The States has agreed to buy Kenilworth Vinery for £6.5m with a view to building more than 100 GHA homes on the Saltpans site.
Guernsey continues to struggle through its housing crisis, with the most recent figures indicating Local Market house prices have increased by more than £100k in the past 12 months.
Earlier this term, the States formed the Housing Action Group comprised of the Presidents of Policy & Resources, Employment & Social Security, Environment & Infrastructure, and the Development & Planning Authority.
The group recommended the purchase of Kenilworth Vinery for £6.5m, which was subsequently approved by P&R using its delegated authority. Plans are being drawn up for the Guernsey Housing Association to build up to 135 units of housing on the vinery.
Pictured: The development is one of many that is being proposed or progressed in the north of the island.
Back in 2019, the DPA approved a Development Framework for the site. It was criticised at the time by Vale’s Senior Constable, Richard Leale, who argued that more development in the north would simply “funnel more traffic onto already congested roads.”
The rationale suggested by the States for developing Kenilworth Vinery is that it is more readily available for compared to other States’ owned sites.
“The purchase of Kenilworth Vinery offers an immediate opportunity to get development of much-needed housing stock progressing quickly,” said Chair of the HAG and President of ESS, Deputy Peter Roffey.
“We also know there is a general narrative of developments focused in the north of the island. While the facts don’t bear this narrative out in terms of actual properties developed in recent years, it is factual that the main centres identified for development are in St Peter Port, the Vale and St Sampson’s,” he said.
Pictured: “We are mindful of needing to balance the needs of the whole island for more affordable housing, with those of localised communities understandably wary of development on their doorstep,” said Deputy Roffey.
In announcing the purchase, the President of P&R Deputy Peter Ferbrache, said: “It is anticipated that this may also reduce pressure on the private rental market, which we know currently has far more demand than supply.”
HAG will now plan for what it can deliver within the year, despite no detailed plans for the site being available yet. A Development Framework doesn’t constitute planning permission either, so this needs to be sought and secure approval before any work can commence.
It’s expected that the site will eventually be made up of one-to-two-bedroom properties and house key workers in properties alongside affordable housing.
A designated protected open space at the end of the site could be developed into a public area.
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