According to a report published today, the need for homes can be met by a good supply of housing land in Jersey over the next five years. The report, which has been presented by the Minister for Planning and Environment, Deputy Rob Duhamel, suggests that the targets for housing need set by the States in the 2011 Island Plan could be exceeded if the opportunities for development are realised.
The Residential Land Availability at January 2012 report looks back at the performance of successive Island Plans in delivering homes in the Island and also looks to the future, comparing the estimated need for homes against potential sources of housing supply for the next five years.
Deputy Duhamel said: “What this report reveals is that the planning system is playing its part in providing a framework to enable housing targets to be met. However, what the planning system cannot do is to alter the wider economic situation that will enable landowners and the development industry to take up existing planning permissions or to bring forward development sites to provide new homes.”
At the start of 2012 planning permission for nearly 2,000 homes was in place with nearly 750 homes under construction.
The report reveals that despite the current economic downturn, a record number of 580 homes were built in Jersey in 2011. And since the approval of the 2002 Island Plan, on average about 530 homes have been developed every year, significantly exceeding the level of development activity of 360 homes per year during the 16 years that were covered by the 1987 Island Plan. If the housing targets in the 2011 Island Plan are to be met, a building rate of 400 homes a year will need to be delivered up to 2020.
Planning policies have also been successful in focussing new housing development to the Island’s main urban areas, and in so doing, protecting the countryside, with the majority of new homes being developed in St Helier and the other main urban parishes.
The report recognises, however, that despite the generally healthy outlook in terms of housing land supply, there remain some difficult challenges around affordability and the implications of the economic downturn for the local housing market and the development industry. The Minister for Planning and Environment is actively working, in consultation with the development industry and other government agencies, to bring forward a viable mechanism that can deliver more affordable housing as well as ensuring that the performance of the planning process enables investment decisions and the delivery of homes.