Christmas is target for planning application

DETAILED plans for the former Kenilworth Vinery site could be submitted for planning permission by Christmas and development could start next summer, if everything goes smoothly, Guernsey Housing Association chief executive Steve Williams has said.

Guernsey Housing Association chief executive Steve Williams on the former Kenilworth Vinery site yesterday. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 30088289)
Guernsey Housing Association chief executive Steve Williams on the former Kenilworth Vinery site yesterday. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 30088289)

It is hoped about 130 homes could be built on the site. Mr Williams said they expected a mixture of one- and two-bed houses and flats, aimed at older people, couples and small families.

He said the sale process had moved quite quickly and the association was now working with architects to draw up the plans.

He felt the site had a number of positives.

‘It already had a development framework [which is required before planning permission for a site of this size] and it is well located,’ he said.

‘It’s close to the Bridge and shops and bus routes. And it’s level.’

He accepted that it had some challenges as well.

‘There are very few sites with no challenges,’ he said.

‘We will be clearing the site to see what we have got, like old vinery foundations. We will check for contamination, but we doubt any will be severe.’

There will also be a need to draw up a flood plan for the low-lying site.

Currently there is a large shallow, water-filled hole in the north of the site, but Mr Williams said that should not be too hard to remove.

He said he was keen to move forward swiftly with this development.

‘We are putting pressure on the design team, to try and get a planning application in by Christmas,’ he said.

‘Ideally we would get that back in May and June, so there is scope to start next summer.’

He said it would take at least 12 months for the first homes to be ready, so people could start moving in during summer 2023.

The development framework indicates the main access should be onto Braye Road.

Mr Williams said it expected that to be the case in the design, but were investigating whether there could be secondary access points on to the nearby roads, whether that be for emergency vehicles, residents’ cars, bicycles or pedestrians.

‘We want to make it easy for people to walk and cycle to the Bridge,’ he said.

He accepted that people were often concerned that developments like this would lead to increased traffic. But he said the people they would be housing were already living in the island, and it was likely many of them were in the north.

‘It’s not like it’s a transplanted population,’ he said.

‘They are already living here. They are people’s sons and daughters.’

The development framework suggests that part of the site could be used for amenity space.

Mr Williams said they were looking at this and liaising with douzaines about the possibility of a public park.

The GHA is based just off the Bridge and Mr Williams said he appreciated the challenges the area faced.

‘There’s not a lot of green space around the Bridge.’

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