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Move to ban investors from buying South Hill apartments

Move to ban investors from buying South Hill apartments

Saturday 03 July 2021

Move to ban investors from buying South Hill apartments

Saturday 03 July 2021


No homes built at South Hill will be sold to buy-to-let investors and the maximum possible will be “affordable”, if politicians back a proposal from the former Housing Minister.

Senator Sam Mézec is asking the States Assembly to support his plan to restrict development on the now-empty Planning officers overlooking the Harbour.

In April, the taxpayer-owned Jersey Development Company announced plans to build 150 low-carbon one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments on the site.

JDC has said that it will make the apartments more affordable for islanders by allowing the 10% deposit needed to be paid in equal instalments over the construction period.

But that is not enough for the leader of Reform, who thinks that “homes built by a publicly-owned developer on publicly-owned land should be sold to produce the greatest public benefit, rather than to provide private investment opportunities”.

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Pictured: Senator Sam Mezec: "It is clear that further effort must be made to provide an extra supply of affordable homes".

In his proposal, which will be debated on 20 July at the earliest, Senator Mezec says: “The housing affordability crisis in Jersey will not resolve itself through more reports, investigations or collecting statistics. 

“It will be fixed by taking direct action to provide more affordable homes for Islanders. Only building more affordable homes, not merely talking about it, actually delivers affordable homes.

“The longer the government prevaricates on this issue, the worse things become. The South Hill site is an opportunity which should not be wasted.”

Specifically, the Senator is asking the Chief Minister to use his legal powers to put a condition on the development to stop any home being sold to buy-to-let investors; and the Council of Ministers to give guidance to JDC to “maximise the proportion of homes to be designated as for ‘affordable purchase’, while maintaining the overall viability of the scheme.”

It follows another proposal brought forward by Senator Mézec earlier this year to ban foreign 'buy-to-lets' from the Waterfront.

JDC is hoping to submit a planning application for the South Hill development later this year. When publishing its outline plans, the company also launched a school competition to redesign the children’s park at South Hill. 

The overall winner was 10-year-old Jemima Hargreaves who won with her entry ‘The Last Wild’.

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CLICK TO ENLARGE: Jemima's winning design.

Her entry was inspired by a book of the same name about a virus that wipes out all the animals in the world with the exception of a small island.

Runner up was Joe Dyer (9) with ‘The Seaside Park’ and third-placed was Rory Le Masurier (9) for his submission ‘The Neo Park’.

As well as winning vouchers for themselves and their schools, the three prize-winners have been invited by the JDC-appointed landscape architects to become ‘expert advisers’ to the design team, joining a design workshop to view the emerging proposals in a few weeks’ time.

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Pictured: Winner Jemima and the runners-up.

“We were highly impressed with the standard of entries and the variety of creative ideas and particular emphasis on Jersey’s natural environment as well as the inclusion of accessibility for children in wheelchairs and sensory needs," said JDC Managing Director Lee Henry.

"We are looking forward to seeing how the design team at Gillespies can implement some of the ideas from this competition."

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Comments

Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.

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Posted by Private Individual on
There should be NO outside investors able to speculate in Jersey's housing market.

Apartments should be locally qualified only.

That will stop the rampant increase in prices we have seen since the beginning of the pandemic where speculators put their money into the housing instead of the stock market and the banks with little or no return on their money the property market was easily accessible in Jersey with NO restrictions on buying.

The government is a disgrace in allowing this to happen, and it's been going on for decades.

Why didn't Mesec stop this when he was housing minister?
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