Guernsey Press

Empty houses by power station set to remain so

DEPUTIES hoping to find a loophole in environmental health regulations appear to have been knocked back in their efforts to rent out unoccupied houses behind the power station at North Side.

Deputy Neil Inder outside the empty houses in Hougue Jehannet Lane. His hopes they could be used for emergency accommodation appear to have been dashed. (Picture by Mark Ogier, 32155306)

The properties, owned by Guernsey Electricity, have been empty since 2015 after residents complained about noise and vibration from the power station following the installation of a new engine in 2012.

Deputy Neil Inder has argued they should be done up and made available to people in urgent need of shelter, or for ex-prisoners trying to reintegrate in the community.

He pursued the issue again at last week’s States meeting.

He asked Peter Roffey, president of the committees responsible for social housing and also for overseeing Guernsey Electricity, to release ‘seven or eight units... for immediate use for either temporary or emergency accommodation’.

Deputy Roffey said the electricity company was not blocking such a move, but he understood that Environmental Health was insisting that they could not be used.

‘There might be some loophole if it was employees of Guernsey Electricity, I understand, although I’m not positive about that,' he replied.

A member of staff from Guernsey Electricity living in its properties would free up another home for others, he accepted.

‘I don’t quite understand how it works as far as Environmental Health is concerned, but I’m told there might be an opportunity, so we are looking at that.'

But Environmental Health officials’ response to subsequent Guernsey Press enquiries appeared to dash the deputies’ hopes of finding a loophole to allow the properties to be used swiftly, even for housing Guernsey Electricity staff.

‘If suitable adjustments can be made then the properties could be re-utilised as domestic residences,’ they said.

‘If this is achieved then it is at the discretion of the owner who they may seek to house within the properties.’