Lee Henry made the comments this week during an Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel hearing while responding to a question from chairman Constable Mike Jackson about whether the proposals were ‘sufficient’ and ‘achievable’.
The target forms part of the Draft Bridging Island Plan – which also includes the delivery of 2,650 open market homes – due to be debated by the States next Tuesday.
Mr Henry said: ‘Obviously those numbers have been determined by the objective assessment of housing need based on certain numbers of net inward migration. So providing those numbers are met and adhered to, then I presume the calculations have been correctly performed, and that number will be correct.
‘I actually think that the affordable element – 1,500 affordable units – is very achievable. As referenced on table H1 of the Draft Bridging Island Plan there are 625 affordable units that are currently under construction.
‘There is a further 450 units that are proposed to be provided on the re-zoned sites and there are a further 425 units that can be delivered within the town from approved housing provider sites.’
He added: ‘In our opinion, the affordable content [homes] will be achieved by the end of 2025.’
Mr Henry said he was ‘unsure’ if the plan also took into account arrangements between affordable housing provider Andium Homes, and a ‘third-party provider’ to deliver over 400 apartments on various areas within St Helier – the Mayfair, Apollo, Revere and Stafford hotel sites.
He also raised concerns over the ‘significant supply and demand imbalance’ within the residential market.
‘[There is] a significant shortage of stock in the open market and, actually, the open market figures are less certain than the affordable [figures] within the Bridging Island Plan.
‘Ultimately the supply demand imbalance is driving prices northwards. You regularly hear of properties exceeding the asking price in terms of what is eventually obtained and I think that we need to address the supply,’ he said.
‘That cannot just be turned on overnight so it is something we need to be working on from now on to ensure that demand is met.’