Leale's Yard should have been used first for housing, says Constable

Tue 19 Oct 2021

Vale Senior Constable Richard Leale has responded cautiously to the announcement that the States has spent £6.5m buying Kenilworth Vinery off Lowlands Road to be used to build up to 135 affordable new homes.

"It's certainly good news for the 500 or so households on the waiting list for affordable housing," he said, "but it is difficult with the information in the public domain at this stage to see how this makes sense from a strategic or planning perspective."

Saltpans was an important open area and, as a former vinery, greenfield site while Leale's Yard further to the east was a derelict industrial zone that had been identified as in urgent need of regeneration for housing, community space and creating employment.

"While we naturally welcome moves to help ease the shortage of housing that people can afford to buy – something that affects our parishioners as well – building needs to be in the right place and providing maximum benefit to the island as a whole," he said.

Better value
Policy and Resources, which approved the Kenilworth purchase earlier this month, hadn't explained why it favoured that site over Leale's Yard or whether further taxpayer money would be needed to install necessary roads, drains and other infrastructure.

"Put simply, we see far more 'bang for the buck' in using public funds to kickstart the regeneration of the whole Bridge area as well as creating much-needed affordable homes right in the centre of the island's second retail centre," he said. "Building away from existing facilities and amenities – as the States also proposes at Fontaine Vinery – appears to make little sense."

The devil would be in the detail when the full development plans were available and he expected the Vale Douzaine would have more to say at that time but his own view was that a significant opportunity had been missed at Leale's Yard.

He added that while the Guernsey Housing Authority had been reported as talking to the Douzaine about community areas at Kenilworth, no such approach had yet been received. 

  • Affordable housing is property reserved for people who cannot afford to rent or buy on the private market and includes social housing and intermediate housing.


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