The heads of the two most populous parishes are gearing up for a fight against proposals to build homes included in the latest Island Plan.
Express spoke to the Constables of St. Saviour and St. Helier, and the leaders of other parishes set to be targeted for new development...
If the draft Island Plan is approved unaltered, up to 582 homes – although the target is 450 - will be built across seven parishes with 18 fields lost. The total land built on will be 71.7 vergées, roughly equivalent to 30 football pitches.
It forms part of a proposal to build 1,500 affordable homes over the three-years of the bridging plan, between 2022 and 2025.
In total, the plan set outs to build 4,150 homes by the end of 2025. Of the 2,650 that will be sold on the open market, 1,400 homes are either already under construction or have planning permission, 750 will be built in town and 500 outside of town.
Of those classed as “affordable”, 625 are under construction, 425 will be in town and 450 would be built on rezoned fields.
Although the Constables of St. Helier and St. Saviour are vehemently opposed to the proposed developments in their parishes, the leaders of the five other parishes that have affordable housing sites earmarked in the plan are more supportive.
Having kept her cards close to her chest up to now, St. Saviour Constable Sadie Le Sueur-Rennard confirmed in the States Assembly this week that she would oppose plans to develop up to 212 homes on six fields over three sites in her parish.
This includes a large four-field cluster opposite the old JEP building at Five Oaks, which had previously been proposed a site for the new hospital.
Pictured: The four fields opposite the former JEP building at Five Oaks, which the Constable of St. Saviour wants to save from being built on.
“I am fighting to have these homes not built in St Saviour because we cannot take any more in this parish,” she said. “There are other parishes that could do with the homes and could do with the rates. St. Saviour do not want any more homes, but everybody wants one, and where are you going to put them? Not in St. Saviour.
She added: “We need an immigration policy; something that is actually working, otherwise we are going to continue to chase our tails. Everyone who is allowed in going to require a home - we have these reviews every ten years and we’re still playing catch-up.”
Parishioners are also mobilising in support of their Constables and against the plans.
St. Saviour resident Mary O’Keeffe has set up a Facebook group for parishioners and launched a ‘Save our St. Saviour’ campaign.
“This is calling for people to say no to this decision,” she said. “We are concerned about urban sprawl and loss of community spirit.
“We have 15 schools in the parish and all sixth-form children attend schools in St. Saviour. The roundabout at Five Oaks has five feeder roads off it: it simply cannot sustain more traffic.
“St. Saviour is becoming a conurbation of St. Helier and is losing its identity and soul.”
St. Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft, backed by his Roads Committee, is also fighting the ‘affordable homes’ proposals in the Island Plan, which covers development from next year until the end of 2025.
The plan envisages up to 130 homes being built in four fields across two sites, including a group of three fields almost opposite the parish depot on Grande Route de St. Jean.
“As well as providing valuable land for growing, which will be particularly important in the future as the Island seeks to reduce its carbon footprint by growing more food locally, these open fields provide a vital visual amenity, a gap in the line of buildings that otherwise is a feature of much of this road to the north of the Island,” he said.
“The Roads Committee was unanimous in its view that these fields should be spared development and that the Island must not go down the road of our sister island in allowing ribbon development such as this.”
Pictured: The Constable of St Helier has vowed to fight to remove three fields almost opposite the parish depot from the Island Plan.
Concerning the other field, near Haute Vallée School, the Constable said: “This is right next to school car park. It has been proposed for development in previous Island Plans, with the western half of the field being reserved for school playing fields.
“We are very concerned that the development of the eastern half would bring housing development in this part of town right up to the school perimeter; in our view, it would be far better to allocate this field for community facilities and woodland which can be enjoyed by school students as well as the community at large.”
The parish has one field – P632 – proposed for up to 59 homes. It is opposite the Sir George Carteret pub and was previously proposed for parish homes, which was rejected by an independent planning inspector in 2018, then by the Environment Minister and also by the States a year later.
Constable Richard Vibert said he was more confident that the site would be approved this time.
Pictured: St. Peter Constable Richard Vibert will be supporting the rezoning of Field P632 in Route du Manoir.
“The issue last time was that there was no request to rezone the field in the last Island Plan but it is obviously included this time.
“It was one of four sites that we put forward and I am likely to table an amendment requesting one other site is included.
“This will be to extend our Queen’s Jubilee Homes to provide more life-long homes for the over 60s. These are for people who want to remain in the community but can free up their existing properties for families.
“We also hope is that Ville du Manoir [the plan for P632] will have a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom houses because when we proposed the first scheme, there was significant interest in all sizes of homes. We are working with Andium, and hopefully their plans will match ours.”
The parish has two sites proposed in the Island Plan – one south of the Village Green and another alongside the Catholic Church. However, Constable Karen Shenton Stone said that it didn’t appear as though the owners would be willing to give up their land.
"Field 410 [in Rue des Buttes] has been put forward before and been rejected, but my understanding is that thew owner doesn’t want affordable homes there but a scheme for the over 50s.
"We already have 27 bungalows for elderly parishioners but we have 30 people who desperately want to move it.
"With the other fields [close to the Village Green] the owner’s son-in-law farms the field and has no intention of giving it up, so it seems the site was not put forward by the owner.
“We are very much for sites for affordable homes and we have just completed 20 first-time-buyer homes at Close Le Troquer. I also think it is right that the country parishes take their share of affordable homes and it isn’t just left to St Helier and St Saviour.
“But at the moment, it appears that either of the owners of these fields want to give them up for the purposes cited in the plan.
“It is quite strange because five fields were put forward and a couple of others, in the opinion of the parish, were much better than the two that made it through.”
The parish has one field in Clos des Fonds earmarked for up to 34 homes.
Constable John Le Maistre said: “It is too early for me to take a view on this site and I will know more in a few months. As you might expect, I know several neighbours [of the field] who really object to the proposal.
“I would like to find a site on which affordable homes could be built for people who have connections with the parish. If a site is passed for affordable homes, we would like to build a relationship with whoever homes provider is chosen."
The parish has one site, Field 525 off Rue des Buttes, in the plan which already has planning permission for affordable homes and an extension to the school playing fields.
Constable Andy Jéhan said: “I will be supporting this development, but I will also be taking two amendments to the plan to build on other fields.
“One will be the third phase of the Maison Les Vesconte sheltered homes off Route de Nord and the other will be ten affordable homes off Rue du Cimetière, which are designed to be ‘step-down’ houses for older parishioners perhaps wanting to be closer to the amenities, or help their own families buy a house by freeing up capital in their own.
“These sites have the support of the Comité de la Commune Rurale de St. Jean, an elected group of five parishioners which was set up before the last Island Plan to get the views of parishioners and produce a report.
“We’ve formed it again for this Island Plan and I really think it is an exemplar of parish engagement and how consultation should be done.”
One site formed by two fields to the north of the village is included in the draft plan. Constable Richard Buchanan said: “The parish welcomes the principle of inclusion of fields 0594/5 in the bridging plan.
“Naturally, we will be studying the specific development plans once they are published noting carefully the impact on existing properties in the parish.
"My understanding is that a mix of housing will be required and that at least some of the new homes will be available via the Housing gateway.
“We are not currently considering shared equity homes for this site. The parish does not own the land so, at the moment, we do not know who will be undertaking the development. Some discussions have taken place with the landowner.”
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