Parishioners vote in favour of pursuing the St Peter Ville du Manoir scheme

St Peter residents narrowly voted in favour of continuing to pursue a controversial affordable-housing scheme.

But plans for the 65-unit Ville du Manoir project are now unlikely to be debated until 2021 after a large majority at a tense parish assembly voted that they should be discussed with planners for inclusion in the next Island Plan.

Divisions in St Peter have been emphasised recently after parish Deputy Rowland Huelin expressed concerns over the scheme, which was rejected last year by the previous Environment Minister Steve Luce for a number of reasons, including its planned development on high quality agricultural land in the green zone.

Former St Peter Constable John Refault has continually championed the scheme, however, citing the ever-increasing demand for affordable homes among young Islanders.

Under the Ville du Manoir proposals, first-time buyers with a connection to the parish of St Peter would be able to buy three-bedroom homes at a 75% discount.

During the assembly, a number of parishioners aired concerns about the development, including the permanent loss of farmland, the local primary school already being at capacity and additional traffic.

When asked to vote on whether to continue pursuing the scheme, however, a narrow majority of 85 to 74 voters backed it.

Parishioners were then asked whether they would back a current proposition lodged by Constable Richard Vibert requesting a revision of the current Island Plan so the land was rezoned, or whether they would prefer for the scheme to be proposed for inclusion witin the next Island Plan, which is likely to be debated early in 2021.

Deputy Huelin and Mr Vibert urged parishioners to vote in favour of the latter option, warning that revising the current plan would be time-consuming and could ultimately delay the delivery of affordable housing in St Peter and the Island as a whole.

The Deputy added that he thought a ‘successful solution’ to developing affordable housing was needed and that he was concerned that the current proposition would be blocked by the States Assembly.

Former parish Deputy, Senator Kristina Moore, favoured bringing the proposition to the States, claiming that you ‘have to be in it to win it’, so they should make the attempt.

Both the Senator and Mr Refault restated their support during the assembly for the Ville du Manoir Scheme, which they have championed since its inception.

‘This project represents less then 1% of the need for affordable homes in the Island,’ said Senator Moore.

‘And the agricultural land in question is only 0.0003% of the total area farmed in the Island currently.’

She added that precedents had been set before for developing on green-zone land in Jersey.