The buildings on Pitt Street and Dumaresq Street include the iconic ‘Nipper the dog’ HMV logo and have fallen into disrepair – but the National Trust for Jersey will now be free to restore the buildings in conjunction with the wider development of the Charing Cross area.
The move follows a long running debate about the future of the buildings. Initial plans to replace them with shops, offices and parking were rejected by planners.
A petition delivered to the co-op society read: “The buildings in Pitt Street and Dumaresq Street are historically significant and as a group are the best surviving example of early mid-18th century townscape in St Helier. Appropriately repaired and brought back into use they have the potential to make a major contribution to the character, appearance and amenity of St Helier.”
The triangular Charing Cross block of St Helier was home to the headquarters of the old Jersey Co-operative Society – later to evolve into the Channel Island Co-op Society. The society gradually purchased the row of shops extending to the corner of Dumaresq Street during the 1960s and 70s.
The listing protection for the buildings describes them as “a small and rare surviving cluster of the old town quarter from the eighteenth and early nineteenth century and show how the town developed.
The buildings are also of special historical interest because they are some of the earliest homes in town (of which there were only 400 in 1734) and very few have survived.”
The National Trust for Jersey and campaign group Save Jersey’s Heritage launched a joint offer to buy the property from the Channel Islands Co-op for £1, therefore the saving the society the estimated £2.4m renovation costs and promising to preserve the heritage of the site.
The hand over of the property successfully went through court on 18 March.
We look forward to taking on the challenge of breathing new life into these buildings
Colin McLeod, chief executive officer of the Channel Islands Co-operative Society, said: “We are delighted to have reached this key milestone in the regeneration plans for Charing Cross and look forward to working alongside The National Trust for Jersey to ensure the sensitive restoration of these much loved heritage assets.
“Many islanders will remember buying their first records in the Foots shop and, under the stewardship of The National Trust, it’s fantastic that ‘Nipper’ will be restored to his former glory.”
National Trust for Jersey president Christopher Harris added: “The National Trust for Jersey is delighted to have been gifted these three historic buildings so that they can be repaired and permanently safeguarded for the benefit of the island.
“Despite their current state of repair, the buildings have a wealth of historic and architectural detail, and we look forward to taking on the challenge of breathing new life into these buildings. We are grateful to the board of the Channel Islands Co-operative Society for working with us to secure a sustainable future for these buildings, which espouses the benefit of heritage led regeneration.’