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Affordable housing (GP11) requête

Updated after the requête was debated at the April 24 States meeting

 

Introduction

GP11 is a planning policy intended to increase the number of affordable homes in Guernsey and create mixed housing environments. Any property developer who is planning to build 20 or more private houses on a particular site must give 20% to 30% of the developable land to the Guernsey Housing Association to be allocated to affordable housing. This is standard practice in other jurisdictions.

Developers in Guernsey maintain that this makes large developments unviable, especially with construction costs escalating, and this is limiting the supply of private houses at a time of housing crisis. They point to the fact that no affordable housing has yet resulted from GP11 since its introduction in 2016.

The Development and Planning Authority (DPA) has been looking at GP11 for some years and has included it in their current review of Island Development Plan policies. One option being considered in this review is asking developers for a financial contribution rather than giving up land.

 

Requête

One member of the DPA, Deputy John Dyke, worked separately from his committee on his own project to remove GP11 and lodged a requête which was debated at the 24 April 2024 States meeting. The other six requérants were Deputies Blin, Helyar, Vermeulen, Inder, McKenna and Leadbeater. Requête.

Deputy Dyke found the requête difficult to draft because of the complex requirements surrounding any change to the Island Development Plan. So his main proposal ws that the States should be given the power to make whatever changes to planning policy it wishes without having to go through a long process of consultation, planning inquiry etc. But this required a change to legislation which would take time and resource and would need to be prioritised versus other legislative changes, all whilst GP11 remains in force.

For a full explanation of the requête, the amendments and the general background to GP11, listen to the Guernsey Press podcast featuring Deputies Oliver, Taylor and Dyke from the DPA.

 

Response from committees

In their letters of comment, ESS, E&I and the DPA disputed that GP11 was holding back the private housing market. For example, there are many smaller developments, below the 20+ level, that have planning permission but also haven’t been started. If GP11 was removed, the need for affordable housing in Guernsey will remain but there would be a gap in provision that will be left to government to solely deliver and fund. They were also concerned about the States being able to change any planning policy without consultation.

P&R agreed that a change to GP11 is necessary but wanted it to be limited, not open-ended. Letter of comment.

 

Amendments

Trott/Oliver
Amendment 1: Deputy Trott (President of P&R) and Deputy Oliver (President of DPA) proposed an amendment to simplify the requête. Rather than wait for a change in legislation, they point to section 1.6.2 of the Island Development Plan which says that the DPA has to take into account any relevant direction of the States.

The amendment instructed the DPA to set the GP11 percentage to zero for up to five years, effectively pausing the application of the policy for the remainder of this States term and, potentially, the duration of the next, to see if that benefits the housing market. Deputy Dyke accepted the amendment and it was voted through by 32 votes to 3.

De Saus/Oliver
Amendment 2: This amendment was very similar to Amendment 1, except that the 0% time period was set at two years rather than up to five years.

Deputy De Sausmarez’s rationale was that the States will be debating a DPA-led review of the Island Development Plan in the first half of 2025, which will include reviewing GP11. If any changes to GP11 resulted from that debate they could cut into the five year period proposed in Amendment 1. A definite period of two years would give developers more certainty and encourage them to act quickly. Deputy Oliver saw this as a ‘back-up’ amendment should Amendment 1 fail, hence her seconding both. It was defeated 14-21.

 

Result of the debate

The amended requête was successful. GP11 will now be zero-rated for up to five years (carried 33-3). However, keep an eye on the review of the Island Development Plan as this may contain alternative recommendations for GP11.

 

Background on housing policy

States Strategic Housing Indicator (Feb 2023)

Guernsey Housing Plan (Jul 2023)

Island Development Plan Focused Review (includes Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment/Call for Sites) (to be published prior to a Public Review in 2024)

IDP review into policy GP11 (due for publication soon)

Stimulating private market housing development (instigated Mar 24)

Interview with Vic Slade, Chief Exec of Guernsey Housing Association (8 May, Bailiwick Express)

 

Relevant forums

Guernsey Construction Forum

 

Media

Bid to axe GP11 planning policy heading for debate (24 Jan 2024, Guernsey Press)

GP11 processes too complicated and too slow, say Construction Forum (8 Feb 2024, Guernsey Press)

DPA member leading planning requête confuses one deputy (8 Feb 2024, Guernsey Press)

Affordable housing proposition pushed to April (27 Feb 2024, Bailiwick Express)

Consultants to look at barriers to house building in Guernsey (27 Mar 2024, IslandFM)

E&I commits to tackling the housing crisis (27 Mar 2024, Bailiwick Express)

Hopes for more homes as deputies turn on GP11 (4 Apr 2024, Guernsey Press)

Is this the end for GP11? (4 Apr 2024, Bailiwick Express)

Trott wants average house prices to drop by a third (6 Apr 2024, Guernsey Press)

House building shortfall continued in 2023, latest figures show (8 Apr 2024, Bailiwick Express)

Bid to pause social housing requirement for two years (17 Apr, Bailiwick Express)

GP11 suspension backed by two committee heads (17 Apr, Guernsey Press)

DPA member claims staff blocked changes to GP11 (22 Apr, Guernsey Press)

Deputies challenge developers to get building after ditching social housing requirement (25 Apr, Bailiwick Express)

‘Get building’ call to developers after vote to suspend GP11 (26 Apr, Guernsey Press)

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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