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Townies don’t need cars, right?

Wrong! As a statutory consultee on all planning applications for development in St Helier, for 20 years our Roads Committee has been asking the planners to ensure that any new housing in the Parish should include, where possible, sufficient car parking.

Of course, it’s not always possible to do that but if it is – such as was the case when a large commercial building alongside West’s Centre was converted into flats – the Committee believes that it’s essential, and in that particular case we were listened to, and a proportion of those new residents now have the option of owning a vehicle if they wish.

Increasingly, however, we are seeing new housing developments approved with insufficient car parking – recently the Jersey Brewery site was approved with just 0.25 parking spaces per unit, the result being that parishioners who need a car are forced either to rent a private space away from their home or to make their already complicated lives more difficult by continually having to hunt for an on-street space. Then, when visitors to town in the evenings at weekends need to park in Minden Place Car Park, for example, they find it full of residents’ cars.

The new parking standards for residential development due to be adopted by Government will make it even harder for a St Helier resident to own a car, though these tough new rules won’t apply to residents in other parishes. We’re being told that car parking in town adds to congestion, but who causes the morning and evening rush hour? Most people who live in town enjoy their ability to leave their car at home (if they can) and walk or cycle to work, to school or to the shops. If they own a car they use it to make trips to the beach or the garden centre or an off-Island getaway. If the Government wants to reduce car ownership (as distinct from car use) it needs to take measures across the board and not penalise St Helier residents.

A.S. Crowcroft, Connétable de St Hélier: 20.04.23