17 December 2013
Education Sport and Culture Minister, Deputy Patrick Ryan has issued the following statement:
"A St Brelade site north of Belle Vue/south of the Airport is to be explored as a potential location for a new Les Quennevais secondary school. As Minister for Education, Sport and Culture, I am supporting a feasibility study to assess whether the project can proceed to the next stage.
"There is general agreement that the current buildings have numerous deficiencies that would be costly and difficult to remediate. Ultimately, whatever we do with the buildings, the site remains too small for a secondary school and is poorly situated in the middle of a residential development with significant traffic problems. A refurbishment or rebuild on the current site would be severely disruptive for the school and the community. It is not the best solution.
"The Les Quennevais project has been put back for a number of years but is becoming increasingly urgent as the building ages, the requirements of the curriculum change and student numbers increase. It is now absolutely critical that we work towards a new secondary school for the west of the Island and I believe it should be built on a different site. A new Les Quennevais school should be one of the States’ priorities.
Various options considered
"Initially, publically-owned sites were considered. The most feasible option was the south-east corner of the Les Quennevais sports field adjacent to the Railway Walk and on the site of the tennis courts and part of the cycle track. Access would still be through a residential area and there would be an impact on the sporting facilities.
"I believe there is a better option. The Planning and Environment Minister, Deputy Rob Duhamel, and his team have advised that all potential opportunities should be considered, not just those in public ownership. This has included an alternative site on private land opposite the Airport playing fields, south of La Rue Carrée and west of La Route des Quennevais.This has the potential to offer significant advantages:
- direct access to the main road, taking traffic out of Les Quennevais Park Estate and Clos des Sables;
- sufficient space for an adequately sized school with potential to expand to accommodate increased pupil numbers in future if necessary;
- additional outdoor space and amenities that could be used by the community;
- a convenient location with pedestrian access for students in the Les Quennevais area.
"Most of the land under consideration is currently in Parish or private ownership and landowners are now aware of the proposal.
"I must stress that the project is at an extremely early stage and we have a long way to go before we are even in a position to confirm that this is the right site. However, the Council of Ministers have indicated they would support a funding proposal as part of the next Medium Term Financial Plan.
"The next step is to conduct a detailed feasibility study to confirm whether the proposed site is suitable. I am delighted that funding for this piece of work has been made available and Jersey Property Holdings can now start it. I am grateful to the Treasury for its support.
"ESC has made a submission to the current Island Plan review to highlight the need for a new school in the west of the Island, potentially in the green zone. Any site proposed for the development of the new school would still have to go through the formal planning process, which will include a thorough appraisal of transport issues, an environmental impact assessment and a full public consultation on any subsequent planning application.
Major but essential investment
"A new secondary school will be a major but essential investment in education for children in the west of the Island. States Members will decide whether to pursue the proposal when they consider future capital expenditure at the end of next year. If they do, the aim would be to start building in 2016 with a view to opening a new Les Quennevais School in 2018.
"More details will be made available as the project progresses but we are moving in the right direction with the prospect of creating an important new school that will meet the needs of our young people in future and ensure all our students have access to a suitable, modern school in which to learn."