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Mahoney’s plans for States property

 

If you are short of time, just read these three articles:

 

Deputy Mahoney’s open letter (Guernsey Press 10 Jan)

Scrutiny asks P&R: Is Castel homes plan really P&R policy? (Bailiwick Express 14 Jan)

P&R backs down on family homes near Castel Hospital (Guernsey Press, 29 Jan)

 

If you want more detail, here’s a timeline of how the States property story developed, including Scrutiny’s questioning of Deputy Mahoney:

 

Deputy Dave Mahoney joined the States in October 2020 and was subsequently elected to the States most senior committee, Policy and Resources. He is the P&R lead for property.

On Monday 10 January 2022, the Guernsey Press published an open letter from Deputy Mahoney which he hoped would ‘shed some light on the behind the scenes work that is happening across the States’.

Click on each column below to read the contents. Or read the online version.

 

The Guernsey Press shone a spotlight on the letter with a front page story headlined ‘Plans for 90 new homes at Castel Hospital site‘, a video interview with Deputy Mahoney and a Comment column ‘A case for P&R to go it alone on property?’.

On Tuesday 11 January, the Guernsey Press comment column reflected on the initial public response: ‘States role in building homes needs clarity. Reaction to the plans was led by Deputy Peter Roffey in a Guernsey Press interview (Jan 11) and a letter to the Press (12 Jan).

On Wednesday 12 January, States property was again the topic for the Guernsey Press comment column: P&R losing out on the credit for KE VII plans (12 Jan) and the paper also featured a detailed interview with Deputy Victoria Oliver, President of the Development and Planning Authority. Bailiwick Express picked up on the story with interviews with Deputies Mahoney and Roffey in their ‘Fields around Castel Hospital are key to P&R’s scheme for new homes‘ piece.

As those stories were being read across the island that morning, members of the Scrutiny Management Committee (SMC) were settling into their seats for a public hearing with P&R to discuss progress on the Government Work Plan. In the course of the hearing (video below), Deputy Yvonne Burford, President of the SMC, took the opportunity to ask Deputy Mahoney:

  • Is it a new policy of P&R to give exclusive interviews and announcements on a major policy issue to just one arm of the media? And if so, why did you choose the Press? (1:29:30)
  • What analysis did you rely on to decide that three, four and five bedroom homes were a priority on the Castel Hospital site? (1:32:37)
  • In his statement to the media, Deputy Roffey claimed that P&R has made the decision to sell off two other States-owned properties which ESS proposed for much-needed key worker housing. Which two properties were these? What is the point of the States Housing Action Group if P&R are going to ride over the unanimous recommendations of it? (1:35:41).
  • In your video interview with the Press, you said that P&R have plans to build on the green fields around the Castel Hospital. Do you not consider it would be much more appropriate to develop on brownfield sites before losing more greenfield sites and, particularly, the biodiversity that goes with them? (1:38:23)
  • Some of the fields are not zoned as agricultural priority area and some are. The fields that you refer to, do they fall into the agricultural priority area? (1:43:53)
  • In your Press piece, you said you were working very closely with Deputy Victoria Oliver at the DPA. Do you not think your approach risks seriously compromising the independent and quasi-judicial role of the political DPA committee in determining that planning application and could open it up to judicial review? (1:44:25)

In total, the property section of the hearing lasts from 1:29:30 to 1:47:27.

 

 

Reaction to the Scrutiny hearing came in a Guernsey Press Comment column on Friday 14 January, ‘The dawn of a new politics of action‘.

Bailiwick Express dug deeper:
Scrutiny asks P&R: Is Castel homes plan really P&R policy? (14 Jan)
Planning Chief insists she’s impartial on P&R’s Castel Hospital homes plan (14 Jan).

The likely nail in the coffin of the plans came two weeks later on Saturday 29 January  when P&R officially distanced themselves:

P&R backs down on family homes near Castel Hospital (Guernsey Press, 29 Jan)
Castel homes plan could be over just weeks after it was launched (Bailiwick Express, 29 Jan)

Guernsey Party member, Deputy Nick Moakes, is still in support, however. On Monday 31 January, in a Guernsey Press opinion column titled ‘Guernsey’s housing crisis – what next?‘, he said a ‘very small’ amount of green land might be needed to resolve the housing crisis.

On Tuesday 1 February, Trevor Cooper, retired director of Cooper Brouard, suggested building on derelict greenhouse sites rather than green fields in his Guernsey Press opinion column: ‘Tipping the balance‘.

Relieved that P&R had backtracked, on Wednesday 2 February Deputy Peter Roffey, the chair of the States ‘Housing Action Group’, turned his attention to supporting GP11 in an interview with Bailiwick Express: ‘Claims about social housing policy GP11 are ‘complete moonshine’. GP11 is the planning policy that says that any development of 20 houses or more should contain a proportion of social or affordable housing. Deputy Victoria Oliver’s previous remark that developers can ‘kind of get around’ GP11 prompted Rule 14 questions from Deputy Lester Queripel, reported in the Bailiwick Express on Thursday 3 February: ‘Flexible GP11 “a mockery of policy – if developers can get around it”‘. On the same day, John Fernandez from BBC Guernsey reported that Deputy John  Dyke is “working on the Development and Planning Authority” to get rid of GP11 and will lead a requete if necessary: ‘Bid to scrap Guernsey’s affordable housing policy‘.

Along the way there was some reaction from other parties:

P&R is out of touch with our housing problems (RS Mauger letter, 14 Jan)
Politics Podcast: Deputy Sasha Kazanteva-Miller and estate agent Andre Austin (Guernsey Press, 16 Jan)
Building large homes helps reduce prices (M Spencer letter, 18 Jan)
‘Development in fields must stop‘ (La Societe Guernesiaise interview, 21 Jan)

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Guernsey’s iconic women of the future?

Thank you for nominating a young woman or girl for our future iconic Guernsey women campaign to celebrate International Women’s Day!

Nominations close on Sunday 6 March at 17.00.

Please fill in the details below.

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Miriam Makeba - South Africa

Nominated by: Christine James

Zenzile Miriam Makeba (1932 to 2008), nicknamed Mama Africa, was a South African singer, songwriter, actress, United Nations goodwill ambassador, and civil rights activist. Associated with musical genres including Afropop, jazz, and world music, she was an advocate against apartheid and white-minority government in South Africa. In 2020 she was named one of Time magazine’s 100 women of the century. 

South Africa is ranked 12th in the world for percentage of women in national parliament: 45.8% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Are you from South Africa? Please email hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from South Africa in Guernsey.

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The original image “The Hague Jazz 2008 – Miriam Makeba” by Haags Uitburo is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. 

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Jacinda Ardern - New Zealand

Nominated by: Martin Lock

Jacinda Ardern (born 1980) has served as prime minister of New Zealand and leader of the Labour Party since 2017. In 2019, she led the country through the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shootings, rapidly introducing strict gun laws in response, and throughout 2020 she directed the country’s widely praised response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ardern was the world’s second elected head of government to give birth in office when her daughter was born in 2018. ‘An inspiring Prime Minister who brought a nation together with true leadership, empathy and compassion.’

New Zealand is ranked 4th in the world for percentage of women in national parliament: 48.3% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Other iconic women: Dame Whina Cooper, nominated by Claire Fisher, and Kate Sheppard, nominated by Anna Cooper.

Are you from New Zealand? You may be interested in joining the ANZACs in Guernsey Facebook group

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