Homes of right type must be built on States land

YESTERDAY’S PRESS editorial [States’ role in building homes needs clarity] assumed that I was opposed to the States being involved in any way in the building of homes for sale. That is not the case. Indeed I actively support the States facilitating the construction of modest homes, of the type which might typically appeal to the first time buyers or downsizers markets. Ideally I would like to see these built on mixed tenure developments, which also included partial ownership properties, social housing, and possibly key worker accommodation.

My point in expressing concerns over the exact nature of the proposed development on the Castel Hospital site, and its surrounding fields, is that I felt precious States-owned land ought to be prioritised for affordable housing rather than for larger, relatively upmarket, properties.

I stress that I have no objection to the development of substantial homes for the upper reaches of the market. To solve the current supply issues, we need properties of all types. Rather my point was that private developers already have significant parcels of land which are able to be developed for this sector of the market. If the States want to encourage such developments to come forward there are range of policy ‘carrots’ and ‘sticks’ they can consider. Such consideration will form a large part of the work of the HAG over the next few months.

By contrast, the availability of sites for social/affordable housing is limited and it is telling that not one States-owned property which has been identified as a possible site for such development has been made available – except for the Belgrave vinery, which had already been earmarked for the purpose for several years before the current housing crisis.

Taking the Castel Hospital as a test case, there has long been an outline plan for the GHA to redevelop it as 90 modest homes within the footprint of the existing area of development. By contrast the idea of a similar number of much larger homes is, apparently, going to require building on important green land and agricultural fields. To my mind, this is not the right way to go.

DEPUTY PETER ROFFEY

President, Committee for Employment & Social Security

Chairman, States Housing Action Group

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