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How green is our valley?

St Helier parkland is once again under threat. When the Parish took the decision to allow the JEC substation, a vital piece of public infrastructure, to be built in Westmount Park, it was comforted by the fact that the Parish was given a woodland area at the western end of the park which is three times the size of the land lost. Val André was formally opened in July 2017, in the presence of groups including the Parish’s Community in Bloom Group, the West of Town Community Association and Haute Vallée School. If the new hospital goes up at Overdale, will that precious green space be taken back? The ink is scarcely dry on the agreement.

People’s Park was withdrawn by the former Minister of Health & Social Services from the original short list of sites for the new hospital just moments before my proposition, P.3/2016, seeking its removal was debated. The new Government put it back on again last year before my amendment to P.5/2019 had it removed. I remain confident that People’s Park will not be built on, precisely because it is the ‘people’s’ park’. I have been contacted by numerous individuals and organisations, not only in St Helier but from the Island as a whole, who rely on this important area of open space protected by its woodland escarpment, and I believe that public opposition to the possibility that the hospital be built here will only grow. The Overdale option, however, could well impact on St Helier’s green spaces; in particular, Westmount Woods and Val André (to say nothing of the potential impact on the homes of nearby residents).

We must continue the fight to protect our green spaces: People’s Park, Westmount Woods, Val André. The Government is hoping to push its latest hospital plans through our States Assembly before Christmas in order to take our land, using compulsory purchase if necessary, by autumn next year. I am determined to stop this from happening.

Simon Crowcroft, Constable of St Helier