Guernsey Press

States in talks to fund new housing at Bridge

HOUSING supply and affordability, led by the regeneration of the Bridge, is the focal point of new strategic priorities for the States being put forward by Policy & Resources.

A Venn diagram showing how housing is at the centre of the States' priorities. (32438328)

Housing is the clear priority in the plan, which could be sparked by the intent for new building around the Bridge.

The committee said yesterday that talks with ‘interested parties’ about the area had already started and it plans to report back to the States in November for a December debate, seeking in-principle agreement that the States should be prepared to invest in the regeneration of the Bridge ‘through the development of housing and related flood defence work’.

P&R said it could not provide more details on the Bridge issue due to the commercial nature of its discussions with third parties.

But it has asked the States to agree that ‘housing supply and affordability is a critical enabler to each of the strategic portfolios, and a main driver of cost-of-living pressures’.

Its new report follows the green paper debate on the Government Work Plan in July which concluded with members accepting three key strategic portfolios.

These reflected the importance of public service resilience, security and governance; housing, infrastructure and the economy; and sustainable health and care services. The States will be asked to formally approve these in October, when the proposals will be debated alongside the capital portfolio, setting out the States’ major infrastructure projects, and the funding and investment plan, which looks at the likely cost of delivering public services and government obligations over the next decade and how this might be funded.

‘The Government Work Plan is now more focused on priorities than at any stage previously in this term, reflecting the July States’ debate,’ said Bob Murray, its lead on the committee.

‘By agreeing this approach, States’ members will prepare the way for the finalised approach to funding and investment that will be debated in October.’

He said that the report reflected the need to speed up the pace of change in the delivery of public services and the provision of health and social care, which were critical areas, as was investment in the economy and infrastructure.

‘Given the significant engagement with committees on this approach, and the July States’ debate, the committee is optimistic that the States will support these recommendations and demonstrate to the community we are determined to make significant progress in dealing with this issue this term,’ said Deputy Murray.

Appended to the report are committee work plans which set out each departments’ priorities and the States will be asked to direct each one to prioritise its resources to carry out its responsibilities in accordance with these plans.

The former Leale’s Yard site on the Bridge has been targeted for 300 new homes as well as a new Co-op store. Purchased by the CI Cooperative Society in 1998, its latest plans for the site were approved in November 2022, but with more than two dozen conditions. In May the company said work was on-going to satisfy these conditions.