Friday 22 July 2022
A large-scale redevelopment of Les Genats Estate will completely change the make-up of properties, design, feel and landscape of the area to better address the island's affordable housing requirements now and for the future.
The Committee for Employment & Social Security identified the redevelopment of the site as a priority for this term and sought, and received, the in-principle support of the Policy & Resources Committee for it to be progressed. The Guernsey Housing Association is now working with architects to design a phased redevelopment plan for the area that will, subject to final approvals, take place over several years.
Les Genats is currently the largest States-owned housing estate. It has 138 dwellings and a family Centre (Kindred Centre) - 111 of the properties are identical three-bed properties. The site is designed in an extremely outdated layout that is not conducive with modern day housing design planning.
- Mass concentration of three-bed family properties.
- Site poorly designed to include alleyways, long rows of terraces, monotonous faceless property design, houses facing each other and 'housing islands' overlooked by other properties.
- A poor road layout, areas of lost space like redundant games areas, a lack of open space and trees, poor privacy for tenants with properties tending to have larger front gardens than back gardens.
The objective of the redevelopment is to break the estate up into several clos rather than one large estate and move away from the make-up being predominantly three-bed social rental units. Instead, it will be replaced with a mix of property sizes and a range of affordable housing units - social rental, partial ownership and key worker - so it is a more diverse and community-blended housing area.
Redesigning the site to maximise its use, with more varied property size, will deliver approximately 50 additional units once complete. The redevelopment will also see a new Kindred Centre for use by the whole community and potentially other specialised housing facilities.
The final timeline for the redevelopment is not yet confirmed, however it is hoped the GHA will be in a position to submit plans to the Development & Planning Authority by early autumn.
Deputy Peter Roffey, President of the Committee for Employment & Social Security, said:
'I am delighted that work on this incredibly important redevelopment is progressing and that we will soon have detailed plans to consider, especially as this was personally for me a priority prior to the election. I fully understand that change of this scale will cause anxiety to some existing tenants and I have written to them to promise that they will be involved throughout the process. Tenants' requirements will all be taken into account as part of decants required during the phased redevelopment.
'Ultimately Les Genats is no longer fit for purpose, its design both in terms of the layout of properties and their make-up does not best meet the island's current affordable housing needs and there is significant potential to redevelop the site into several high-quality clos, of mixed tenures including social rental, partial ownership and key worker accommodation, for the benefit of residents.
'This is a substantial undertaking, as the design, layout, numbers and property sizes will be entirely different to what is currently there. It is an opportunity to develop an increased number of smaller properties that are desperately needed for social rental and partial ownership tenures. This is about more than just increasing the number of units on the site though, it is about enhancing the community feel of the area and better addressing the island's affordable housing requirements now and for the future. It is well-established that as a community we need fewer three-bed social rental homes and more one-bed properties.'