Guernsey Press

A policy change to bring hope

NEXT week the States should finally make a decision on the planning policy that has dogged the entire life of this parliament – GP11.


The gestation of the policy began with a report written more than a decade ago.

Its conclusion was ‘it is feasible to require the provision of a percentage of affordable housing units on larger general market housing developments’.

And so, for the first time locally, developers would be required to make provision for an element of affordable housing on significant developments.

The approach, it was noted, needed to be ‘transparent, pragmatic, and applied consistently’, giving all stakeholders a clear understanding of policy expectations.

But it hasn't worked like that at all.

While we are given to understand that developers are holding back on schemes, in part due to economic issues and part GP11, what developments do go ahead see horse-trading behind the scenes and a variety of workarounds to avoid the affordable housing commitment.

So it now seems inevitable that one or the other of the intervention of two amendments – the combined thoughts of three committee presidents – will prevail in the Assembly next week, with the result that developers will then be held accountable for further progress in housebuilding.

For the policy suspension to work, those developers who have admitted that GP11 constraints are holding them back will then need to bring new projects forward – with the hope of bringing benefit across the community.