The property has been earmarked for housing for years, was zoned as an allocated site in the 2016 Urban Area Plan, and has since gone through an extensive planning and consultation phase. So permission of some sort, it seems, is a foregone conclusion.
Whether that’s a good or bad thing will depend on individual circumstances. For those living in the area, or members of the Delancey Conservation Committee, it is seen as little short of a disaster.
What makes this application different, however, is – if approved in its entirety – it will be the first to donate land to the Guernsey Housing Association for it to build new social housing unity. In effect, that’s a £1m. gift of 16 plots.
While critics will claim it’s a sweetener to get the wider objective of 32 houses, 10 flats and 10 maisonettes approved, the reality is it is just a drop in the bucket towards meeting demand.
According to the GHA, it had 193 people on its waiting list for partial ownership properties of up to three beds this June while the joint States Housing and GHA list for people needing up to four-bed properties to rent stood at 289 eligible households as at November 2020. That’s nearly 500 individuals or households in unsuitable or too expensive property and desperate to move.
By contrast, Pointues Rocques will add just 16 units to the GHA’s existing portfolio of 1,000 homes, which highlights the scale of the challenge in providing accommodation for local people on lower incomes who cannot access the property market without assistance.
So helping them requires two things – land, and money to subsidise building costs to make a decent home truly affordable.
So if critics of the Pointues Rocques development are successful in their opposition, it will come at a high price for those on the social housing waiting list.