Take a vote amongst Jersey folk as to what is the biggest monstrosity on the Island and they’ll probably have the top three as
- The Waterfront
- The Portelet Bay apartments
- The Incinerator at La Collette
Not necessarily in that order. Today I decided to have a little stroll around Portelet Common. It’s a good while since I’ve been around there; the last time I found some Spartan cross-country flags still in place! The Common is now a designated nature reserve I see. Anyway, I looked landward from a precarious clifftop position with a gale blowing and saw the controversial apartments development for the first time. And to me they actually look very nice. The award-winning design, the colours of off-white and green, the aesthetics as a whole. It’s fine – I wish I had one!
Now, given a say in the matter back at the planning stage I’d have voted for the whole of the former Butlins (later Pontins) holiday village to be demolished and the site returned to nature. But whatever you say it looks a whole lot better than it did twenty or so years ago. And I’m sure palms were greased along the way to ensure maximum profit for the developers, but that’s the way it works all over the world.
Now, the Incinerator. Hold on a minute while I look out of my apartment window. Yes, there it is, a big cuboid thing sitting on the reclaimed land this side of the power station. And it’s fine! I’m not offended by it. The view it obscures is of the power station, fuel tanks etc. There was nothing there before only sea and reclamation rubble. It’s given a break to Bellozanne which used to be one of our prettiest valleys and has transferred the function to an industrial landscape. Get over it!
Now let me tell you what I find ugly; the reinforced, barbed wire fence that cuts off Portelet House from the common. It’s dreadful. Why can’t the owners find it within themselves to allow walkers to wander the wooded slopes of their property? I didn’t see them out admiring the grounds themselves, so why not show a bit of graciousness. Take a leaf from the books of St Ouen’s Manor, Samares Manor, St George’s Manor, Radier Manor, the Perchards and their Trinity farm, Reg Langlois’ place at Tabor, to name but a few privately-owned places that can tolerate visitors without resorting to barbed wire. Shame on you.
And OK, I’ll let you have the Waterfront – that’s ugly.