More social housing is needed in rural area, says minister

MORE social housing needs to be built in the rural area, Housing minister Dave Jones has said.

Housing minister Deputy Dave Jones, right, talking to Colin Knight, one of the people living in Clos Barbier, the first social housing project in the rural area. (Picture by Tom Tardif, 1294594)
Housing minister Deputy Dave Jones, right, talking to Colin Knight, one of the people living in Clos Barbier, the first social housing project in the rural area. (Picture by Tom Tardif, 1294594)

MORE social housing needs to be built in the rural area, Housing minister Dave Jones has said.

His comments came after the official opening of the Guernsey Housing Association’s first project in the rural area – Clos Barbier, off Rue Jehannet, St Martin’s.

The new development for older islanders was only allowed under a condition of the planning law, which allows for existing estates to be rounded off.

But Deputy Jones said it was important there were more developments like it.

‘These type of developments in the rural area are very rare and I don’t think they should be,’ he said.

Comments for: "More social housing is needed in rural area, says minister"

Expat 80

population control is what is needed, not more biuldings on land that should be growing vegetables and fruit


Ugh, all social housing should be in developed areas, or as close to as possible. Living in a rural place should be a privilege, something to aim for in life. I don't mind that existing estates be rounded off, however.

But why is social housing required? Sort out the population first, and also look into why non-locals can buy local market property and rent it back to local people - local market should be for those that are local or on very long licenses.

Dave Jones


That is exactly what the specific policy is for. Allowing limited development close to existing housing estates in the rural area.

You ask "why is social housing required?" Well it is required because not everybody earns enough to be able to access other housing options.

As I have said elsewhere there are large numbers of people who work in jobs that don't pay very much and without access to affordable social rental housing they would not be able to live.

The buy to let market has grown over the last few years and there are lots of local landlords renting property, people are free to buy properties to let and the States quiet rightly does not get involved in the nationality of the purchaser.


Dave Jones

I agree with the first part, rural areas should share the burden.

Nevertheless the buy to let market inflates prices and is one of the reasons locals can't get on the housing market ladder. It also drives up rent which surely means more people need social housing? Until this is controlled (e.g. a cap on the numbers of properties a person can be a beneficial owner of alongside a rent cap linked to TRP) I can only see properties getting further out of reach of islanders.

PS I am a private tenant with no desire to own property, so I've no axe to grind.


Dave Jones

"not everyone earns enough to be able to access other housing options"

Well isn't that the problem that needs solving rather than throwing money at the consequences all the time?

You have identified that the buy to let market is costing the government money and you are shrugging your shoulders.

Nationality of the purchaser can be a big problem when it comes to enforcing some of our inadequate property laws. Another shrug of the shoulders.

Dave Jones


Are you for real. In every society on the planet there are people who do jobs at the lower end of the pay scale. Employers pay at different rates of pay and that is commerce the world over.

So what do you suggest the states does? Should we have a minimum wage that is so high nobody will employ anyone else so we just live with the huge unemployment figures that results from that?

Or perhaps we could top up everybody's wage with government benefits at whatever that will cost, I am sure the taxpayer will love to see their tax quadruple to pay for it all. Now that really would be throwing money at the problem.

As it turns out under the GHA scheme the majority of funds for social housing doesn't come from the states at all.

Also I have never said that the buy to let market is costing the states money, people will rent their properties for whatever rents they can get, it is demand that drives rents not the letting market itself.


Dave Jones

Every society has low paying jobs but 10,000 in relative poverty is unacceptable. The minimum wage is not enough, the current system taxes the poor and gives benefits to the rich. That makes no sense to me.

GHA is a decent scheme but should be a stepping stone not a growing industry. If the population policy is to keep the number of people in Guernsey static then the Social housing policy should be that the number in social housing should also be static, maybe that is the intention, but it seems to be growing. Maybe that's just my perception.

Not in my back yard

Agreed that social housing should be island-wide opposed to focused on building in GY1 and GY2.

Nice to see GY4 taking the hit with that new development by the traffic lights near the Wicked Wolf.

GY7 - you're next! Lots of free land near the Reservoir...

Dave haslam

There is that nmassive house that inexplicably got planning permission on the resevoir in GY7, lets round that humungous backhanded premesis off with a massive estate!!!

I would LOVE to see the look on the owners face!! Hehehe!

Le Andre

Come on Dave be brave and admit we have too many people on our tiny island. Very nice to bang on about the need for social housing, which is true, but only because we are over crowded.

Dave Jones

Le Andre

I agree we are becoming very overcrowded , which is why I am keen to see the new permit system come in as soon as possible.

The states have never had a population management policy in the history of the states, just the housing control law that controls a tiny percentage of the islands population.

The vast majority of people are free to come and go as they wish, including very large numbers of Guernsey people who return to their island after a number of years away.

People are free to marry or co habit with anyone they wish and their children are free to do the same. Thousands of Guernsey people have married or live with foreign nationals and the rest of the population are here under licence.


Cor Demme Dave, Wot is your definition of a Guernsey Man / Woman? How can You close the door and keep a straight face?

Dave Jones


I don't need to know, they know who they are.

working hard but getting nowhere

Lets hope "Jon" is not serious with his comment of "living in a rural place should be a privilege something to aim for in life" I cannot believe that people hold those sort of views in this day and age. Would he prefer that all of the less well paid people were herded onto a rock in the channel so that those who have been lucky enough to land jobs with enormous inflated wage packets don't have to drive past those dreadful ugly estates in their range rovers. How utterly ridiculous ! Many of those living in social housing now were brought up in the rural areas he talks about as their parents could afford to purchase property no matter what job they did as mortgages were within the means of ordinary working people not like today unfortunately the states of Guernsey have to take the responsibility for this sad state of affairs as they have raked in the cash from the banking industry and allowed the population to suffer with overinflation of. House prices utility bills rents etc . That is the reason people in many jobs cannot afford to buy a house no matter how many hours they work in a day .


Totally agree with you, but lots of others won't understand as they still remain unaffected.

Dave Jones


How on earth can it remain static?

For example, we have people living twenty years longer than they once did, people live healthier life styles now and older islanders will remain in social housing for many years longer than they once did.

The turnover in properties is therefore less frequent in that regard. We also have many applying for social housing as the economy contracts and people’s ability to earn more is limited, together with the number of well paid jobs that are available which allow people to rent or buy privately.

As for the population remaining static ( we wish ) but perhaps you can tell me how that would be achieved without interfering severely in peoples right to form relationships and have children if they choose, or return to the island if the choose to do so.


Dave Jones

If Guernsey's population is growing then social housing should grow in proportion but if social housing is growing due to increased poverty then that must be addressed rather than building proportionally more homes for the new poor.

Your comment about turnover makes sense but if demand in the private sector decreases due to expansion of social housing and contraction of the economy, then what?

I am realistic about population growth and don't have a problem with that but unless we start to build upwards instead of concreting over green space we will be increasingly urban, is that the intention? I'm not saying we should have skyscrapers but even 3 stories instead of 2 would be more sustainable.

Dave Jones

The increase in the provision of social Housing is likly to force rents in the private sector down, which I see as a good thing.

Also we have not moved off brown field sites to date, with the exception of Clos Barbier, and there are still several brown field sites in States ownership that miight be suitable for Housing projects. so we are a long way from building on the green space yet.


Dave Jones

I'm not convinced that the increase in the provision of social housing is the answer to poverty, but I appreciate your responses it is very interesting to discuss this with you.

I also don't like the sound of "yet"!


I also don't like the sound of 'yet'.

Guern abroad

People do not live healthier lifestyles now, we are living longer because medicine means we can.

Look around, apart for the true outdoors person Guernsey is sinking in lard.


Whilst Mr Jones speaks a lot of sense, I cannot agree that the problems created by the "By to Let" market can be ignored.

Back in March last year, we were all, temporarily, worried about Guernsey's time bomb.

Nothing has changed, and I still think that only something as radical as option 4 will stop the problems we continue to have over affordable housing.

Sadly, my cynicism hasn't changed either just yet, but I continue to live in hope.

St Marcouf

There is no way that social housing should be built in rural areas if it looks anything like the housing in the picture.

There is absolutely no excuse for these sorts of buildings to be so ugly and modelled on UK sink estates, and then to make matters worse, painted in gruesome colours which stick out like a sore thumb. It shows a complete lack of imagination and foresight.


St Marcouf -I couldn’t agree more…these places will date very quickly.


No one who is not a permanent resident here, should be allowed to own, build, alter, or develop any house on this island ( other than Open Market properties ) Nor should they be able to buy land. It may surprise some,but the vast majority of us, do not want this Beautiful island of ours, turned into another Monaco.


AJ.....So what about those local residents that own second homes in France , Spain, Turkey, USA etc etc??... Is it all right for them to own property abroad?.


G E P feature 15th Jan. Bas Courtil. Open Market persons living in social housing???


(Mark B) ,Just focus on our problem, and leave the rest of the world free to focus on theirs.


Time to bring in housing liences and work permits for the over populated small island we live in.This causing pressure on having to build affordable houses in the rural areas of our island.

Todays news that the waiting list is over 300 and increasing shows you that States of Guernsey needs to take steps throughout.

With the ever increasing population its putting pressure throughout all departments regarding cost which is uncontrollable.

Lets keep our beautiful rural landscaping beauty except for the derelict glasshouses which is an eyesore for local buildings.

Time for all our deputies to take harsh dicisions before we are hit by a time bomb.