The Ville de Manoir project, which would have seen 65 three-bedroom homes built on farmland between the Sir George de Carteret pub and St George’s School, has been rejected by Environment Minister Steve Luce following an independent planning inspection.
The scheme, which was being supported by Andium Homes, would have been for first-time buyers with a connection to St Peter, with successful applicants able to buy homes at a 25 per cent discount. It was heavily backed by parishioners at an assembly in 2016.
Parish Constable John Refault said that consultations carried out by the parishes had identified a much larger demand for affordable housing than had been suggested by the States Strategic Housing Unit.
‘The other Constables were looking to St Peter as a model for schemes in their own parishes,’ he said.
‘In St Ouen they have had 138 applicants for an affordable housing scheme, in St Martin they have had 96, in St John they have had 172 and in Grouville they have had 52. So are you telling me these people are not real and the demand isn’t there?
‘I am devastated by this decision, because I have been working on it since 2015 and have sought advice from planning officers from the start.’
He added: ‘I was distraught by the decision but what really saddened me is seeing the people who applied for the scheme, who have been left devastated and in tears after the rejection.
‘A lot of young people in Jersey cannot afford to get on the housing ladder and are thinking now that they are going to have to rent all their lives.’
Deputy Luce said that the planning inspector, Nigel McGurk, recommended that the plans should be rejected for a number of reasons and, in particular, because they contravened the Island Plan, an aim of which was to protect Jersey’s countryside.
‘The report was not finely balanced. There were a number of reasons why it was recommended that I reject the application,’ the minister said.
‘Most of it it was planned to be built in the middle of the green zone – and this is a major development of 65 homes – on very good agricultural land and opposite a dairy farm. It was directly against the Island Plan, which is there for a reason.
‘We don’t approve applications which are against the Island Plan unless there are very good reasons for it and the applicants did not provide these.’
He added: ‘When the plans were first submitted it had been identified that there was a need for 1,000 affordable homes in the Island but Andium has since committed to build more than 1,000 homes by 2020.
‘Also, they did not submit a village plan. I thought there was an opportunity for green space in the middle of the village but that was not included in their plans.’
Deputy Luce said that the parish would have the opportunity to revise and re-submit their plans.