THE proliferation of one-bedroom apartments in town is ‘short-sighted’, the chairman of the Planning Committee has said, while raising concerns about the availability of properties for families.
Trinity Constable Philip Le Sueur made the comments this week shortly before his panel approved the construction of 78 flats on the site of the ageing 84-bedroom Apollo Hotel, in St Saviour’s Road.
He also questioned the overall benefit of obligations imposed on developers to incorporate road and public-realm improvements into their schemes – claiming that these additional costs only served to drive up the price of homes.
‘The continued proliferation of one-bedroom flats is, to say the least, short-sighted, albeit we have a [housing] crisis. Nature will take its course and with all these one-bedroom flats, where are people going to move to?
‘Also, where are children going to go to get educated? Where are they going to go to youth clubs and places like that? I just feel that while the Department for Infrastructure are happy to basically be bought off with contributions for bus shelters and road improvements, education does not seem to get anything out of these developments,’ Mr Le Sueur said.
‘And all of these extra costs are only serving to drive up the cost of property for the purchasers because developers are by their own nature commercial entities and these costs will be added to the bottom line every time,’ he added.
The Apollo Hotel development, which is due to be built by Dandara, has been scaled down from its initial 95-apartment proposals following concerns from residents and public authorities about its potential impact on neighbours and the surrounding area. The company is also involved in the redevelopment of the nearby Mayfair Hotel into 201 apartments.
Adrian Huckson, Dandara’s design director, said that the project would act as a significant catalyst for the ongoing regeneration of St Helier.
Addressing the Planning Committee yesterday, he said: ‘It will deliver significant public-realm improvements to St Saviour’s Road and Pleasant Street and within the site itself, there will be a new pedestrianised urban plaza and a shared pedestrian and cycle route along the frontage, as well as a safe walking route through the ring road to Pleasant Street and nearby schools – while enhancing the overall quality and character of the surrounding neighbourhood.’
Mr Huckson added that the some of the improvements, worth up to £457,000, would include the installation of two bus shelters, pavement widening, a free annual bus pass for all of the development’s residents and new street lighting.
During the meeting, neighbours James and Clare Pallett spoke to raise their concerns about the impact the proposed buildings could have on their property.
But, despite one objection from Constable Deirdre Mezbourian due to the ‘overwhelming scale and mass’ of the buildings, the scheme was approved.
Constable Philip Le Sueur, Marcus Troy and Deputies Graham Truscott, Lindsay Ash and Steve Luce all voted in favour of allowing the development.