Guernsey Press

Hopes higher TRP tariff might smarten up Town

ST PETER PORT’S senior constable is hopeful that a higher rate of tax on unoccupied properties and derelict glasshouses will reduce the number of offensive buildings in the parish.

States are recommending penalising owners of derelict buildings with increased TRP as part of their budget proposals. St Peter Port douzenier Phil Smith (with his dog Mellow) and senior constable Zoe Lihou in Mansell Street. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 32607863)

However, Zoe Lihou also expressed some concern that the move could make it prohibitively expensive for some owners to refurbish their buildings.

The new punitive tariff – which would be set at five times the standard tariff – was one of a number of changes to tax on real property (TRP) announced yesterday by Policy & Resources’ treasury lead Mark Helyar as he unveiled the committee’s draft 2024 Budget.

P&R hopes the changes will raise an extra £3.7m.

They will be debated by the States next month.

Mrs Lihou thought the proposal was ‘quite penalising’, but hoped it would motivate property owners – especially in Mill Street and Mansell Street – to be proactive instead of retaining unused buildings.

‘It’s a financial penalty on those who don’t have the will to do anything,’ she said.

‘It will either lead to property owners finally making good on their buildings or it will generate more revenue for the States.

‘Is it too great of a penalty? Will people be able to afford the increase in the rate? I’m not sure what the overall impact will be.

‘It will certainly put more responsibility on owners.’

Deputy Steve Falla, who has called for derelict glasshouse sites to be freed up for housing developments, approved of the proposal in principle, but wanted to consider further whether the scale of the charges was right.

‘While I’ve yet to study the small print on this proposal, it is not a surprise as it was mooted by Deputy Helyar during the last budget,’ said Deputy Falla.

‘I’d rather see more of a holistic package, a combination of carrot and stick, so perhaps changes to rates alongside a relaxation of the rules surrounding what can be done with some derelict glasshouse sites, even those just outside of the main and local centres.’

La Societe Guernesiaise president Trevor Bourgaize welcomed the proposal.

He supported any plan which encouraged property owners to make use of empty buildings.

‘Our council have not considered it yet, but anything that has the potential to clean up unsightly houses is welcome by us,’ he said.

‘In terms of the derelict glasshouses, it would be great if they could be turned into a local community or nature reserve.’