Guernsey Press

Les Genats rebuild could ease affordable housing waiting list

PLANS being firmed up by the States and Guernsey Housing Association to redevelop Les Genats Estate at Cobo could make a significant dent in the island’s lengthy waiting list for affordable housing.

Employment & Social Security Committee president Peter Roffey and the committee’s vice-president, Deputy Lindsay de Saumarez, at yesterday’s Scrutiny meeting. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 30638729)

The plans to rebuild the estate, which was built in the late 1960s and early 1970s, should see a radical overhaul of the site, which currently consists of 138 properties over 7.5 acres.

The vast majority of the estate is three-bedroomed homes, and under questioning from the Scrutiny Management Committee at a public hearing yesterday, Employment & Social Security Committee president Peter Roffey said he hoped that many more units of accommodation could be created on the site. He expected that as many as 80% extra units – not bedrooms – could be created by moving away from the over-supply of family homes in a redevelopment which could leave Les Genats ‘unrecognisable’.

Deputy Roffey talked about creating five or so smaller estates or clos, rather than one big ‘amorphous estate’.

He was also asked about the prospect of the States selling all its housing properties to the GHA, which will undertake the Genats scheme, and said he had two thoughts uppermost.

‘What’s best for the existing social housing tenants and what’s likely to deliver the most good quality social housing in the future? I think there is a case for saying that the GHA model might be able to deliver that better, but that’s frustrating because the States should be able to deliver that just as well.’

Deputy Roffey said he would like to consider liberalising the eligibility criteria for social housing, and while he conceded to Deputy John Dyke that it would be feasible for the GHA to sell 100% of affordable homes to islanders and to control onward sales by means of covenant, he did not favour the idea.