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E&I look to encourage the completion of private housing developments

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Tuesday 26 March 2024

The Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure has kicked off a key piece of work to explore what can be done to stimulate private market housing development as part of its Guernsey Housing Plan.

Increasing housing supply in Guernsey will help to alleviate the significant housing pressures the island is experiencing, and the Committee wants to do all it can to stimulate the speed of this supply.

In the last few years, planning permission has been given for many hundreds of new units of accommodation, yet only a small fraction of them have been, or are currently being, developed. The Committee is investigating the reasons for the lack of delivery and will make a range of proposals on what government could do to encourage the completion of more private market developments.

In the interests of exploring every possible solution to address the need for more housing, this work will also investigate the viability of establishing a States-owned delivery vehicle for housing developments, which could open up opportunities for the States to develop specific types, sizes or tenures of housing that are not being delivered through private developers. This could include some funding and delivery models which would be new to Guernsey, such as Build to Rent, and result in the more cost-efficient development of States-owned brownfield sites.

The Committee has asked arc4 Limited, the housing market specialists who supported the development of the Guernsey Housing Plan, to investigate these issues and opportunities and propose a range of solutions for the Committee to consider.

As part of the work, detailed analysis and engagement with relevant groups, including developers and the construction sector, will be undertaken. This work will also explore how other comparable jurisdictions encourage and stimulate private market housing supply, whilst considering what would be suitable for Guernsey.

These workstreams are outlined in the Guernsey Housing Plan which sets out a prioritised plan of action and the steps government will take to tackle Guernsey's significant housing pressures. The problems, which go far beyond simply a lack of supply, are complex and inter-related, meaning that there is no silver bullet solution or quick fix.

The Guernsey Housing Plan therefore contains many different workstreams to address this complex web of problems holistically and comprehensively. Thirteen workstreams are already underway and are being progressed across the States:

Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez, President of the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure, said:

"The fact that there are plenty of developments ready to take place but not nearly enough spades in the ground tells us that something isn't working as it should. Through conversations with developers and other parties we already have some understanding of the factors underpinning this situation, but we can't leave any stone unturned in our efforts to fully understand the causes and, most importantly, the solutions.

"This work will result in a delivery plan so that we can quickly move from understanding the current gap between planning permissions and completions to addressing that issue as soon as possible, which - given our pressing need for more housing - is a piece of work we are progressing as an absolute priority."

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