P&R backs down on family homes near Castel Hospital

THE island’s top political committee appears to have climbed down from its original intention to build 90 family homes on States-owned land at the old Castel Hospital site.

Deputy Peter Roffey at the Castel Hospital.  (30443076)
Deputy Peter Roffey at the Castel Hospital. (30443076)

Policy & Resources, which is in charge of the States property portfolio, has said it is ‘taking note of the public debate’ and that ideas presented were in the very early stages to stimulate discussion.

Earlier this month Deputy David Mahoney, the committee’s property lead, told the Guernsey Press he favoured family homes on fields around the former hospital, and stated that there was a desperate need for three, four, and five-bedroom homes for purchase.’

Peter Roffey was one of the politicians who spoke out on the proposal because he wanted the States-owned site to be reserved for social housing, built within the existing concrete footprint.

On this week’s Guernsey Press Politics Podcast, Deputy Peter Roffey said that P&R had now backtracked from what it had set out.

‘I’ve written about the Castel site and some other matters to P&R on behalf of Employment & Social Security, and I recently had a reply from [Deputy] Peter Ferbrache saying no, there are no plans, we haven’t looked at any plans, it was just one idea, it stimulated debate.

‘It certainly sounded like an official announcement to me.

‘I was pushing to know what the footprint would be, and apparently there is no footprint because there are no plans, and it’s not even decided that’s how the Castel site will be used. They are still open to other ideas like social housing, which ESS would like to see there, inside the footprint of the developed area. So I think they’ve sort of de-announced the announcement.’

The family homes for sale proposal received a mixed reaction, including strident opposition from environmentalists.

Deputy Roffey said he was relieved at the apparent change of heart.

‘I think if hadn’t been for some of the howls of outrage that would have been taken as the plan moving forwards, and I hope they do think again because although I’m really desperate to see more housing, and the latest census figures show that we need even more than I thought, we do have to protect our green and open areas, and there are brownfield sites that we can start on first.

‘I think taking agricultural priority areas would be an outrage.

‘Apart from the fact that I care about the agricultural industry, it’s biodiversity and quality of life, we like to see the hedgerows and the open fields, so why build on them when there are other options available.’

. The podcast is available to listen to now on our website.

P & R ‘taking note of public debate’

POLICY & Resources has moved to clarify its position.

‘Ideas for the Castel Hospital site are in the very early stages,’ said a spokesman.

‘Deputy Mahoney has presented the community with a vision for the site, and the committee was aware of it prior to release.

‘But the committee has not yet held a formal review of

the plans and is cognisant of other ideas that are being raised.

‘The committee is taking note of the public debate about the site.

‘Also, the committee is actively looking at ways to further assist the delivery of housing.

‘The committee will engage with stakeholders, including the committees for Employment & Social Security and Health & Social Care.’

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