Jersey's Housing Supply To Meet Demand

By Editorial 25 September, 2013

A report published on September 20, 2013 shows that Jersey's potential supply of housing land could meet current demand for new homes over the next five years – as long as new sites identified in proposed changes to the Island Plan are approved.

The Residential Land Availability At January 2013 report, which has been published by the Minister for Planning and Environment, Deputy Rob Duhamel, provides a snapshot of the latest available evidence of housing supply and demand.

At the start of 2013, more than 600 homes were under construction in the Island and there were planning permissions for 2,000 more.

The report suggests that if land identified for housing does come to fruition, there could be a buffer of up to 12 percent of housing land supply against demand. Planners consider this good news; it will make it more likely that the necessary supply of homes will be met. It also means there will be more choice and competition in the market for land.

Potential supply of sites for homes include known development commitments (such as outstanding permissions and sites under construction) and sources of housing supply identified in the 2011 Island Plan interim review – out to public consultation until Wednesday, September 25.

Possible sites for affordable homes include older States rental housing sites, other surplus States-owned sites and the current proposals to rezone four glasshouse sites in Grouville, St Savior and St Clement. It is also anticipated that there will continue to be healthy supplies of new homes from private 'windfall' developments.

Deputy Duhamel said "Once again, this report reveals the important role played by the planning system in providing a framework to enable housing targets to be met and in ensuring a supply of specific deliverable sites, sufficient to provide five years worth of housing against identified requirements.

"It is important to recognize, however, that the planning system cannot control the wider economic situation or the decisions of private developers in bringing forward development sites and taking up existing planning permissions. There are also no guarantees that the States will be fully supportive of my current proposals to bring forward additional sites to help meet identified needs for affordable homes."

The report reveals that in the last five years, despite the ongoing economic downturn, an average of about 350 homes have been developed every year. By comparison, 456 homes need to be built annually to achieve estimated targets for the next five years.

It also shows that Jersey's planning policies have concentrated the majority of new homes (63 percent) in the Island's main urban area, including St Helier and the other urban parishes.

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