No rates rise after home sale failure
THE breakdown of negotiations for the £2.9 million sale of St Helier House will not lead to increased parish rates, the parish chief executive has said.
Proposals to sell St Helier House and the adjoining Westmount Nursery site fell through after parishioners at a parish assembly voted to include a ‘betterment clause’ in any prospective sale, effectively restricting the amount of profit a buyer could make from the site.
This led to the Columbia Group, which had made a bid of nearly £3 million for the property, pulling out of the deal.
St Helier has now begun discussions with Andium Homes to turn St Helier House into sheltered housing.
The chief executive of the Parish of St Helier, Jason Turner, confirmed the plans are now to leave the Westmount Nursery where it is to operate on its current site.
Although no firm plans have been set and discussions are at an early stage, Mr Turner said both parties are keen for the same outcome.
He said: ‘These initial discussions are at a very early stage.
‘Both the parish and Andium can see the potential benefits of a scheme of this nature for the local community.
‘Before being able to make any firm proposals we need to work together to ascertain whether it is feasible, affordable and deliverable.’
He also confirmed that the breakdown of the sale would not result in increased rates coming the way of rate payers.
The JEP attempted to contact Columbia to discuss the issue but no one was able to comment.
Constable Simon Crowcroft said he had been encouraged by the early discussions.
And Senator Sam Mézec, who was against sale, added: ‘I am ecstatic by the news, it is a vindication of the reasons I was against the sale in the first place.
‘We wanted safeguards in place to stop there being private profit made from it and to keep it as an asset for the community.
‘I think it is obvious the sale has fallen through due to the betterment clause.’
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