Guernsey Press

GP11 processes too complicated and too slow, says Construction Forum

The Guernsey Construction Forum has thrown its weight behind calls to suspend GP11.

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Guernsey Construction Forum chairman John Bampkin. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 32951933)

The influential group, with members including builders and property developers, has written to all States deputies to support the requete submitted by John Dyke.

GCF chairman John Bampkin said prior to GP11 the planning application process already needed to be streamlined and simplified.

‘A vicious circle has developed where developers’ cost of land and cost of building has dramatically increased to a point where they do not allow the industry-standard margin of 20% of sales value,’ he said.

‘This disincentivises investment and stalls much residential building.’

Deputy Dyke, who has submitted the requete, welcomed the support of the GCF and said he did not think it was a case of housing developers just wanting easier rules for development.

‘There is a clear problem here. We haven’t built on any of the sites with over 20 houses since GP11 was introduced,’ he said.

‘Hopefully this requete can change that.’

In the letter, Mr Bampkin said that GP11 processes were ‘too complicated, too slow and too difficult to administer’, were ‘inflexible’ and ‘contain too many fundamental uncertainties’.

He said that GP11 had also contributed to a decline in owner-occupancy, with around 11% of Guernsey’s local housing stock moving from owner-occupied to private landlord-owned between 2002 and 2018.

The letter stated that Guernsey, now has the highest building cost of anywhere in the UK, except the Scilly Isles, according to the RICS scale of regional building costs.

Mr Bampkin claimed that GP11 covenants were unwelcome for banks and other funders and that since its introduction in 2016, it had never been updated and was now ‘unworkable’.

‘Quicker decision-making, less uncertainty and fewer processes, such as development frameworks, are very important to developer investment decisions, and GP11 does not assist in achieving quicker or certain outcomes.

‘Disincentives to investment are one of the principal reasons why GP11 has not worked in Guernsey.’

He added that he believed the Guernsey Housing Association did not want to work with small numbers of units in diverse locations, but preferred bigger sites that it managed.

‘If any GP11 contributions had been achieved these would have unhelpfully provided small numbers of homes in diverse locations, managed by private house builders.

‘We are confronted with a housing crisis of a scale and magnitude not seen since the Liberation of Guernsey in 1945.

‘It is only the private sector which has the resources and capacity to mobilise at speed and to increase the housing supply.’