The Island Development Plan is performing as intended, according to the President of the Development & Planning Authority, Deputy Victoria Oliver.
The third Annual Monitoring Report on the Plan examines planning applications and development frameworks considered in both 2019 and 2020.
The Development & Planning Authority has submitted it to the States as an Appendix Report. This means it will be debated by the Assembly only if deputies approve a motion to debate it at their meeting which starts on 30 March.
Express understands that some deputies are discussing the possibility of submitting a motion to debate the report.
There Annual Monitoring Report makes no recommendations to revise the Island Development Plan.
“The report concludes that generally the Island Development Plan policies are performing as intended. It continues to deliver on social, environmental and economic objectives,” said Deputy Oliver.
Pictured: The Annual Monitoring Report provides data on a variety of planning applications and developments.
The large document includes planning statistics for 2019 and 2020 for housing developments, office developments, larger strategic developments and infrastructure projects.
It revealed a high rate of approval of planning applications, with only 131 applications being refused out of a total of 3,081 submitted to the Authority.
“I think we’ve got a lot better system in that there are a lot more pre-planning applications. I think people are far more engaged with the Island Development Plan than in previous years,” said Deputy Oliver.
Pictured: Deputy Victoria Oliver, President of the Development & Planning Authority.
Deputy Oliver is relaxed about the potential for a motion to debate the Annual Monitoring Report in the States next month. She acknowledges that several deputies have indicated lately that they would like an opportunity to reopen debate on various planning issues.
“A number of deputies wrote to me suggesting that, given that this is a new term and a new [Authority], it’s a very good time to speak about the Island Development Plan and get what the rest of the Assembly are thinking,” she said.
Any States' debate on planning issues is likely to include the role of GP11 - a policy in the Island Development Plan on affordable housing which has become contentious as a result of a lack of new housing developments and calls from some deputies to scrap or significantly modify the policy.
Pictured: Policy GP11 requires larger housing developments to include social housing.
Deputy Peter Roffey, the President of the Committee for Employment & Social Security, is a supporter of GP11 and does not want to see the policy scrapped.
“Over the last five years, the number of affordable homes built have been at the top end of the target range agreed by the States," said Deputy Roffey.
“At the start of that period, this was sufficient to satisfy the demand for housing in the affordable sector, but over the last two to three years those targets have clearly been far too low to meet ever-rising demand.
"This is due both to a steep rise in Guernsey's population and the ongoing long-term reduction in the average household size, meaning more homes are needed for the same number of people.
“I really hope my colleagues who advocate population growth as a painless quick fix to Guernsey's economic and demographic challenges will take stock of what that means in terms of additional housing requirements and the land to provide them.
“Social/affordable housing is even more worrying. It is clear that sites for such developments simply dried up a couple of years ago. Just at a time when demand was rising.
"Employment & Social Security, with the support of the Housing Action Group [a States' sub-committee], has recognised this and ensured that two large sites are available to the Guernsey Housing Association to recommence its building programme. But there is clearly going to be a lacuna of a year or two in new social/affordable housing, which is very bad news.”
Pictured: Deputy Peter Roffey said: "Looking ahead, it is good to see many private developments either under construction or in the planning stage but again that is still unlikely to fully meet the demands which lie ahead."
Deputy Oliver said the wealth of information in the Annual Monitoring Report is extremely valuable to the Authority and others in the States.
"We have learnt a lot from this report," she said.
"It's really important that we compare our data with previous Annual Monitoring Reports so that we can identify trends, things to watch and things that may need to be actioned.”
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