25 February 2021
The Director of Civil Aviation (DCA) has reversed the instruction to remove the 1937 Arrivals Building at Jersey Airport on safety grounds. This decision has been welcomed by the Environment Minister, Deputy John Young, and the Minister for Housing and Communities, Deputy Russell Labey.
Previous DCAs had determined that the building needed to be demolished to ensure the safe operation of the airport, but the current DCA has decided that improvements in safety management systems, coupled with the development of new technologies, mean this is no longer necessary.
Deputy Young had arranged a planning inquiry to consider the Ports of Jersey’s application to demolish the building, which forms part of a £42 million redevelopment scheme. The inquiry will not be required once the planning permission is extinguished.
Deputy Young said: “I am glad this difficult issue has now been resolved by the DCA. The DCA has confirmed that the mitigation measures put in place by Ports of Jersey enable the Airport to operate safely in bad weather.
“Now that Ports of Jersey no longer require planning permission to demolish the terminal, discussions will take place to ensure that the permission can be extinguished. At that point, the need for a planning inquiry will fall away.”
Deputy Russell Labey, who used to chair the Planning Committee, brought a Private Member’s proposition to the States Assembly last year asking for the airport redevelopment scheme to be brought back to the States in the light of the impact of the Covid pandemic. He also asked for the decision to demolish the terminal building to be reconsidered. This proposition was approved by the Assembly.
Deputy Labey said: “I welcome this updated guidance that means the arrivals building, part of which dates back to 1937, can be retained. It’s important that we value our heritage, and only consider demolition when there is no other option. I am delighted that, in this case, another option has been identified which maintains safety for airport users but also safeguards one of our much-loved historic buildings.”
Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport & Culture, Senator Lyndon Farnham, also welcomed the updated guidance and advised that Ports of Jersey will now incorporate the arrivals building into its plans to redevelop the Airport, focusing its efforts on building the Island’s future air connectivity.
The DCA has overall responsibility for the safe operation of Jersey Airport.
In 2010 the then DCA first instructed Ports of Jersey to remove a number of buildings at the airport (including the arrivals building), and subsequently reconfirmed this decision in 2018 and 2020.
The Channel Island’s recently appointed DCA is Jersey’s most qualified safety regulator and has both re-examined the information provided to her predecessors and made her own investigations.