18 March 2014
The Minister for Planning and Environment, Deputy Rob Duhamel, has approved an application by the airport authorities to demolish Jersey Airport’s arrivals and baggage hall.
Known as the ‘Airport 1937 building’, it is on Jersey’s list of Sites of Special Interest as a Grade 2 listed building. It currently houses airport arrivals, offices for airport staff and the Met Department.
Under normal circumstances, the Planning Minister would not allow the demolition of a listed building with significant historical and architectural significance. However, Deputy Duhamel has agreed to the application following advice from the airport authorities that the building affects the safety and operational capabilities of Jersey Airport. They argue that demolition is necessary to comply with current safety standards.
Initially, a decision on the application was delayed while other options to retain the building were considered. The option of moving the runway was explored and subsequently discounted when a 3D model of the airport clearly showed what the projected impact would be on other buildings and the neighbourhood around the airport.
Director of Development Control, Department of the Environment, Peter Le Gresley, said “The Planning and Environment Minister fully recognises the heritage value of the 1937 building. However, having carefully considered all the relevant issues, he considers that the requirements of Jersey Airport are the over-riding factor, and he has reluctantly approved the demolition of the existing building.”
Deputy Duhamel has put a number of conditions on the approval of the application. Among these is a requirement that, before the building is demolished, it will be fully surveyed to ensure Jersey preserves a record of the structure, in line with Island Plan policy, and that if any hidden historic features are found, work will be suspended until the Minister reviews them.
Group Chief Executive Officer for Ports of Jersey, Doug Bannister, making a statement on behalf of Jersey Airport, said that he welcomed the decision. "We presented Deputy Duhamel with a robust case for the building’s demolition on the grounds of safety. I can appreciate the difficulties faced in reaching this decision having considered the argument for preserving a small piece of Jersey’s past against the detrimental impact it could have on the Island’s future air travel.
"We answered many questions about our reasons for the demolition application and explained, in real terms, the impact it would have on our future operations if it were to be refused. Having advised the Director of Civil Aviation of this positive outcome I am assured by him that these restrictions will no longer be imposed as we are now addressing the safety issues.
“This decision allows us to move forward and define our future development programme, which, as part of our long-term capital works plans, will see the construction of a new arrivals facility at Jersey Airport, the subsequent demolition of the current building and removal of the old Jersey hangar, which also impedes the agreed safety zone.”