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Planning department: “Come forward with ideas!”

Planning department: “Come forward with ideas!”

Thursday 30 September 2021

Planning department: “Come forward with ideas!”

The President of the Development and Planning Authority is urging developers to come forward and re-purpose dormant office space.

Research carried out by Watts Property has revealed what most people already knew; that St Peter Port has an over-supply of properties that are not fit for modern-day use, prime space that could be better utilised.

Watts defined office space in Guernsey by three categories: prime, secondary, and tertiary. Prime office space being the best quality and tertiary being the lowest.

The audit was commissioned by the D&PA to make sure it was making the most of the island’s current stock of office space and making allowances for future developments.

“We had a lot of people coming to planning saying: ‘can we change this office for another use’," said Deputy Victoria Oliver.

"We also had to maintain the stock of office space; it was hindering development within St Peter Port where you have a lot of offices. We asked Watts to carry out this audit to see if we could actually change some of the office stock.”


Pictured: 28% of St Peter Port office stock is considered tertiary and inadequate for modern use.

The audit found that Guernsey has an under-supply of prime office space, and an over-supply of under-used, vacant tertiary stock that could be re-utilised.

“I knew there was a lot of tertiary office space around that was very difficult to let, so it could lend itself to being changed it to other things,” said Deputy Oliver.

Developers are being asked not to assume that because a type of development wasn’t allowed in the past, it won’t be allowed now. Deputy Oliver wants the D&PA to be more flexible in the future.

“Come forward with ideas and we can assess them - things have changed, so come and speak to planning, make an application, and more than likely we will be able to work something out,” she said.

Deputy Victoria Oliver

Pictured: “We have a lot of people coming to us and saying: ‘why can’t I change my office block’ and I ask if they’ve made an application yet and they say no – go get plans drawn up and come to us,” urged Deputy Oliver.

Some developers are already pressing ahead with planning applications and pre-applications in St Peter Port, with intentions to use tertiary office stock for various business ventures.

“I can’t speak on individual properties, but I know some people are looking at leisure facilities, some people are looking at the hospitality industry, particularly cafes, pubs, restaurants, gyms – so it’s a wide range of uses that people are coming forward with,” said Deputy Oliver.

The audit has shone a light on under-utilised space, but also opens the door for more conversation on office improvements and increasing primary stock in the island.

“We needed this report. Primary will still be protected because there isn’t as much primary as expected [according to the report].

“Some landlords might actually decide, we have an office lets upgrade it, so it comes in use for that too."

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