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GEL staff could use empty houses

GEL staff could use empty houses

Thursday 06 July 2023

GEL staff could use empty houses

Thursday 06 July 2023


Guernsey Electricity is "exploring potential future uses" of houses it owns behind the power station, confirming they could be used as temporary staff accommodation.

The properties on Cognan Lane have not been lived in since 2015.

The previous owners moved out after making numerous complaints to Environmental Health about vibrations, noise and dust which they blamed on the generators used by Guernsey Electricity.

Alan Bates, Guernsey Electricity’s CEO, has now confirmed the properties could be lived in again, but only by his staff on a temporary basis.

"We are exploring potential future uses of the Cognon Lane properties, such as the temporary use of some of them by company employees. We maintain a dialogue with Environmental Health on our plans for the properties and no final decision has been made at this time.”

Alan_Bates.png

Pictured: Guernsey Electricity CEO Alan Bates.

Mr Bates explained that while the previous tenants had experienced negative effects from the noise of the generators at Northside, that would not be such an issue now as there is often less frequent on-island generation.

“Guernsey Electricity purchased properties in Cognon Lane in 2015 to allow for further investment at the power station site, following concerns raised by neighbours around noise. These followed a period of power station operations associated with reliability issues with the subsea cable to Jersey and onwards to France.

"Whilst these noise concerns remain, following the replacement of the subsea cable in 2019, the use of the power station is now limited to top up and back up duties whilst the cable is in operation."

Questions over any potential future use of the empty houses on Cognon Lane were raised by Deputy Neil Inder earlier this year.

He publicly queried why the 'seven or eight homes' just off Northside have been left empty since being bought by Guernsey Electricity in 2015, and wondered if they could be used to alleviate the current housing crisis.

Deputy Inder said he had been led to believe there were formal limitations on the residential use of the properties, but Environment & Infrastructure has since confirmed there aren't any restrictions on their use.

In a written response to formal Rule 14 questions submitted by Deputy Inder, E&I said:

"The Office of Environmental Health and Pollution Regulation has not imposed any conditions relating to who may occupy the properties in question. Providing the properties are fit for habitation, it is the decision of the owner how they will be utilised.

"The Office of Environmental Health and Pollution Regulation has corresponded with Guernsey Electricity in relation to the properties but has not issued a report. There is, therefore, no report to disclose."

Deputy Neil Inder

Pictured: Deputy Neil Inder.

If the properties are used to house Guernsey Electricity workers on a temporary basis, they will live there with the knowledge that the power station is in use with no plans for that to ever change. 

Mr Bates said: "The power station remains a key part of the infrastructure used to provide a secure electricity supply to the Island.

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