Battle Continues Over Old Police Station Site

Home Affairs want a joint fire and ambulance station to be built there, but there is huge support for Rouge Bouillon School to use it.

The Director-General of Home Affairs hopes to get permission to build a joint fire and ambulance station at Rouge Bouillon, much to the dismay of the Children's Commissioner who wants it to be used for a school expansion.

Speaking to Scrutiny, Julian Blazeby says the Home Affairs Minister wants a joint station to ensure response times are at least matching the current ones.

He called Rouge Bouillon 'the most appropriate site' to combine the two - given the current conditions of both stations.

"We looked at, for example, Warwick Farm or Bellozanne - quite appropriate sites but then actually all the analysis was carried out and actually the response times were increased if those sites were going to be used, so that took us back to the current Rouge Bouillon site.

"(Bellozanne) does increase response times by about one minute and thirty seconds. We're actually cognisant of the fact that there needs to be work done through CYPES and other colleagues.

"I'm hearing some very positive soundings in relation to alternatives (for education) within the area of St Helier. I don't have that detail, as you'd expect."

Rouge Bouillon headteacher Russell Price wrote a letter to Scrutiny last year, saying he was frustrated at not being able to use the 'rare opportunity staring us all in the face'.

He also said it wasn't right that his pupils have no playing field or green space to enjoy - and that while they have a specialist autism unit, parents can't park at the school to bring the children in or meet the staff at the end of the day.

The old police station was vacated several years ago, with Infrastructure Minister Deputy Kevin Lewis saying in June last year that the Covid-19 crisis had delayed a review on what should be done with it.

Constable Simon Crowcroft, former Education Minister Senator Tracey Vallois, ex-St Helier Deputy Jackie Hilton, and several sitting town politicians have all indicated their support for Rouge Bouillon School using the site.

Former Children's Minister Senator Sam Mezec says new facilities for schools in town need to be prioritised, with the Children's Commissioner tweeting her displeasure at the site possibly being used for other means.

She asked "a better school for Rouge Bouillon or better premises for emergency services? What do you think puts children first?"

Mr. Blazeby says while he knows there are competing demands, the fire and ambulance stations need replacing and this is a great opportunity to combine them.

"We are just pausing our work while we allow colleagues in education to work through their site recommendations before we can take it back to the Fiscal Oversight Group and get some direction forward, which will take us forward to the planning stage.

"We have funding to enable us to achieve that at the moment and realistically if the Rouge Bouillon site is chosen as the preferred site for the fire and ambulance station, then we'd be looking to make progress through planning later this year and then start looking to make changes next year for a full build."

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