Friday 25 August 2023
In December the Policy & Resources Committee expects to be able to ask the States to enter into an agreement to buy newly constructed homes on part of the Leale's Yard site, ready for occupancy and therefore providing a revenue stream.
In its policy letter published last Friday (18th August), the Committee recommended that the States prioritise funding for the development site, which is unusual in its strategic importance. This would facilitate the urgently needed regeneration of the Bridge area through mixed tenure housing with a new partner and commence work on associated flood defences.
Statement from Deputy Peter Ferbrache, President of the Policy & Resources Committee:
'In a move away from the purchase of land and to diversify relationships and accelerate regeneration, the States will be asked to enter into an agreement to buy newly constructed homes on part of the Leale's Yard site, ready for occupancy and therefore providing a revenue stream. Housing supply and affordability is the most critical issue for the Island and the States will want to secure as many homes as they can reasonably afford given the pressures on social housing, partial ownership and key worker provision.
'The Committee wants to do all it reasonably can to support this troubled site deliver its potential and given its history this seems very unlikely without some upfront investment, which includes support for critical infrastructure like flood defences. The negotiations are not with Co-Op but the entity now responsible for the site's development. This site has a development framework and some planning approvals so is further progressed than many alternatives. It also has a contractor so has a realistic chance of bringing these homes to market this political term. The site is also central to ensuring the best use of adjacent land. The Committee is currently in sensitive commercial negotiations to support this work. It is very early in the discussions which remain subject to due diligence and achieving an acceptable financial arrangement, however the tenure of properties secured will be mixed and very likely to include key worker accommodation that will again achieve a financial return for the States.
'The Committee cannot progress this purchase without the support of the States. The States will rightly want greater detail which is under discussion which is why the final decision will not be until December at the earliest. Meanwhile, it is an in-principle decision that is necessary so that provision can be made in the capital portfolio to ensure the funds are available when needed. The Committee remains steadfastly of the view that it must explore every possible route to increase housing supply and affordability, and especially the availability of key worker homes given the exorbitant cost of agency staff in the health and care sector. It will continue to do so but always mindful of securing the best value possible.'
The Government Work Plan policy letter can be read in full at www.gov.gg/statesmeetings