St. Andrew's Douzaine, Guernsey

Community Centre – Asset Swap

On Wednesday, 21st November, Parishioners and Rate Payers met at 7.00pm., in the Grammar School Lecture Theatre to discuss the acquisition by the Parish of those areas of the former St Andrew’s Primary School site which were either wholly owned by the States of Guernsey (the swimming pool area) or jointly owned between the States and the Parish of St Andrew (the area built in the 1960/70s, the car park and adjoining field area).

The meeting was informed by Constable Mr P Ward, that three options had been considered:

a) taking out a mortgage; b) taking a long term lease; c) an asset swap using the cottage adjoining the Douzaine Room.

It was noted that the part of the School site which was not already owned by the Parish had been valued at £442,500; the residential portion of La Grande Belle Cottage had been valued at £280,000. The old school site was presently let by the Parish on a 5 year lease to the St Andrew’s Community Centre LGB; in turn, the LGB had three paying tenants – a dance school, a nursery school and the Guernsey Dyslexia Centre. All three tenants had carried out considerable improvements to their respective areas and the LGB would be undertaking further much needed improvements to the facilities at the Community Centre, which included the rooms which were to be made available for public use.

Parishioners unanimously agreed to the above acquisition by way of an asset swap (option c) whereby the Parish would relinquish ownership of the residential portion only of La Grande Belle Cottage (the cottage adjoining the Douzaine Room) in exchange for all of the States of Guernsey’s interests in the site of the former school. It was noted that were the Parish to sell off any part of the property which had been transferred from the States within twenty years, a percentage of any profits arising from the sale would have to be remitted to the States of Guernsey (on a sliding scale depending on the number of years which had elapsed since the Parish took over ownership).

Concern was expressed about school traffic travelling from St Andrew’s Road. It was noted that the dance school was now employing an ex-Police officer to assist traffic in the hopes that this would improve flow/direction at peak times. Discussions had also been held with the States on the subject of traffic and other possibilities were being considered.

In conclusion, the Dean of the Douzaine Mr G Guilbert thanked the Constables Messrs M Thwaite and P Ward for the considerable amount of work they had undertaken to arrive at this most satisfactory outcome.  He also thanked the members of the Board of the LGB for making the St Andrew’s Community Centre such a success – and at no cost to the Parish. These comments were endorsed by everyone present.

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Although there has been and still is, much sadness surrounding the closure by the States of what was St Andrew’s thriving Primary School, at least now it is once again alive to the hustle, bustle and sounds of children and young people from all around the Island productively and constructively enjoying their lives to the full!