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Consultants to look at barriers to house building in Guernsey

Consultants have been brought in to work out why so few private housing developments get going despite having planning permission.

Guernsey's Environment and Infrastructure Committee is using industry specialists to investigate the barriers to building new homes.

Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez says her committee has spent this political term looking into the problems surrounding development.

"Why is there a big gap between the number of planning permissions that are given and the number of new homes that are actually completed?

"We're looking for solutions that are going to help to stimulate and support private market development."

The government will be using consultants arc4. Deputy de Sausmarez says they have worked in Guernsey and the other Crown Dependencies and so understand which factors can stimulate the supply of private market housing:

"They'll be involving the relevant stakeholders and they'll be talking with developers and the construction sector to work out where the relevant barriers are and work out what we can do about it."

arc4 worked on the Guernsey Housing Plan, a current document that sets out areas for government to work on to get housing built. These include looking at the possibility of a States-owned body to build homes and certainty over planning policy GP11. This specifies new developments over a certain size must include an affordable housing element.

Last year only 94 new units were added to the overall housing stock, despite it being the States' number one political priority. Deputy de Sausmarez is confident this can change:

“This work will result in a delivery plan so that we can quickly move from understanding the current gap between planning permissions and completions to addressing that issue as soon as possible.

"Given our pressing need for more housing, it is a piece of work we are progressing as an absolute priority.”

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