Could Grouville’s fields be the key to more homes for Islanders?

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A TOTAL of 14 fields – the majority of which are in Grouville – could be used for housing developments following a flurry of amendments to the Bridging Island Plan.
With the States Assembly due to debate in March the Environment Minister’s proposition, which will set planning policy for the next three years, Members have put forward a series of additional sites for affordable homes, with fields in Trinity and St Peter, as well as Grouville, also being earmarked for housing.
Infrastructure Minister Kevin Lewis has requested that two fields adjacent to the Airport Cargo Centre be used to accommodate a new vehicle inspection centre.

The government says that the facility is needed in order for the Island to be compliant, post-Brexit, with the Vienna Convention which governs the free movement of vehicles across the European Union. States Members agreed to sign up to the treaty in 2018 but it was later announced that changes would not come into force until 2024.
St Helier Deputy Scott Wickenden has called for about 7½ fields in Grouville to be used for homes, arguing that the parish had a ‘very poor’ record of providing affordable and first-time buyer housing.
Deputy Wickenden said that three of the sites he had proposed, fields G403C, G403D and part of G432A, which are situated near the fire-damaged Verona stores, had not been farmed for over 40 years and would more accurately be described as a ‘brown-field site’. He added that some of the land which he had put forward for use was an ‘eyesore’, ‘waste ground’ and was overgrown with bracken and weeds.
He has also proposed using Grouville fields G508, G508A, G526, G526A and G521A, which he says would represent a ‘logical extension’ of the built-up area within walking distance of shops, Grouville School and the parish recycling centre.

A field on the south side of Rue de Fauvic could be developed if a Bridging Island Plan amendment is approved.

His amendment says: ‘The site could provide a mix of homes to meet the needs of the community of Grouville and also Island parishioners. The owner of the site is happy to make available any future homes to an affordable-housing provider.’

Grouville Constable John Le Maistre has lodged an amendment to add three fields to the plan situated to the west and north of the Rue à Don Co-op. St Martin Deputy Steve Luce has called for field G358A, on Grouville’s La Sente des Fonds, to be included as well.
However, if an amendment lodged by Deputy Carolyn Labey is approved, field G392A, which is situated on the corner of Rue des Fonds and Grande Route des Sablons, could be withdrawn as a potential site for affordable housing.
In a report accompanying her amendment, Deputy Labey says the field remained in regular agricultural use and that any development there would deny the public of ‘spectacular’ views of the countryside.
In the west, St Peter Constable Richard Vibert has lodged an amendment which seeks to turn a field to the south of Manor Farm into housing.
It adds that, if the amendment was successful, two adjacent fields to the west could be used by the community. This could include, the Constable’s proposition says, creating a path linking the St Peter’s Valley network to the network of paths to the south of the village which stretch around the Airport perimeter.
Elsewhere, in Trinity, a field at the rear of the Co-op’s new En Route petrol station and supermarket could be used for homes. In an amendment, Senator Steve Pallett says that the land has already featured as a contender within the Bridging Island Plan process and allegedly ‘scored highly’.

… the inspectors have rejected the site on the basis of poor “integration” with the existing built-up area

Senator Steve Pallett describes an area of Trinity that has been discounted, but which he would like to see used for housing

He adds: ‘However, the inspectors have rejected the site on the basis of poor “integration” with the existing built-up area. The minister has disappointingly agreed with this recommendation, even though there is an accepted need for new sites for affordable housing required to meet Islanders’ needs.’
Senator Pallett is also suggesting reclassifying ‘low-quality agricultural land in horticultural use’ to the east of Rue du Hucquet, opposite Ronceray Nursing home in St Martin, so that a care home can be built.
Within three separate amendments, Senator Kristina Moore is calling for all glasshouse sites to be made available for consideration for affordable housing, enabling certain construction methods to be used to speed up the delivery of homes, including pre-fabrication and using sustainable building materials.
Meanwhile, Housing Minister Russell Labey is seeking to amend the proposed wording of a historic-building policy which, he says, currently reduces their level of protection.
And Senator Ian Gorst, in his amendment, is seeking to change the wording of the policy governing building beyond eight storeys in St Helier, so that larger developments could be permitted in ‘appropriate circumstances’ rather than ‘in exceptional circumstances’.

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