St Peter Members considering new affordable housing plans
ST PETER’S newly elected Constable and Deputy are considering alternative plans following the rejection of an affordable housing scheme in the parish earlier this year.
Deputy Rowland Huelin and Constable Richard Vibert are both keen to revive the hopes of Islanders who were left disappointed after the Ville du Manoir scheme for 65 three-bedroom homes was rejected by former Environment Minister Steve Luce.
The plans were blocked for a number of reasons, including that it was proposed to build on an area of protected dairy farmland between St George’s School and the Sir George de Carteret pub.
Mr Vibert said that he was keen to resubmit changed plans but would like to consider alternative sites in the parish, if the revised proposals are blocked again.
‘I think we must resubmit the existing plans and try and get them passed by Planning. If that isn’t successful then we should look at smaller sites for affordable homes,’ he said.
‘If the plans are rejected, then we will have to wait until the next Island Plan in 2020 to resurrect them by trying to get the land rezoned. My view is if that happens we should look at alternatives.’
Deputy Huelin said that a number of parishioners had pointed out potential small sites to him for affordable housing while he was visiting homes during his election campaign.
‘What I would also like to see is a move away from building just three-bedroom homes,’ he added.
‘I would like to see one- and two-bedroom units built so that other people can live in the parish if they want to, and won’t feel excluded because they aren’t a family with two children.’
Deputy Luce said that the Ville du Manoir plans as they stand are a ‘long, long way’ from being approved.
‘Brown cows in a green field are what we want to protect more than anything else under the Island Plan. And in that particular field the cows are browner and the grass is greener than just about anywhere,’ he said.
‘So there needs to be a particularly good case for why we should not retain it for agricultural use. We don’t want to look back in years to come and say that we made a mistake.’
Julia Quenault, whose family own the land where it is proposed that Ville du Manoir would be built, said that the sale of the field would help ‘secure the future’ of their dairy farming business. ‘We are farming 400 vergées of land and we have bought another 55 vergées. That field is ten vergées, so its sale wouldn’t be a tremendous loss and would help support the business,’ she said.
Deputy Luce said, however, that providing financial support to a business was not a rationale for making a planning decision.
‘There are dairy farmers across the Island who would give their eyeteeth for that field. We can’t accept planning applications on the grounds that it is needed to support a business financially,’ he said.
‘If we did that, we would have buildings all over the Island.’