Guernsey Press

ESS ‘champing at the bit’ to deliver on social housing

TWO major social housing developments in St Sampson’s will not be delayed despite the deferral of open planning meetings, Employment & Social Security president Peter Roffey has assured the States.

Employment & Social Security president Peter Roffey. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 32147426)

Development plans for a total of more than 200 new homes at Fontaine Vinery and Kenilworth Vinery, now known as Parc Le Lacheur, are being reconsidered as a result of inflation in the construction industry and a decision of the States last October to change migration policies and encourage a higher rate of population growth.

‘I cannot stress enough how critical it is that we get this right and ensure that the north of the island remains a pleasant place to live,’ said Deputy Roffey.

‘I also want to reassure members that this short planning delay won’t impact on when building work will start on the two sites.

‘This is because they are both planned to start in quarter one 2025. This aligns these large building projects with construction industry capacity alongside the States’ other planned large building projects.’

Deputy Roffey also defended a delay of about 12 months to the development of the site in La Charroterie, which previously housed CI Tyres, now known as Domaine des Moulins, for key worker housing.

‘While ESS is champing at the bit to deliver this site, and many others, as quickly as possible, it was important to take a step back and consider whether it was possible to increase the density of units to maximise the development potential of the site,’ he said.

‘While a planning application will need to be submitted and considered formally, early indications are that a larger scheme will be agreed.

‘We’re now looking at delivering around 54 units on the site, more than double what the original plans would have provided. We believe that this outweighs the impact of the delay of around 12 months in delivering the completed scheme.’

Deputy Roffey revealed that ESS and its development partner, the Guernsey Housing Association, are currently trying to secure another site which he said ‘would be perfect for key workers’. He hoped to announced more details soon.

He also told the States that building inflation had pushed up the cost of another housing development being led by his committee – La Vieille Plage, which will provide 14 units of specialised housing for adults with learning disabilities.

‘The capital grant requirements for this scheme have increased substantially since the original business case was prepared... but it is hoped that work can start on this site in the next few months.

‘It’s very important to ESS that we recognise the needs of all islanders and ensure we deliver new homes across all affordable housing tenures, so we’re delighted building work on this project will be under way soon.’