Senator: ‘Grossly inadequate’ level of affordable homes earmarked

A PROPOSITION to increase the number of affordable homes included in the proposed Waterfront and South Hill developments has been lodged by the former Housing Minister.

The planned development at South Hill Picture: JDC(31854308)
The planned development at South Hill Picture: JDC(31854308)

Senator Sam Mézec said the government’s current plans – which would designate a minimum of 15% of the properties in the two schemes as affordable – was ‘grossly inadequate’.

Instead, he has proposed that the new target for both sites be at least 30% and has lodged an amendment to his own proposition, which would give the States Assembly the opportunity to vote for a more ‘ambitious’ minimum target of 50%. Both developments are being undertaken by the government-owned Jersey Development Company.

Senator Mézec said: ‘We currently have a massive housing crisis, which is getting worse as each day of inaction passes. The government must devote its energy to genuinely providing the homes that Islanders need. Their current plans show they are not serious about resolving this, so I hope the States Assembly will support my proposition to force them to look at this again.’

Earlier this year, Senator Mézec successfully lodged a proposition calling for the government to ‘maximise’ the proportion of homes deemed ‘affordable’ in the planned development on the site of the former Planning Offices at South Hill.

He went on to accuse the government of ‘squandering’ an opportunity to help ease the housing crisis after learning that only 23 of the 150 eco-friendly houses would be affordable.

Senator Mézec was unsuccessful when he tried to bring a motion of censure over the Council of Ministers’ ‘failure’ to implement an amended proposition which required the government to publish a report by the end of April, outlining what guidance it had given to the Jersey Development Company to maximise the proportion of affordable homes at the Waterfront.

Under the current target, only 100 of the 1,000 proposed homes at the Waterfront would be registered as affordable.

Senator Mézec added: ‘Jersey currently has around 2,000 applications on our first-time-buyers’ waiting list, and a further 1,000 waiting for social-rental housing.

‘For the government to propose building just 173 new affordable homes in these massive developments is clearly grossly inadequate.

‘This could end up being a huge missed opportunity to meet the genuine housing need we know there is.’

He added: ‘Ideally, all homes built on publicly owned land should be for affordable-housing options, with the private sector catering for other parts of the market if there is demand for it.

‘The government should not be focusing its resources on providing homes which are unaffordable for most Islanders.’

The Senator’s proposition is due to be debated on 23 November.

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