Peter Falla, Group Director of PF+A comments on the Island Development Plan (IDP) Review.
The Development & Planning Authority are currently reviewing certain parts of the Island Development Plan (IDP), issued in 2016 which, although due in 2021, was delayed by the States of Guernsey until now because of Covid.
An important part of this review will be to assess whether there is sufficient provision for housing at the moment; although it is clear that there is a dire shortage of available properties to buy or rent which will ultimately stagnate growth and damage our economic prospects.
Clearly the Planners have no control over what housing is actually built, with a significant number of approved sites not proceeding for various reasons. A good example is Leales Yard where numerous schemes have come and gone with little sign of "spades in the ground". A further attempt to breathe life into this part of St Sampson's is currently being considered in the planning process…but look out for slow worms in more ways than one!
Note that currently under IDP Policy there may also be potential now for small scale industrial or storage development or even extension of curtilage depending of course on the merits of any particular site.
Policy and Resources President Peter Ferbrache and Deputy Steve Falla have publicly stated that they would like to see some relaxation of the established Planning policies to allow residential development in place of derelict greenhouses outside of the centres.
La Societe Guernesaise and the National Trust are strongly opposed to any such moves on what is in effect agricultural land...and many people support that view.
This is also in conflict with the Island's Spatial Strategy which is to direct housing development in and around the centres of St Peter Port and St Sampsons/ Vale. (Also to a limited extent the Local Centres such as Cobo.)
It will be interesting to see how this plays out and I would expect that our Planners may decide to add another local centre with Capelles a hot favourite since it just missed out last time round in 2016.
In my view it is likely to be too controversial to allow wholesale development of former vinery sites...but, there may be some hope for sites close to local or main centres.
The next stage will be a "call for sites" from the Planning Department and there will be no restrictions on which sites can come forward. We are awaiting confirmation of timings...but it's not quite yet!
Should you need support when the time comes PF+A has set up a dedicated service which will assess each site and arrange submission of the required documentation to the Authority.
Hopefully some opportunities will transpire, and some progress is made on alleviating the housing shortage.