Houses on stilts could be an answer

MODULAR housing is being considered by Employment & Social Security, committee president Peter Roffey has said.

Interview time for Deputy Peter Roffey after updating the States on the work of Employment & Social Security. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29664841)
Interview time for Deputy Peter Roffey after updating the States on the work of Employment & Social Security. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29664841)

After his update statement to the Assembly,

Deputy Roffey faced a number of questions about housing.

In response to Deputy Marc Leadbeater about modular housing, Deputy Roffey confirmed it was being considered.

‘We’re looking at factory-built homes not only for key workers, although that is incredibly important, but also for other developments because otherwise the length of time from acquiring a site, through planning permission, through construction, is massive, and because we know that the construction industry is, amazingly, after Covid extremely busy.

‘So we are doing a lot of research into modular homes and how that can best be used, but Deputy Leadbeater is quite right that it probably has a particular relevance for key workers.

‘There are some interesting models of modular homes that can be built in car parks on stilts without taking away the car parking, I don’t know what HSC’s [Health & Social Care] view on that is, but there might be potential at the PEH site to do just that.'

The new housing action group, which involves Deputy Roffey and the presidents of Policy & Resources and Environment & Infrastructure, held its first meeting last week.

Deputy Roffey said one problem was a ‘dearth of sites’, but the former Castel Hospital and Fontaine Vinery were opportunities.

‘We are pushing for States-owned land both currently developed which can be re-developed, and undeveloped land to be used.

‘Castel Hospital is an example of the former, the Fontaine Vinery is an example of the latter.

‘We’re working closely with the Development & Planning Authority, but there has been over the last few years a dearth of available sites. We have made clear that we are keen to press on, through our delivery partner which is really the Guernsey Housing Association and provide more social housing as rapidly as we can.’

There were several questions about a controversial housing policy called GP11, which was meant to encourage private developers to build affordable housing, but since it was introduced in 2016 it has achieved very little.

The mood among some deputies was that GP11 should be scrapped, but Deputy Roffey urged them to ‘hold your nerve over it’.

He said there were two sites that were due to produce significant numbers of affordable housing because of GP11, so it would be ‘supremely bad timing’ to scrap it.

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