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GALLERY: GHA unveils Saltpans project

GALLERY: GHA unveils Saltpans project

Saturday 01 August 2020

GALLERY: GHA unveils Saltpans project

The Guernsey Housing Association has unveiled 20 new properties up for rent or partial ownership in St Sampson's, marking the end of a project worth nearly £4million.

Despite facing setbacks during lockdown, Pont Colliche in Saltpans Road is now complete with the first tenants due to move in next week.

The estate is made up of 12 one-bedroom flats for rent and eight partial ownership homes - two one-bedrooms, two two-bedrooms and four three-bedrooms.

"The rented waiting list has a big need for one-bedroom accommodation," explained GHA Chief Executive, Steve Williams. "We're trying to address the need in terms of new applicants but also, working with Housing, we are looking at existing tenants in social housing properties who perhaps want to downsize from a two or three-bed to a one-bed. If we can accommodate them into a one-bed, we can then free up their accommodation for another family."

Steve Williams GHA

Pictured: Steve Williams of the GHA.

Each of the ground-floor flats has been specifically designed to be accessible for tenants with mobility issues, as part of wider GHA and Employment & Social Security plans to ensure the property offering fits tenants' needs.

"We make sure all ground-floor flats are level access, front and back, and also have wet floor bathrooms, wide doorways and raised power points so anybody who's got mobility issues can get in and out fine," Mr Williams continued. "It gives us versatility. It's not guaranteed that the tenants will all be wheelchair users, but quite often people will have a mobility problem and it just gives us that flexibility.

"When you look around Guernsey, there are a lot of bungalows but lots have steps up to the door, steps inside or narrow doorways and narrow hallways. So, although you see a lot of bungalows around, they're not all suitable for someone who's got a mobility problem."

All of the properties have tenants lined up to move in, with the original completion date originally set for April, but that had to be pushed back due to corona virus.

"I was fortunate enough to be here when someone was shown around with the tenancy team and it's good to see people go into a flat and think 'wow, this is really nice'," said Development Officer for the GHA, Andre Quevatre. "A lot of people are living in, not necessarily substandard accommodation, but inappropriate accommodation. There was an elderly couple with health issues who looked at the ground-floor flat with level access everywhere. They're not going to have to cope with stairs anymore and they've got a wet room, which is appropriate for them. It's a nice feeling."

GHA website homepage.jpg

Pictured: The GHA offers social housing and partial ownership housing.

"If you're in a ground-floor flat we give you a bit of a garden - not always with grass because, generally speaking, it's not appropriate for everybody to have to mow a lawn - and in the first and second-floor flats we put a balcony where we can. It just gives some outside space that people wouldn't normally have."

The partial ownership houses also have some outdoor space and parking is dedicated for each property, with some visitor spaces available too.

The project was made possible with help from Employment & Social Security, which granted £1.65m towards the development, while the rest is covered by bank loan.

"We know there is an ongoing need to provide social housing in Guernsey and that's something we're going to continue to work on to assign the right sites to that," said ESS committee member, Deputy Emilie McSwiggan.

"I'm really glad we have the partial ownership scheme, but I think you need to see that from both sides. It's great that there's a way into the property market for people who otherwise wouldn't be able to access it, but the popularity of partial ownership really underlines what a challenge it is - especially for first time buyers - to access the property market at all. Partial ownership isn't a complete solution to that. It remains a challenge to government and something that our successors are going to have to try and address."

The new development is named Pont Colliche after an old footpath crossing which existed close by, between the main island of Guernsey and the Clos du Valle when they were separate islands prior to 1806.

GALLERY: A peak at the properties... 

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