Guernsey's most senior politician is welcoming the Co-op's latest proposal to develop Leale's Yard.
But Deputy Peter Ferbrache, President of the Policy & Resources Committee, hopes it is only the start of the island doing more to increase the supply of affordable housing.
The Co-op made a planning application for its proposed scheme on Thursday. It includes more than 300 homes, a new Co-op food store, other retail space, a multi-storey car park for more than 300 vehicles and various civic and green areas.
The Channel Islands' retailer hopes to secure planning permission this year and open the new food store and the first homes on the site within the following three years.
Picture: The Co-op says that civic and amenity spaces are important parts of their proposed development at Leale's Yard, which would provide new retail space and homes for hundreds of families.
Reacting to the proposals over the weekend, Deputy Ferbrache told Express: "I commend those who have brought forward the proposed development at Leale's Yard. There have been false dawns before, but I hope and expect this will not be one.
"My personal view is that I wish it every success but I fully appreciate it needs to go through the proper planning process."
"This development can really give that part of the island a real boost," he said.
The Co-op and its development partners have made a commitment that their scheme will focus on affordable housing. And The Guernsey Housing Association has told Express that it hopes to reach a deal with the Co-op for the scheme to include partial ownership and rental properties.
Pictured: The Co-op and its development partners plan to put up modular homes. They would be constructed in a factor in England and then assembled in modules at Leale's Yard.
However, Deputy Ferbrache wants the proposed development in the Vale and St Sampson's to be only the first step towards alleviating housing concerns which have re-emerged as a major issue politically.
"Leale's Yard helps a fair bit, but the States need to do a lot more to help with the housing situation," said Deputy Ferbrache.
"Lack of affordable housing dampens aspiration, limits the number of workers we need as they cannot afford to live here, and adversely affects the quality of life of so many folk.
"I do have my own...radical idea to help, but I do not know how practical it would be or how achievable it is."
Deputy Ferbrache said that he would discuss his "radical idea" with colleagues on the Policy & Resources Committee before saying anything further about it publicly.
At the most-recent States' meeting, Deputy Ferbrache told the Assembly that "so far, like our predecessor States, we have woefully failed to meet the concerns of the bedrock of our community – those who work, do not have a bank of mum and dad, and who want to advance themselves and improve the lives of their families".
He said that housing should be among a small number of priorities for the States for the remaining three years of their term.
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