants included those from the design, building and architect industry, environmentalists, lobbying groups, past and present politicians, students, St Helier residents & businesses and other interested parties and individuals.

In conclusion, we are pleased to publish below the outcomes from the public workshop which have been compiled by The Design Council.

Where relevant, these priorities were in alignment with the design principles set out in the SWSH Planning framework. Overall, the emerging theme was of ensuring that any forthcoming development or design strategy for KOS 1 & 2 is supported by comprehensive public engagement and a robust approach to connectivity, open space, uses, and acceptable building scale. The community expressed the need for each emerging scheme to relate to its context and for the vision to be ambitious whilst providing benefit to the wider community.

General Priorities for KOS 1 & 2

Connectivity

As with the general discussion on the principle of Connectivity in the SWSH Planning Framework, the participants suggested that connectivity should be prioritised in the development of KOS 1 & 2 to strengthen the connection to and continuity with the town centre. The specific details considered by the participants were focussed on the Route de la Liberation as a barrier to pedestrian movement, with general support for a pedestrian/cycle crossing.

Further consensus was found on the aspiration to improve the quality of the pedestrian environment and ease of routes across southwest St Helier beyond the red line of KOS 1 and 2. From these points of consensus, many groups differed in the approach to achieving connectivity, however all groups used expected desire lines from the International Finance Centre to the marina, seawall and Jardin de la Mer to inform the size and position of plots KOS 1 & 2.

The majority of groups considered the need to strengthen existing cycle links along the Esplanade by providing safe routes through KOS 1 & 2 and across Route de la Liberation through to the town centre.

Open space and public realm

The support for open space within the SWSH Planning Framework was articulated in the priorities for KOS 1 & 2. Participants prioritised making best use of the existing public space and public realm beyond the red line of KOS 1 & 2 and providing additional open space to connect these spaces together.

As with the priorities for connectivity, open space was expected to orientate towards the sea to the west of KOS 2 and provide long and short-distance views of the sea. Where space was initially allocated there was a range of opinions about how prevailing winds would affect the quality of these spaces, with a preference for sheltered spaces. There was consideration of Jardin de la Mer, its size and location and whether it could be reconfigured within the emerging plan or re-designed to accommodate underground parking as with other successful spaces in SWSH.

A boardwalk landscape treatment was supported along the sea front, with participants emphasising a need for places to sit. The Aker Brygge precedent in Oslo was supported to achieve this.

Uses

The participants were conscious of how the expected uses could inform the approach to both sites and there were a variety of views on what types of uses the participants would like to see on KOS 1 & 2.

Generally, there was support for a range of uses that would be commercially viable and add public benefit, with examples being cafes, restaurants and bars to support the night-time economy as well as community spaces, galleries and museums that could act as a genuine destination.

Among some participants, there was a desire to see activity and vibrancy across both sites that could provide something for all of St Helier’s residents – the notion that these prominent sites should give something back to the island. There was a general acceptance that these two sites could deliver significant housing with commercial and community uses on the ground floor, relieving pressure on other parts of the island. 

Building form and scale

The participants’ priorities for building form and scale were divergent across the group. However, the exercise did reveal support for greater scale, particularly on KOS 2. Participants also prioritised the need for sheltered spaces on both sites that could achieve a sense of human scale alongside taller buildings. Among the divergent views was a discussion of where a landmark tall building would be appropriate and if so, what form could it take. While there was no consensus on this matter, the discussion presented an interesting range of views that was broadly sympathetic to greater scale.

Regarding building form, there was also a range of views and no broad consensus. Some participants emphasised the need for buildings on KOS 1 & 2 to step back from the street edge and sea front, whereas others were comfortable with a bulkier building form on KOS2. Copenhagen’s harbour front was highlighted as a good precedent for the building form and façade.

However, there was general agreement on the need to reflect on what makes St Helier special, to understand how the historic urban form has dealt with prevalent weather conditions and to replicate that quality in the new development.

Regarding the detailed approach for architecture and landscape design, the participants’ achieved some consensus that the developments on KOS 1 & 2 should find a balance to avoid either a pastiche of St Helier or a typically ‘urban’ architecture. There was also a predominant view that a range of architectural styles and forms across both sites would be supported to add variety and visual interest. These echoed comments made that the site layout should have a finer grain than the existing parts of South West St Helier.

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