Guernsey Press

We are not risk averse, says GHA CEO in defence of policy

GUERNSEY Housing Association chief executive Vic Slade has refuted claims that it lacks the appetite to provide more new homes.

GHA chief executive Vic Slade and Deputy Peter Roffey. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 33205511)

Policy & Resources president Lyndon Trott has claimed that the GHA’s appetite for development was ‘not what it was’, while critics point out that between the States and the association, the building of new homes appeared to have stalled somewhat.

Ms Slade, pictured, said this was not the case, and nor was it ‘risk averse’ and this could be seen in the work it was doing to help meeting the island’s housing needs by working towards getting development under way at Parc Le Lacheur, the former Kenilworth Vinery, and Belgrave Vinery, while at the same time looking to bring other sites forward.

Constraints on the two vinery sites, such as flood concerns, have led to plans being held up.

But after providing more than 1,000 homes over the last 20 years, Ms Slade said these were now at the point where investment was needed.

‘We have to make sure we can pay for the loans we take to provide new homes, as well as pay for investment in existing homes,’ she said.

‘We can’t compromise one at the expense of the other – it’s a balancing act, and we are more focused now than in previous years on maintaining the homes we already have.

‘It’s part of the contract we make with our tenants and reflects the age of our homes.’

There is talk being raised about whether the States should start to build houses again itself, rather than leaving the issue to the GHA.

‘Trying to meet the island’s housing need should be everyone’s priority, and we’re happy to be part of conversations about how that might be better achieved,’ Ms Slade said.

‘We know and understand our business as a housing association – we’re not a developer, and have a long-term stake in our homes and relationships with tenants.

‘We will always play our part to help meet housing need but without compromising our ability to invest in existing homes.’