Five sites identified as possibles to fulfill growing need for social housing

HOUSING has released details of five areas that could be used to help deal with the island’s growing need for social housing.

HOUSING has released details of five areas that could be used to help deal with the island’s growing need for social housing.

It has earmarked four in St Sampson’s – Belgrave Vinery, Pointues Rocques, Saltpans, and Franc Fief – and one in St Peter Port – La Vrangue – as potential sites. All would require States approval.

With the exception of Belgrave Vinery, the others are privately owned.

Housing minister Dave Jones said the soon-to-be-released results of his department’s recent Housing Needs Survey, which will identify the island’s total housing needs, not just social, would shape the direction of policy over the next five years.

.

Comments for: "Five sites identified as possibles to fulfill growing need for social housing"

Ex Delancey

If Pointues Rocques, Saltpans or Franc Fief are developed, some serious work is going to be need to be done on the roads in the area. It's already murder around Robergerie, Round Chimney, Rue des Monts etc in the mornings, if a few hundred extra houses would make it an absolute nightmare.

I presume that these sites will not be acquired at the full commercial rate for building plots, bearing in mind the change of use issues. Maybe Dave Jones could expand on this point?

Dave Jones

That is not how some of the HTA’s work, these are potential housing sites in private hands, apart from Belgrave Vinery of course which is owned by the States.

In order to get some social housing homes on these developments there will have to be planning agreements between the Environment dept (planners) and the developer. These are called Planning covenants which are binding on the developer to provide within the project a certain number of homes for social or partial ownership tenants by agreement with the Housing and Environment dept’s.

The cost of these homes to the States will be agreed with the developer at the time of the planning agreement and without any planning covenant, the development may not get planning permission in the first place, so it is government looking for cooperation with private developers, to bring about affordable housing beneficial to the community as a whole.

It is of course slightly more detailed than that and those details will be worked out at the time. You have to remember that this is a first for Guernsey and just as with the GHA, Housing is leading the way on pioneering planning agreements. Anyway, that is the general principle of the HTA’s.

JamieC

Mr. Jones, Forgive me if I don't quite understand...

What you are saying appears to be that the developer would, by introducing social housing for the States, be able to achieve planning on a site that would otherwise not be granted.

Is that the case?

Dave Jones

Jamie.

Not nessaserily, the planning covenants would only apply to those sites that have already been identified as HTA's by the Enviroment department.

JamieC

Thank you for replying, Mr. Jones, but I really do want to clarify this.

Assuming that a site WAS one of the designated Housing Target Areas, AND privately owned, are you saying that a developer would, by covenanting to include social housing for the States, be more likely to achieve planning on a site?

(Sorry this maybe slightly out of sequence due to the forum 'reply' feature)

JamieC

The States have a history of not paying properly for the sites they buy. The mechanism used to be:

A) Zone, or keep zoned for non commercial/residential use, where the private owner could not even make an application (so they couldn't even appeal).

B) Purchase at that low price.

C) Use Article 30 of the 1966 Planning Law - "States not bound be law". Build what they wanted, without planning consent.

(sometimes 'B' would be performed by a 3rd party)

Now the law has changed, so they have to be a bit more subtle now. I am compiling a list of such sites.

If this happened to you, please email me privately: jamiec at email.cz

Dave Jones

Basically yes

The HTA would be unlikely to be released without such agreement. It is pointless to carry on building houses on ever diminishing areas of land that are unaffordable for most people. we have to have the type of housing that is desperatly needed.

The whole idea of HTA’s is to release them when they are needed but with these planning agreements in place.

JamieC

I take it you are replying to my post of October 8, 2012 at 10:44 pm about the HTAs.

To say that a developer/land owner would have to provide cheaper grade (social) housing in order to get planning is tantamount to blackmail.

You can't do this. You are determining planning (a quasi-judicial process) on the basis of your own need. You become a judge in your own cause. Think about it...

I have no interest in the sites whatsoever, but the principle is obviously wrong. If you want social housing, well, buy the land at a proper commercial free market rate for the same use class and develop it yourselves.

But to expect a private entity to pick up the cost doesn't bear scrutiny, as does any argument that 'they wouldn't get planning otherwise (because we're not going to give it to them), so this is a cost that they should bear'.

Dave Jones

It's not blackmail ,it is cooperation between the States and private developers, It is also something that is done in many other places, it will just be a first for us.

JamieC

Well, I (and I'm sure plenty of others) would beg to differ:

'If you don't give us housing on your site we won't give you planning' can be nothing else.

'Cooperation' because the private developer/owner has no choice other than to leave the land wasted.

Why not buy the land on the free market?

Sumner

With the greatest of respect to Dave Jones, a man for whom I genuinely have respect (and in contrast to some others in the States), I think he over-simplifies things when discussing and answering points made about HTA's.

The Environment Department policy on HTA's is set out in Policy HO8 in the Urban Area Plan and until that is replaced by a new Plan, that is the benchmark against which any planning application in an HTA must be measured and decided. And believe me folks...its says nothing about the Housing Department's role in that decision, nor any "planning covenants". Rather, the planners (still referred to as the IDC in the outdated Plan) have to first commission an Outline Planning Brief for the HTA as a whole, and when that is prepared the States have to formally adopt it. Only then can they even consider a planning application. So in the case of HTA's with no adopted OPB, we are talking years before any decisions can be made and even then there is no provison for these planning covenants that Mr Jones refers to. HOWEVER, the environment department are working on a repacement to the Urban and Rural Area Plans...so perhaps he knows that this sort of social policy (shared ownership schemes and affordable housing) is going to be enshrined in planning policy for the first time....? Whether that is true or not remains to be seen, but if residents close to any of the HTAs need any comfort I am willing to bet that it will be well over 3 years before anything gets done in any of them! They have been in place for over a decade already!

Terry Langlois

Jamie C, you are objecting to something that is absolutely standard practice all over the place.

Tesco has funded many school buildings, playgrounds, etc around the UK, not out of altruistic endeavours, but because the planning authorities make it a condition of allowing them to build a huge out of town shop that they put something back into the community. Many housing developments will only get passed if there is a proportion of affordable housing, etc., etc.

You suggest that this practice is wrong, but it is entirely right. The planning authorities are the guardians of the landscape and the community. If they don't insist that the developers build what the community needs, rather than just what sells at the highest price, then who will???

JamieC

Terry, whilst I take your point, I don't think the two are comparable.

Tesco building a 'huge out of town shop' that is by nature destructive of a town centre and the town requiring the owner of that shop to 'put something back in' is a rather different kettle of fish to forcing a private, most likely Guernsey family who probably have owned land for a long time to subsidise a Government's obligation to provide social housing.

As I said before: Why not buy the land on the free market?

Or is it the perception that anyone owning land should pay? If that is the case, then I doubt that you, or I or Mr. Jones would be too pleased if it were our land.

James

Jamie C

Re the rezoning issue.. Oatlands springs to mind !!! Could Mr Kauffman-Kent be a third party as referred to in B ?

Just a thought !

JamieC

I wasn't thinking of any particular person. Of course there are people with close ties to the Environment Department or former IDC & who, as repeated rumour would have it, had a beneficial interest in various property dealings or companies, whether to do with construction or sale. It would be very easy to digress into a witch-hunt & that wouldn't benefit the Island.

What I'm after are contacts with people who feel they have been cheated out of the value of their land by the States, or a third party able to manipulate the planning process.

Typically that would be a greenhouse/vinery site subsequently purchased by the States and then used for a different use class or a residential site where only minimal planning was granted, the site sold on that basis/value and a much larger development sprang up, with the third party reaping the difference.

Guernsey gossip being what it is, one hears many such stories over the years. But no one likes to make a fuss, because they fear that any future planning that they might seek on another site would be compromised, or that there is no realistic process by which they can make a complaint. Or that the complaint would be dismissed or quashed.

Employing an Advocate to represent them would be prohibitively expensive etc. etc.

Rachel

Interesting comments JamieC- I'm sure there would be many people, including myself, interested in hearing about what you uncover in your investigations. GP should get on the case too. Good luck.

JamieC

Well, I know of 2 to 3 cases now, but I would encourage more people to come forward.

We need to start shining some daylight on this and it has to be a joint effort.

I agree with you, Rachel, the GP should become involved. Let's see if they do...

jamiec at email.cz

John

Where in Pontues Rocques are they proposing to develop?

Kate Collins

Why are all of the sites in that part of the island? What's wrong with the upper parishes?

Dr monkey

don't be silly Kate, keep the riff raff in the northern parishes, the south is for the entitled of the island

Zab

The 2007 Housing needs survey ASSUMED an affordability of 25% gross household income on accomodation. The publication of the 2012 version set against The Minimum Income Standards Survey rather than this assumption will hopefully finally expose the true situation.

glep

This subject is bound to bring out an awful lot of NIMBY posts, but as I live at the other end of the rock, this won't be one of them!

The roads around Pointes Rocques and Franc Fief are bad already and I'm not sure how much could be done to help them cope with extra traffic.

I'm not surprised the person from Pointes Rocques didn't want to be named with a comment like "we'll have to be more careful about locking our doors"... Would they have said that if it was private estate being planned?

Haley

Why are there no sites in the Upper Parishes that require social housing? When is the island going to make St Martins, Forest, St Saviours and Torteval take its fair share of Guernsey's housing needs?

markB

It’s to far out to get to a descent pub.

Ex Delancey

Don't be ridiculous Haley, it's up to St Peter Port and St Sampsons to accommodate the plebs, they don't want them in the Upper Parishes, whatever next??

John

there is plenty of land in St Martins.

Why develop in these areas when getting into town is already a nightmare due to congestion.

A proper survey on the impact on Rue de Pointues Rocques should be undertaken. It is a thin road which is already congested by cars taking short cuts. It will be overwhelmed if they build more housing in the area.

Jeff

I live near proposed site 5 but are these people serious with any of these site ideas?

Where oh where is the traffic going to go? With the new data park and Bridge redevelopment isn't there going to be more than enough additional traffic?

Anyone trying to move around the Bridge/Braye Road between 11am and 1pm on a Saturday need to give themselves an extra 1/2 hour now as it is just backed up, not to mention the morning commute takes 1/2 as long as it did only a few years ago in my view.

Nobody wants more social housing in their back yard but I'm sorry, we (St. Sampsons/Vale) are getting dumped with all these new projects and sites and it should be only fair other parishes take their share.

I'm glad the flats in the Charroterie are going to be done up and I personally think another couple of blocks of flats would be ideal for more social housing. I don't see why these Social Houses should be anything more than they need to be, all these fancy designs in the Grand Bouet are a waste of time and money.

Dave Jones

Jeff

good design is no more expensive than any other design. Also these properties have been designed to incorperate solar energy and high value insulation to help cut down on energy use.

Rachel

HI Dave, I've recently driven past the development at St Martins and it looks absolutely fantastic... so much so that i wonder how many persons, who are hanging by a thread on the edge of the property market, will see these sparkly new well designed properties with the latest solar heating etc and make them want to throw in the towel.

I personally like the idea of solar heating but it's a fine grey line. When new social housing estates bring out the green eyes in the ever dwindling middle class, something is going wrong.

Dave Jones

Rachel

For decades in the past, social housing was thrown up in what consider to be a very much "that will do fashion". We now build social housing to life time standards and the incorporation of solar power and high levels of insulation is designed to save energy. They all have light fittings that only take low energy bulbs. I think design is important whether they are privatly owned dwellings or social housing.

Rachel

Design is important yes, however, I can only imagine what these places would be worth on the private market and would they be considered "lower" end? I don't think so.

If you have a long waiting list, and i know that you do, then wouldn't it make better financial sense to buy up lower end market properties scattered throughout the island and house twice as many people rather than focusing on building these shiny, new, best of design developments which are the envy of many?

The idea is to house as many needy persons as possible on our limited budget in the shortest amount of time possible and focusing on building expensive developments is not in line with this goal. It is certainly not efficient nor financially frugal and in the meantime the line gets longer. I respect that you have chosen this route in this case (and agree with your design choices in energy saving) however please keep in mind alternative ways, as i suggested, to house our needy for future projects.

ex-st martiner

The new houses at the Jehannet are really nice, I wouldnt mind one myself. There is also lots more land near that plot which could be built on in the future as there is the derelict greenhouses, but something will need to be done about the traffic as its crazy up saints road the other lanes!

James

Dave

I agree with the new properties being efficient but that fact is the majority of islanders who work hard and own their own properties cannot afford this technology.

Why is there no grant, subsidy or cheap loan arrangement for the workers to help them have access to such environmentally friendly technology?

Jeff

Dave, I appreciate the reported long-term benefits of solar power and the benefits in savings found in a good level of insulation but my point remains that it MUST have cost more in materials to build-in these non-regular/standard external design features. What is wrong with regular shaped houses with standard plasterwork?

I agree with some of Rachel’s points below about getting these houses up as quick as possible and although I appreciate there are many that live in States houses that cannot do anything about their situation, I know if I had a brand new house with modern everything, I would be unlikely to want to better my situation and end up having to spend all my wages on a cramped 1 bed flat just so I can say I’ve made it on my own. I personally believe this is simply incentivising young people to be career benefits claimants, and quite honestly why on earth not!

I suppose this really is a discussion for another day (i.e. property/rental prices) but the point remains as to how much will all this needless ‘tinsel’ be costing the tax payer for these new developments?

Rachel

Wouldn't it make better financial sense to sell this land off to developers and use the profit to buy up lower priced or derelict properties around the island as they become available? States workers could be managed to do them up if needed. Twice as many properties could be bought and managed this way on the same budget so it makes better economic sense and they also wouldn't have the issues associated with being clumped all together in an estate.

markB

There are no lower priced or old derelict properties anymore! They have been snapped up by developers already.

Rachel

Note wording "lower" rather than "low" but i take your point. The fact is that it would still be financially better to buy up a variety of properties to suit persons/families with different needs, at the low-end of the market, rather than buy these large plots of land and go through the hugely expensive development process.

Dave Jones

James

We have looked at this idea before of grants for private dwellings for things like insulation. I will ask my board what their views are on exploring what might be done in this area again.

It is as always a question of funds but anything that can help the island save energy is always worth looking at.

James

Dave

Thanks, I agree funding is always the issue but it is the way other much more environmentally advanced societies have reached the level that they are.

It also doesn't have to be a subsidy. Very cheap or free loans for such improvements would help.

The states used to have house loans until the amount they would lend barely covered deposits and legal fees. Why not replace it with an environment loan scheme for such things as renewable energy technology.

Guern abroad

Deputy Jones.

Last time I looked there was no place on Guernsey to actually take spent low engery light bulbs for safe disposal. Spent low energy bulbs should not go in landfil.

Why are you not using LED light bulbs in these new homes, they use even less energy then the low energy bulbs with the added benefit they do not have mercury in them, plus they light up instantly none of this slow warm to get going. Oh and if you sit close under a low energy bulb you can actually get low level UV burning not good for those with very sensitive skin oh and the light in these bulbs is in a different light specturm to normal light that the human eye is deisgned to see. Low energy bulbs are not as great as they are made out to be, there are better alternatives now to choose from.

Talking of solar energy, Guernsey could consider building massive solar farms on some of the none used sites. Would provide energy for now but also mean the land is still there for furture use to return to growing etc. and not a permament change like building would be. Probably the wrong thread...

Laura

Whilst I'm not going to be a NIMBY about this, I live next to the Franc Fief site, I do agree with previous posters who have asked the question 'why are all of the sites in the Vale and St Sampsons?'. Impact on school catchment areas, traffic and infrastructure need to be carefully considered, however most residents fear that their voices will not be heard, or sensible points dismissed as NIMBYism.

The traffic impact of having even two or three out of five of these sites developed would be enormous. Especially if the three to go ahead were Pointes Rocques, Salt Pans and Franc Fief.

Because of cars cutting through Franc Fief, Robergerie and Round Chimney, so that they can pull out along the front from Delancey Lane - instead of joing the queue at Grandes Maison Road or Bulwer Avenue - the small lanes are virtually impossible for pedestrians to use. Therefore 150 or more additional cars in the area (at least) are not going to help matters.

I challenge any civil servant, deputy or government official to walk around those lanes with a buggy, small child or even a dog, and see how many times they end up climbing out of the road in Robergerie, onto the rocky edges, or stuck in a hedge up Round Chimney!

I strongly feel that the Housing Target Areas should be spread out accross the whole of the Island, perhaps with one or two in the North, one or two in the South and maybe even a fifth one in Castel or St Andrews. That way the impact will be shared and less of a burden on schools and infrastructure in the North. The States are often beating a drum about St Andrews Primary being undersubscribed, why not put more housing there and solve a number of problems in one decision?

If the States feel that they don't want to spoil their lovely higher parishes with such development then they need to seriously consider Guernsey's population growth and what to do to control it. It would be nice to know the Census results for 2011, but unfortunately Guernsey didn't run one - so we have little idea of who is actually here and what our numbers are!

CJG

Urm, I think not! I live around Rue des Monts and the traffic and the way people drive around there is bad enough as it is, put them up St Saviours in some fields!

why

Simple question - why do we need more housing? Are there really this many people living on the streets? Leave ALL rural areas alone - in the distant future all green land will probably be needed for growing food and being more self sustainable (I am talking a couple of centuries away from now) . And, IF as we are told more housing is needed - why on earth is this being put in the north of the island YET AGAIN !!!

JH

Why - affordable housing isn't just for people who are homeless, it's also for people currently housed in inappropriate conditions. It's also for young folk, who can't afford to pay market prices for houses, and would otherwise be forced to do what many young folk have to these days: pay extortionate market rents; or stay living with mum and dad til their 30s; or leave the Island altogether and contribute more to the brain drain. I know people in all three of those positions, so your contention that no-one needs housing isn't correct.

I wonder what the opinion would be of all the blatant NIMBYs on here their fortunes changed and they were inadequately housed?

Re. the north of the island being picked on, I believe the States have an urban and a rural plan, the former of which directs new housing to St Peter Port and St Sampson only. This is to preserve the openness of the rest of the Island.

Rachel

What's wrong with living with parents if you are in your 30s? It is a very viable option especially if you buy something and rent it out to someone else until you can afford to move in.

If you can afford to pay extortionate market rents (and can't/don't want to live with your parents or other family member) then you should pay market rents as people do all over Europe.

It is only persons in need who have no other option who should be eligible for these properties.

JH

Rachel, please tell me you're joking! Sure, it might suit a minority of folk to still live with mum and dad in their 30s, but I'm sure if you speak to most 30+ year olds, they'd say they'd prefer to have their own space, particularly if they want to get married and start a family. Buying a house to rent out, then continuing to live (no doubt cheaply) at mum and dad's is only going to compound the problem of affordability further for those without such luxurious circumstances. No offence, but I don't think you're appreciating the bigger picture here.

Rachel

JH - please clarify- at the start you say that i must be joking if i am saying that someone would live with their parents in their 30s and at the end you say that to live with your parents is luxurious? Which is it?

I lived with my parents until i was in my 30s and so did my brothers. My uncle lived with his mother his whole life and took care of her until she recently passed away. I don't think there is anything odd about it. We didn't have a large house either and certainly not anything luxurious apart from a single bedroom each and two bathrooms between us all. It certainly teaches you to get along with other people very well.

Persons eligible for social housing should be those who are "needy" and have no other option. Being too cool to live with mum and dad is not a valid reason as far as i am concerned.

Guern abroad

I agree solical housing should not be just so you don't have to live with Mum and Dad.

If there is space to live with Mum and Dad, then what you build a new house and put the childreen in it and Mum and Dad rattle in the original home, that is not good either.

This is an Island, land is not unlimited therefore housing is not either.

Guernsey would do better to also look at addressing the rental market and how better to ensure that that was healthy and vibrant and not a rip off.

We also need to encourage population management through responsible family sizes. This is a global issue.

JH

Hi Rachel,

I said living with your parents AND owning a property, which you rent out separately, is a luxurious circumstance (i.e. monetary comfort). I didn't imply that everyone living in their parents' home is in the lap of luxury (i.e. physical comfort) because living conditions will inevitably vary between one set of parents' home and the next, as you quite rightly pointed out.

I think your interpretation that I believe living with mum and dad isn't cool is incorrect. I believe that by the time you're in your 30s it would be nice to have the choice to get a place of your own - fly the nest in other words (as people used to do in their late teens / 20s up until the early 2000s). Being able to fly the nest is a problem many people in their 20s and 30s are unable to do nowadays because of the national housing crisis. It's got nothing to do with street cred. I think you need to go speak to some young people!

Spartacus

Many would feel privileged to live with their parents if they were still alive!

As the population is getting older and cost of living is escalating it is a realistic and viable option which facilitates childcare and caring for elderly parents.

Maybe the States could subsidise property improvements to incentivise adapting properties for these kind of living arrangements which benefits everyone in the long term.

Neil Forman

Spartacus

For once we agree, that is a very good idea and should be explored.

Rachel

Yes that is a fantastic idea Spartacus!

JH- I'm not really 'that old' and I've only recently moved into my own home (mortgaged up to the eyeballs like all the other struggling new home owners). I agree housing prices are high and it is hard to get on the ladder- this is why buying to rent (whilst living at home) is a great idea because the banks will lend you more money and you get a foot on the ladder. It is also good for renters through increased supply- especially in the lower end of the market which is what we want.

I agree that living with your parents is not "ideal" but not many people have the luxury of ideal these days, and lets face it, in what world does anyones ideal match reality? Not this one.

The concept of 'flying the nest" as you put it is way outdated. People are having less children and the kids they do have usually stay in education a lot longer (especially if you go to uni and also study post-grad etc). If kids stay then it is not the burden on the parents that it used to be. This combined with the fact that parents are older when they have children (as Spartacus points out) leads to the concept of living at home to be a mutually beneficial one and one which should be encouraged.

Neil F- Whilst it is probably unrealistic to ask for any direct subsidies for housing improvements for these circumstances, perhaps, applications for improvements for dual-occ's etc should be treated more leniently? Perhaps in the cases that JamieC points out in posts above where people are not allowed to develop their property except for GHA, then, this exception should also apply to housing for extended family members. So what do you think of the idea of more leniency for development applications for these families as opposed to subsidies?

Neil Forman

Rachel

Spartacus and I rarely see eye to eye but I have to admit that this idea is very good and should be given more thought. As she says childcare and caring for elderly parents are added bonuses.

I think Environment should support applications for this kind of development and show more leniency.

Guern abroad

All these people are currently living somewhere, so after these new houses are built do we then see a lot of houses in the private rental sector going empty?

I expect the next raft of identified properties in this pyrimad of property need will be in other parishes.

Whilst I understand and get the housing asociation scheme I do not get why so much housing is needed.

It is not like (thankfully) Guernsey has stupidly sold off the States owned housing stock so why all these new builds.

Zab

Because for decades the States lacked the stomache to tackle the problem. Population growth and lower unit occupancy require more units, failure to supply sufficient units lead to a price spiral. In order to keep pay down short term licences were/are issued to Keep buisnesses afloat that had no right to survival. Pay increased at a lesser increment than property prices stoking demand for social housing.

All sadly entierely predictable and looking set to continue with this ludicrous unsistainable growth policy that they have nailed to the mast.

By the by they also sold some of the States owened housing stock le Passe, le Maisons Le Marchant, part of le Petit Bouet.

Zab

Not forgetting the disaperance of Le Grand Bouet, Victoria Avenue, Rue des Marais, Rue des Monts and half of Petit Bouet to new development. Yes the replacements are better and were needed and there was a net gain in units but the effect is that the increase in GHA homes did reduce the Housing Departments stock. The criteria for GHA is not the same as housing and I believe some "essential" workers can occupuy GHA homes.

Zab

It would seem Cour de Parc is about to be adressed, we shall have to wait and see.

Guernsey Donkey

Why name land that doesnt belong to them why dont the States just build on land THEY own

Bry

Cor lumme days! Guernsey ran out of building land many years ago - very soon now there'll be no open spaces left and a series of tall pillars will have to erected around the island so that Guernsey can be roofed in completely. Even then it won't stop there - it'll have to go up another floor!

Got too many people? Build a few leaky boats and send them to Australia where housing, money, food, even free cigarettes awaits them.

Karen

Maybe if this is what is in the pipeline, now is definitely not the time to be considering closing St Sampsons Infants School!

Jeff

ABSOLUTELY!!!!

PLP

Laura - good points well made.

It is becoming increasingly difficult not to conclude that when it comes to building and development there is a distinct north/south divide with an unaccaptable bias in favour of the upper parishes - and reading an article like this only reinforces my suspicions.

I accept the argument for preserving the islands green areas TO A POINT but it is difficult to believe there is no room anywhere in the southern end of the island for at least one new tastefully constructed social housing development?

I will resist the temptation to come out with the usual cynical comments; nevertheless, I would be grateful if the Housing Minister would provide some credible explanation why none of the proposed developmental areas are located south of St Peter Port.

Dave Jones

PLP

It's simple apart, from Belgreve , these are the sites offered by the owners

as potential HTA's

I have called recently for social housing to be more evenly spread across the island and small numbers in each of the rural parishes would help the situation a lot. We will be making these points at the forthcoming planning review into the urban/ rural split.

James

You can buy my 2 acres in St Saviours off me for a good price .. only problem it is marked as agricultural land so would need a change of use so there is no chance of that ... wait it's a States development?! ... that shouldn't be an issue ....

PLP

Thanks for the reply Dave - I'm pleased you will be raising this at the review as it needs addressing.

I'm not sure how far you'll get though as any southern parish Deputy supporting that kind of measure might just as well not bother standing next election! Perhaps if IWV comes in you might stand a better chance....

Dave Jones

PLP

Island wide voting is a must for me.

Simon

@ Dave Jones

I live just off Pointues Rocques.

There is already considerable traffic up and down Rue des Pointues Rocques which makes walking up and down the road already quite dangerous especially as parking is allowed on the road.

Four houses are just about to be built on the site of the Pine Tops Hotel.

Have the States undertaken a review on the impact on the infrastructure of all these new homes> It would, in my opinion, have a very detrimental effect on the volume of traffic in the area. getting into St Peter Port in the morning and returning in the evening is already a nightmare so adding these five sites would cause gridlock.

Dave Jones

Simon

This is something that Enviroment would have to address but you are assuming that any entrance to this huge site would be from the existing road. That may not be he case.

Simon

@ Dave Jones

Rather than one huge development on a huge site ( your words) why not spread social housing around the island in small dvelopments.

Why doesnt the States purchase some land in the South of the island and develop there?

Why dont the states think about the impact on the infrastructure before making these sweeping announcements?

I am surprised that the States could only find five five sites all of which seem to be within a mile or so of each other and all in the area os St sampson. Seems very suspicious to me.

Rachel

I agree with PLPs comments.

In addition, if many/all of these sites were sold off to developers to create housing in the low-middle bracket then there would be more properties for persons to occupy, freeing up the lower end for needy persons. The cost of Guernsey property is relatively high and the way to bring costs down naturally is to increase supply, without any expense or drain on the states housing budget or needing to build estate after estate after estate.

The current focus on building more estates does not work. It puts further squeeze on the middle (as there is no increase in supply for this group and prices go up) and you will end up with more and more people on the housing associations waiting list as a result. This is especially the case where those in the low-middle earning category are struggling to afford a one/two bedroom flat at the same time as the GHA is housing lower income earners in large new sparkling developments with all the bells and whistles that some can only dream of. There is an obvious mis-match here.

If this land was sold off privately then all would benefit naturally from increased supply- middle and low income earners alike. Its just the way financial markets work and the GHA should take note.

Lyn

There is loads of land opposite Waitrose at Admiral Park. Why not build there or would that upset the bankers all of whom probably live in St Martins?

Also there is reclaimed/stabilised land on the front just past Half Way. Why dont the States buy that land and develop there. there have been pilings in that land for years and it really is an eye sore.

Of course there is plenty of land up by L'ancresse - oops sorry that is where the Bankers play golf.

There is also plenty of land on Fort Road next to Fort George. Oops again that is where the bankers put up their staff in Open market houses.

Why build just in these five areas when it will cause enormous road congestion? Why?

James

Lyn

Where does the States get a huge proportion of its money to build these developments ... oh yeah tax on the banks and their employees ... careful with your banker bashing

Neil Forman

We need to find approx 300 new homes a year to keep up with demand.

The Belgrave site has been talked about for years, my understanding is that this site is below sea level so would be expensive to develop. As this site is States owned I would prefer that it is used to help the ' Fred in a shed ' businesses that are crying out for somewhere to operate from / store equipment. This will generate income.

I don't know the area earmarked in La Vrangue, so cannot comment.

Pointes Rocques, Saltpans and Franc Fief are in sight of the power station, the main drain at Belgrave is close, they are in walking distance of shops and workplaces. It would also be more efficient to run public transport regularly from the Bridge to Town rather than Town to the higher parishes.

If the development goes ahead who knows what improvements will be made to the roads around these sites, a development of this size will need to factor in this problem, look at St Sampsons High and the Baubigny area, love it or hate it, it works.

If Housing can reach an agreement with the owners of these sites which allows for some social or part ownership properties to be built I say go for it. It gives young locals who have been stopped from getting on the housing ladder due to high prices in the private market a chance.

Simon

@Neil Forman

It sounds like you may live in the higher parishes and therefore not impacted by this.

I live on Pointues Rocques and I can assure you I cannot see the power station and neither can any of my neighbours.

It is currently a lovely quiet area and I for one will be fighting tooth and nail for it to stay that way. The infrastructure just could not cope with any more traffic.

I do find it strange that they could only find 5 areas and those are all very close to each other near or in St Sampson. Why don't they look further afield like St Martin's?

why

Neil, are there really 300 homeowners in Gsy needing accommodation each year? I appreciate there are definitely situations where extented families are all living together in small properties with children and grandchildren seeking affordable housing - I also appreciate there are some living in probably pretty sub standard accommodation? I thought the issue of large states houses being accommodated by only one or two persons had already been addressed by the building of one and two bedroomed apartments over the last few years. So are there really 300 new homes needed each year? I think the States do have an obligation to their tenants to ensure water isnt dripping through ceilings and insects and vermin not running through rooms, unsafe heating systems etc etc - but in some cases cannot maintenance be undertaken on the worst properties (as private sector tenants have to do) so the houses are still livable? Do we need this many new homes because there are so many couples getting divorced and separated (mostly where men bu***er off to leave the women on their own to look after children and running away from their responsibilites - thats another story isnt it - a nice return to family values would be welcome in todays society) As for the location of the sites - please do not place yet more housing in these already over populated places - think of the schools and roads . Anyway, as I have said previously, I believe we should be preserving green land as much as possible as in the distant future our grandchildren and great grandchildren are going to need all the growing land they can get as the world returns to having to be self sustainable. It will be difficult for them in this ever growing concrete jungle.

PS by the way I dont think Neil lives in the upper parishes - castel I think - and I hope he gets voted in next time as I agree with a lot of his thinking!

Ray

Not sure if this is relevant but there are always in the region of 800 properties on the combined Estate Agents books in Guernsey.At the moment there are over 1,000

That of course doesn't effect the density of the population if they are all buying and selling to each other but if a certain percentage are actually selling up and moving away it could make a difference to our building requirements

Does anyone keep accurate figures of incomers and those leaving?

Lyn

@neil forman

I presume you may be Neil Forman the Deputy?

Why do these 300 homes have to be in the St Sampson area? Who are these 300 homes for? Are they for the unmarried mothers I see every day hanging around the States Insuarnce office, smoking, blocking the pavement with prams, throwing litter and taking the mickey out of working people as they pass by?

Why is it more efficient to run public transport from the Bridge rather than higher parishes? How are you qualified to make this statement?

Pointues Rocques is not in sight of the Power Station? Why do you say this?

Surely the States should be planning what the impact will be on the infrastructure before announcing the sites as opposed to announcing the sites and then saying " ... who knows what improvements will be made to roads...."

What experience do you have to make these bold statements?

There are plenty of other open sites on Guernsey where these developemnts could go so why do they all have to be centred around St Sampsons? Why are the States blinkered to other areas?

As usual, like Kevin Stewart recently, the States have made announcements before thinking of the consequences.

What a shambles.

PLP

Dave Jones often says that being a Deputy puts you in the firing line but it now seems that's extended to candidates who didn't get in!

Much as I'm sure he would like to be Neil Forman is not a Deputy - at least not yet - but I'm sure he would happily put up with your abuse to be one though!

Neil Forman

PLP

Dave Jones has also said that you need the wisdom of Solomon and skin like a rhino.

I know what he means.

Rachel

Have to disagree... "wisdom of soloman" is desirable but not essential.

Neil Forman

Simon, Why & Lyn

Thank you for your responses, I will try to answer all you questions in one post.

Firstly, I live in Town. I stood in this years election as I felt the last house was very indecisive, unfortunately I was unsuccessful so I am not a Deputy. I will be standing again in 2016.

This subject is always going to be contentious, people do not want these big projects on their doorstep. There is however a need for more housing. This was identified in the housing needs survey. This publication from Environment gives details, http://www.gov.gg/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=5256&p=0

The full report is attached to Billet D'Etat XXV December 2007 which is available from to gov.gg website.

These sites have been earmarked as HTAs for some time. If the developers are willing to provide housing for part ownership and social housing in order to develop the site it seriously needs to be considered. I have been critical of Dave Jones in another post but in matters housing I think he has done a very good job.

I understand your concerns about all these sites being in the St Sampsons area but this is where the urban plan has marked for development.

As for the traffic problem, you are right that the infrastructure won't take more traffic, something would have to be done whether it be road widening or new access roads. It stands to reason that public transport going from the Bridge to Town will be less costlier and more efficient than to the higher parishes, public transport will normally run this route in snow / icy conditions, it will not go to the higher parishes.

There is talk of food shortages in the near future and we may need to look at becoming more self sufficient, greenland is important for growing and the soil quality in the higher parishes is better, unfortunately the best soil has just had a hangar placed on it.

If I have missed anything or you require more clarification let me know.

@ Why, thank you for your last sentence, much appreciated. I totally agree with you on family values.

Lunatic

Neil

When first opened St Sampsons high was too small. Hautes Capelles school is also fully subscribed with much larger class sizes than most other primary schools. Unless the social housing will be for elderly people who are not needing schools for their offspring more schools will be needed or we go back to huts in the playground as in years gone by

Jeff

Ahh yes, huts in the playground. Spent many a class frozen to death in them.

Neil Forman

Lunatic

This would need to be considered, St Sampsons school would probably have to stay open, most children moving will also probably attend one of the three high schools already. The catchment areas might need to be looked at for new pupils. We are being told that numbers are decreasing so there would be a way to work this out.

Iron maiden

Neil lives in st Peter port south,I voted for him cause he supports family values.what he is saying makes sense.

Ray

Suggestions for the Belgrave site

http://www.flickr.com/photos/essexglover/865700451/

Caters for below sea level site

http://www.imperialtowers.co.in/

Put me down for a top storey apartment with sea views

http://www.panoramio.com/photo/1880333

OK I agree we don't want to look like Hong Kong !

kat

Yes we need more housing land so why give some away to others for industrial use ?.

Use the other part of the Grand Bouet site for what is was before ,a housing area .

Please leave the fields along in La Vrangue ,we do not have much green space left ,it is a proven factor that more green space around houses keeps the calm in the area .

There are many children with ADHD and other problems shoving them all into a small area in not good ,we need the green for the conservation of the whole area .

The field at la Vrangue were going to be built on in late 80s they were going to build a new church there for the whole area regardless of what denomination you were ,this was refused as the fields were to be kept as green land ,so what is changed ?. nothing the states can use what they bloney like .

One field was taken already in la Vrangue for a new post office that is already crying out for more space ,

This field was used every year for grazing and for feed . the vinery was only a few years old and a working one with a good investment was removed .

States please set an example use land that is already in use for housing .

Please respect all green fields and let us keep them .

Dave Jones

Kat

We did not want to build another long rambling estate at the Bouet, which is why the bottom end of the site was given over to industry and we are building futher housing units elawhere such as Brock road and at St Martins.

By the way the field your refer to in the Vrangue was origninaly ear moarked for housing bu we were asked to give it up for the then new Post Office headquaters and Housig were promised an alternative site would be found. We were given the old girls grammer school site in exchange.

Dave Jones

sorry about the typos but I am rushing this answer

kat

Yes I did know it was earmarked for housing then given to the post office .

perhaps we can look at building houses for families nearer to the new schools

this would save money as the children would once again have a school close to them that they can walk to easily .

But green fields in St Peter port need to stay to support the conservation of the area .

Thank you for you prompt reply and good to see other make typo mistakes lol

Larry

Why do we have HTAs if there is no intention of building on them. I thought this was decided policy of many years. How much did it cost to decide where these areas would be originaly. How much time and money has been wasted dithering around since then. How many more expert reports before somebody makes a decision rather than continue going around in circles?

Jack

Good letter Neil! Salt Pans and Franc Fief are obvious choices. Very close to services, shop, schools and workplace. My uncle Billy wanted to keep pigs down there but was told it's a residential area!

Laura

I believe that in respect of the St Sampsons areas mentioned, someone has already pointed out that it is by no means the only parish serviced by bus routes! If developments were spread out to Castel and lower parishes no doubt the buses could be laid on!

There are far too many people living in the North already and congestion going south is heavy from 7.30am onwards. If we put 300 more houses all in the North then there will likely be 600 more cars on the roads every morning and evening. It will be even more bedlam than it already is!

The States must stop this nonsense now and for goodness sake, spread these developments out!

It comes to something when a three mile 'commute' takes 45 minutes!

Also, I think there is a real ground swell of opinion in respect of the North South divide - the letter in the GP today from a Mares Pelles resident sums this up well. Basically, people think the North is already spoiled by the power stations, industrial areas, the tip, the run-down bridge (special thanks to YOUR local friendly co-op for that) - therefore the snobbery takes over and the policy is that all housing and social housing ends up in the North, to keep it away from the powers that be and because it's already spoiled, it won't matter!

It's like the baby and the bath water, someone needs to halt it before it is too late.

Larry

Hi Jack, Are you joking or is that true about the pigs? Certainly made me laugh.

Jack

That's what uncle Billy said. But he did see their point though because it is surrounded by housing mate.

Guern abroad

300 new homes a year picking up on Neil Forman's comment.

That is a huge figure, where are these people already living, are they already on Guernsey or is that a silent way of saying the population is increasing over 1000 a year?

Neil Forman

Guern abroad

Looking at the report we are playing catch up, we were not building enough.

sarnia expat

The majority of these people, not already housed by the States, are renting private accommodation with extortionate rents with no chance of saving a deposit for their own property.

guern abroad

So why not make renting work. It is an accepted way of living in Europe and as a model would suit Guernsey well.

Sorting out the issues and stigma of renting would surely be better then repeating the we must find land and build spiral.

Rachel

I agree. What is wrong with renting? It is what people do all over Europe. We should be looking at ways of increasing the supply of rental properties at the lower end of the market.

Mr Cynical

I'd has at a guess it's those leaving school that decided on having a career on benefits rather than finding a job.

Perhaps that's overly cynical but with people having to work longer to subsidise poor pension returns and the current employment market, this problem is only going to get worse and at the end of the day, if someone is offering you a free house for nothing then why not!

I think 300 units per year is quite a pragmatic approach by the States, just a shame this problem doesn't seem to be getting any better.

Neil Forman

Mr Cynical

There is a bit of confusion here, the 300 units a year are not just for social housing and part ownership. This number is for all types of housing.

These developments will provide some of these but also provide homes for the middle class and wealthy.

Rachel

If so then why do the states need full control of these sites? Why not let private developers do all the work as long as they set a percentage of the properties for social?

Neil Forman

Rachel

The owners of these sites have offered them as HTA'S.

They will develop the sites and supply some social housing and / or part ownership at a cost to the States / GHA.

These developments will no doubt be good for the building trade and I think better than the idea of filling in Belle Greve bay and ruining a stunning view of the islands.

Gsy Girl 1983

I would like to know if these new houses are going to be for everyone?

I used to live in a states house have always worked apart from when I had my child and was only off for 3 months never asked for any help from the states. Me and partner after a number of years together but not living together decided that we would. We earned to much money??? so got asked to leave which we did and we now live in private rented property.

We are now in a worst situation then we have ever been before we can just about live every month, we don't go out we never treat ourselves, but then if you go on facebook or listen to people and here how people on Supplement benefit pay £20 rent and they go out every week the children have the most up to date clothes and photos, where we have to shop at charity shops or make do with what we have.

Should these new houses be for the benefit of people who can't live in a states house because they are honest and go make a living but can't afford to live in private or afford to save to buy there own house?

I know someone is going to say everything is mean test and they look at the income but I think what you need to live on and what the states think you need to live on is complete differnet.

markB

Yes! who are they going to be for? I'd like to know that too.

Iron Knee

What I find slightly worrying is that there seems to be an eagerness to provide ever increasing amounts of what is now termed as "social housing" without investigating the implications on the already obscene private market pricing racket (does anyone have a figure of how much money the banking industry is owed locally on the current house price gamble?).

I remember when banks first offered employees mortgage subsidies as perks...surprise surprise house prices rose accordingly. Out of interest what are ministers doing to prevent developers and agencies with private properties for sale within the "lower price" bracket recognising that the states will provide cheap housing so they can now put their "cheap" stuff up? We will create an ever greater state dependant population at this rate. I suspect some form of new tax needs to be urgently looked at as I do not believe zero ten is a credible way of addressing the Islands economic situation for future generations of Guerns?

kat

Flooding many areas with even more homes is not good for everyone.Has the housing department spoken with the schools in the chosen areas?

Do they have enough room for even more children?

Will the roads be long enough to provide space for even more traffic

Will the infrastructure cope with more and more being build into one place

I think time has come to put a limit on how many from outside the island have the right to live here .

one side of the island is sinking with too many on it . about time we looked at other parts of the island but we must at all time looks at the environmental impact it will make to wild live .

St Martin Guern

I must have missed the point here. WHY do we need 300 social type houses each year? The LOCAL population isn't growing that much. ALso, there are heaps of empty office buildings in the Trinity Square area and surrounding roads. Can't THOSE be converted into Flats instead?

Yes, my husband and I work in finance, but we are BOTH local and have achieved everything we have through sheer hard work (and years of study). It makes us both angry with all the banker/finance bashing going on. We pay all taxes, TRP, etc - and then many of the new subsidised houses have better features than ours, makes me wonder why we bothered to work so hard!

Dani

Well done to you for working so hard. You've done the right thing and you should be proud. It will work out in the long term no end to your benefit.

As your wages have increased, some peoples salaries remain fixed at a lower incomes. Not everyone can work in higher paid jobs - we need people to work in the lower income brackets. At the same time housing prices have risen quite a lot in the last few years as well as other living expenses. This means their money does not go as far and a greater proportion of islanders cannot afford private rent. They need a bit of a hand with housing.

Baby boomers done well when homes were cheaper, paid off their mortages are buying up homes to secure pension incomes (and buying those flats with 1 bedroom etc which are most in need) and assisting their children with house purchasing (noble of course) inflates prices. It probably will keep pushing them on further for the future. This must be recognised and planned for.

Say even a well paid individual on £40K will struggle. If the bank will lend them 5 times their salary - they can only get £200,000. That won't get you much in today's market. They also may have to save up a deposit whilst paying rent on a single salary. The median earnings for 2011 was more like £28,000.

The nice homes can be frustrating. I wonder the same thing (why do they have a garden when I probably won't have one?) especially when times are hard for a lot of us. I've always guessed the reasoning is that having decent living space would help reduce social issues developing that will cost even more. So nice homes are better than jamming everyone in a tower block - you can see the problems already that would occur! It also shows that people in Guernsey do care about those that have a harder time of it - which I figure also isn't a bad but we must not let resentment effect the objectivity of consideration in this area. I don't think many would argue with you if you said maybe this area needs to be looked at.

Ignore the finance bashing. You know what it is for what it is. Just keep doing right by yourselves.

wineman

have you ever claimed tax relief on your interest for your mortgage if so you have been subsidised by the taxpayer a form of benefit.

if people claim childs allowance thats a benefit.

so your not the only people to work hard and pay taxes with or without your own house.

Larry

It seems that maybe the HTA's should be rebranded as something else in what was supposedly the Urban area. Possibly parkland for the Nimbies to enjoy? Then we can look elsewhere to provide a real supply of houses. ONLY more supply than demand will make housing affordable?

guern abroad

Only on an Island with finite land mass increasing supply to out strip demand to keep prices low is not an approach to even consider.

If you make the whole Island over populated and densely housed you will risk no longer retaining or attracting the people who run the companies to provide the employment whether we like that or not. There has to be balance across the board and Guernsey is paying for the years when cheap money was made available to some sectors of the working population. I remember the early years of this finance boosted boom in house buying. Some duff decisions over the years has created the situation now and the worst one was allowing license holders to buy on the local market that no doubt made the situtation worse then it would otherwise have been.

SaintsBay

It may be that we will just have to accept that there will be no housing projects north of Catel church.

Dep. Jones would point to the Edgebaston site opposite Rue Jehannet. However, having lived at Rue Jehannet from 1960 (when 1st built) until 1978 I can recall Saints Road being clogged even then with a level of car ownership far lower than it is now.

Increased housing stock there now added to increased car ownership must add significant congestion and pollution to the area.

There must be places north of Catel church where hosing stock is more easily accomodated on space and access grounds - near the old St Saviours school for example.

However - this is "stock-broker belt" and will be protected by the very well connected and influential residents who wish to preserve a form of Ambridge-over-the water. Green wellies and niche label shopping at Forest Stores not to mention easy access to young Popp'ys pony.

Is there a social cachet associated with where ones house is in relation to sea level ?

This will of course give rise to the accusation of "The Politics of Envy" - this I understand - however, it does not mean I am wrong.

Guernsey will continue to promote a geographic divide along the lines of the UK - it is inevitable.

Ray

Saints Bay

I think you may need to get your compass serviced

Ed

The issue is that there are many people occupying the States' Houses that are quite capable of seeking employment, rather than expecting the taxpayers to provide them with finance. If some of those people applied themselves somewhat, they would be able to purchase their own property, thereby enabling those who actually need such a service to receive State-funded accommodation. Therefore, theoretically speaking, there would be little demand for social housing and thus land could be used far more profitably- possibly horticulture.

Dave Jones

Ed

The vast majority of our tenants are working, also we house a number of elderly tenants who have worked all their life and paid into the system and who are entitled to their pensions and the other benefits they have contributed to. Even those tenants who are working still cannot earn enough to live without a housing rebate.

People in the private rental sector also need help and That is what we attempted to do in the last States with the policy report from social security on benefit reform.

gsy girl 1983

Mr Jones who are these houses for? Are they for people who are in private sector and not afford to keep their heads above water or are they for people who have never worked left school had a baby and are on the states waiting list?

Dave Jones

They will be mixture of social rental and hopefully partial ownership we are only talking about a percentage of any development on an HTA'S

wineman

Dave Jones

what about tax relief on rent paid, like people with a mortgage.

at the end of the day people pay maybe as much or near the same.

could be based on your earnings .As you know there are a lot of people in the private sector paying big rents and earning as little as 15000 a year.

Scarlett

I wonder if the '300 new houses a year' projection is based on current population growth and finance staying king?

Surely if finance contracts as predicted and the island becomes less wealthy, on one hand, there may be more people in need of social housing due to unemployment/lower income, but on the other, less well paid people will come into the island (to work in the aforementioned industry), the people who continue to live here will generally be earning less, and ultimately, wouldn't that drive house prices in the private sector down to a more reasonable level, making them more affordable for whoever's left....(?)....

wow, maybe all those lovely non resident people who simply buy up property here, then leave it sitting empty for years, would decide to cut their losses? Wonder how many houses that would free up?

if we do end up a smaller, poorer population, then that means, quite possibly, we already have more than enough social and private sector housing to go around anyway.

i appreciate that there is an immediate (apparent) 'problem', but it really would be a shame to see Guernsey in the not too distant future scattered with empty developement everywhere, achieving nothing more than destroying green belt (which we may well need!), ruining our beautiful island, profiting no one but developers and satisfying current politicians remit, all of whom will be long gone by then.

Neil Forman

Scarlett

This was the recommendation of the last housing needs survey in 2007, these are done every five years. There is a new one due out this year.

Iron maiden

neil

i see the douzaine elections are up again are you standing again.btw was that your daughteer with you saturday,what a beutiful young woman and so polite

Neil Forman

Iron maiden

Yes, I will be standing again. Just waiting on signatures on the form.

Yes that was Montana, fortunately for her she was blessed with her mother's looks and not mine;-))

rosie

It is interesting to see how many people have identified excessive traffic as being one of the problems of the suggested sites, both now and in the future if these sites get the go-ahead. (this despite Ray frequently insisting that Guernsey does not have traffic problems!)

I agree that excessive traffic is a problem but it seems to me that the suggestion that these developments should now be spread all around the island so that the whole island can share the increased traffic load, with all the negative consequences of that, is not an idea that would improve the fabric of the island. It is the sprawling nature of Guernsey's built environment that causes such a headache for efficient public transport routes.

Clearly, it is high-time that we looked to design our car dependency out of the system. So place these developments where people can walk their kids to school, to shops used on a daily basis and with easy access to frequent and efficient public transport. And please, please not on green agricultural fields.

Ray

Rosie

Guernsey DOES have a traffic problem ... twice a day

My 8.15am journey from the Bridge into Town this morning took 40 minutes.My journey back at 10.05am took 12 minutes

bcb

Rosie

Why is traffic a problem? it may be an inconvenience but is it really a problem. I get caught in it every morning but i dont have a problem with it maybe others see it differently but thats just perspective?.

I`m with Ray on this one.

rosie

bcb. In my post I am referring to others on this blogg who have sited traffic as a problem in these areas. Presumedly that is because, unlike you, they do see excessive traffic as a problem.

I think you are looking at it from a very insular point of view, which I think is how a lot of people look at traffic. Generally, people like driving their cars so they are prepared to be tolerant of the negatives. If I drive my car, like you I find traffic jams an inconvenience, not necessarily a ‘problem’ for me, although it can certainly make me feel much more stressed. ( Traffic induced stress is a well accepted phenomena. In the 2003 Healthy Lifestyle survey it came second only to work. And stress is a serious health issue).

However, to decide whether traffic is a ‘problem’, you need to look at it more objectively. What does/has excessive traffic do/done to the island and its community and what are/have been the consequences. Looked at like that, I think traffic is undoubtably a ‘problem’ and needs to be dealt with pronto.

To list a few points: Rising levels of obesity. Pollution. Degradation of the environment to accommodate the free movement of cars and their parking (think eastern seaboard). The negative appeal to tourists. Police and emergency services time to regulate traffic. Court time for traffic offenses. PEH time for minor, serious and fatal injuries. Lack of freedom for young people whose parents no longer allow them on the roads. The same young people growing up without experience of the roads from a vulnerable users point of view. The rising costs of motoring while peoples disposable incomes shrink. CO2 emissions. Rising levels of stress. etc etc.....

..... and of course the huge, huge costs of all of the above that have to be borne by the whole community!

Neil Forman

Rosie

I agree with what you say regarding green agricultural fields, we may be needing these in the near future.

I was given a bit of information a few days ago which I have checked with someone who worked in greenhouses from school until retirement.

Apparently greenhouse sites that are left to rot and become derelict are practically useless for growing again. The problem lies in that unless the greenhouses are de-glazed the bad weather, vandalism, etc means that the soil becomes contaminated with glass. This means that if you wanted to start growing again you would need to remove all glass shards before you could do so, which on sites of this size would be practically impossible and very expensive.

rosie

Neil F. Yes I think that is right regarding collapsing greenhouses. I have said exactly the same on previous bloggs. I think that several owners of those sites are sitting on them waiting for that to happen in the hope that if the site can't go back to agriculture, they will then get planning permission to build on the site and they then benefit from the increased value of the land. There are a few sites where that might be a sensible route to take, but I hope that with the vast majority, the planners stick to refusing such a change of use.

Alternatives might be: Planting up the sites with good calorific hard-woods to coppice for burning in wood burners or wood-fired boilers for heating. Or alternatively using the sites for arrays of photo voltaic panels for electricity. Or allotments.