Rezone fields to save affordable homes plan, says Andium

AN area of protected dairy farmland in St Peter should be rezoned so that rejected proposals for an affordable housing scheme on the site can be resurrected, the States-owned social housing developer has said.

In its latest annual report, Andium Homes has called for the revival of the Ville De Manoir project, which would see 65 three-bedroom homes built in the area between the Sir George Carteret pub and St George’s School.

Earlier this year, former Environment Minister Steve Luce blocked Andium’s planning application for the site on a number of grounds, in particular because the site is an area of high-quality agricultural land.

The homes would have been made available to Islanders with a connection to the parish at a discounted price.

Commenting in Andium’s newly published annual report for 2017, the company’s chief executive, Ian Gallichan, said he hoped that a scheme could be revived as demand for affordable housing in the Island remained very high.

‘We were incredibly disappointed that planning permission was refused for the development of 65 first-time-buyer homes in St Peter,’ he said.

‘Particularly on the grounds of insufficient evidence of the demand for such homes, which is so clearly evident from the Affordable Housing Gateway.

‘The volume of people attending our Homebuy event, as well as the surge in registration when schemes are advertised, indicates that the demand for affordable purchase is far in excess of 1,000 applicants.

‘We hope that the land in St Peter is ultimately rezoned in order that we can provide the much-needed new homes on that site.’

 

In the report Mr Gallichan also said that the findings of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry report, which was published last year, had influenced the work of Andium and the company was working to deliver on ‘any recommendations relevant to us’.

In his statement, Andium chairman Frank Walker said that issues with housing had ‘contributed’ to children ending up in the care system.

‘2017 saw the publication of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry and we were quick to consider its findings,’ he said.

‘What emerged was evidence that housing, access to it and issues of quality and affordability, had contributed to children ending up in the care system over too many years.

‘Our progress in improving the housing stock and increasing supply will go some way to preventing this from happening again and we stand ready to work with ministers and States departments to achieve the right outcomes.’

He added: ‘Of particular note in this respect, is our ability to deliver affordable housing for key workers in Jersey, whether that be in the short term to assist with the Future Hospital Project, or in delivering a longer-term solution for key-worker accommodation to meet the ongoing demands for health and social services and other vital services.’