Guernsey Press

Where was the public policy development on expanding open market?

It is wrong to suggest, as Deputy de Sausmarez’s response to a letter (Friday 19 January) did, that just because the States gave itself powers to be able to add properties to the open market inscription when creating the open market register in 2015 that a decision was taken to expand the size of the open market. There was no such resolution.


If the States wishes to increase the size of the open market by some 12.5% as suggested by Deputy de Sausmarez’s letter, it must go through a proper process of public policy development. And do so with a presentation of a clear policy objective, together with the full and correct facts, and develop and present evidence of its social and economic arguments.

It is wrong to do so by sending a letter presenting a fait accompli to open market residents the week before Christmas. A letter that incorrectly claimed that the size of the open market had fallen by 200 properties in the last decade as, according to the States’ own published data, it has remained constant. And thus the grounds for a proposed expansion by 200 properties are exposed as tenuous.

Without any supporting research or analysis it is also wrong to suggest an increase in the supply of properties on this scale is unlikely to have any impact on the market, as did the letter to open market residents before Christmas.

It seems memories are also short. Yes, post-Covid the open market received a temporary boost, but for the best part of a decade it had been very much in the doldrums.

There are good reasons why public policy development should be conducted transparently and in public. Treating members of the public fairly is one of them. And while it may not be a populist view, open market residents are members of the public too.

Published codes recommend publishing preliminary proposals, evidence, and analysis well in advance for consultation, enabling the public influence on policy outcomes before final proposals are published. Such a process should be followed. I replied to Deputy de Sausmarez’s letter to open market residents, strongly suggesting a change in approach.

I received an acknowledgement, but no substantive reply to any of my points. Following Deputy de Sausmarez’s response to the letter in the GP and reports that the E&I Committee is continuing the same path, I now feel the need to make these points publicly.

Dr Andy Sloan

Open market resident

St Martin’s