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Housing plans could change character of island

By George ThorpeBBC News

PA A builder working on a housePA

Six areas have been earmarked for affordable housing by Guernsey’s Development and Planning Authority

Plans to tackle housing issues in Guernsey have been criticised as “underwhelming” and “concerning” by a charity.

The National Trust of Guernsey said proposals unveiled by the States’ Development and Planning Authority (DPA) would lead to the “continued erosion of green space” and could change the character of the island.

The plans – which are under consultation until 29 July – include zoning six new areas of the island for affordable housing.

DPA officials said the authority did not want to build on greenfield sites but not enough suitable alternative areas had been made available.

No ‘silver bullet’

Speaking about his initial thoughts on the plans, Olly Brock, planning officer at the trust, said: “I think ‘underwhelmed’ is probably quite accurate from the National Trust’s point of view.

“We are concerned that it is an erosion or continued erosion of the green spaces around the island.”

He said there was no “silver bullet” to tackling housing issues on the island.

“It is difficult for the DPA to come up with a solution that’s going to unlock everything,” he said.

“But allocating more land on the periphery is probably not the way the National Trust would want to see things go.”

Mr Brock said islanders should be “nice and clear” about what they want Guernsey to look like.

“In my personal view, losing a view of the sky – which is what you get when you put a tall building into place – is less of a problem for me than losing open land that changes the character of our island,” he said.

The following areas were earmarked by the DPA for affordable housing:

  • Le Tassin Ruette De La Croix, Castel
  • Collingwood, Route Militaire, St Sampson
  • School Lane Vinery, Rue De La Vallée, St Martin
  • Ville Amphrey, St Martin
  • Longue Rue, St Martin
  • Selbourne Vinery, Route Des Coutanchez, St Peter Port

The proposals also include scrapping a policy requiring large housing developments to provide some affordable housing and extending the L’Aumone local centre boundary to include the Castel Hospital site.

‘Don’t have luxury’

DPA member Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller said islanders who had particular views on the proposals should share their views through the consultation.

She added the island had a need for more housing and only had a limited amount of space to build on.

Ms Kazantseva-Miller said: “We don’t want to build on greenfield sites and had hoped that more deliverable brownfield sites in the right locations would have come forward as part of the call for sites, but this wasn’t the case.

“Therefore, we simply don’t have the luxury of choosing any land on the island for housing.”