Deputy Steve Falla has suggested redundant greenhouses could be used to alleviate the island's housing crisis, an idea Ian Daish supports, but with a slight twist:
"I fully support Deputy Steve Falla’s idea in today’s [13 April] Bailiwick Express. But I know that there has been a reluctance in the past to allow glasshouses to be redeveloped as housing. Not least, because of the impact of a sudden increase in land prices of such sites and it appearing to be a “reward” for lethargy and inaction on clearing such eyesores.
"Also, to allow all 75 hectares of redundant glasshouses to be redeveloped all of a sudden would likely cause a collapse in land prices across the island and, in general, property values, which would no doubt upset most other property owners. In any event, the island doesn’t have enough builders to take on such a sudden increase in work.
"However, one way of gradually releasing such glasshouses for redevelopment might be an annual lottery. It could also be structured to encourage many property owners to clear up their current derelict glass.
"Allow up to 5 hectares (or such other reasonable area of land) to be redeveloped each year under this lottery scheme. However, make it a condition of entering the lottery that for a site to qualify it must be cleared of the existing redundant glasshouse structure(s). Just like the ordinary Channel Islands lottery, these qualifying sites would be entered into the annual draw and the winner(s) picked at random.
"I am sure that this lottery scheme could be also tweaked to encourage redevelopment in existing conurbation areas rather than more rural areas.
"This seems to me to be a win-win scheme for everyone, with 'Madame Luck' acting as the final arbiter as to which glasshouse owner gets rich, and the rest of us seeing an improvement in the clear up rate of these old glasshouse sites. And, of course, more otherwise “brown” land being used for building the new homes we urgently need."