A few days ago I was taking a photograph of the Quennevais Precinct when a man stopped and asked what I was doing. When I told him I was standing for election he said: “Well, I live here and I think they should knock the whole place down and start again!” That’s a dramatic point of view, unlikely to be shared by many of the other residents, but it captures the sense that the Precinct is no longer fit for purpose.
Supposedly Les Quennevais is now the island’s “second town”, but is it really? If it’s a town then the precinct is the town centre, but does it look like a town centre? We all know it could be so much better. That’s not to do down the efforts of businesses and residents, who do the best they can with ageing buildings. What’s needed is a vision for a new Les Quennevais precinct. It is worth investigating whether a private company might be interested in buying the whole precinct for redevelopment, but this is a long shot, particularly given the complex issues of land and home ownership. Failing a complete redevelopment, there is still so much that could done. What if the car park went underground for example? Or imagine how stunning the little square off the precinct could be if it was developed by a creative architect or urban designer?
I believe the precinct and Red Houses are both exciting opportunities for renovation. We should involve the community, local groups, businesses and government in turning Les Quennevais into a hub with services and shops that mean we will need to make fewer trips to town.
What do you think? Knock it down? Renovate? What needs to be provided? I’d love to hear your thoughts.