We welcome the long awaited publication of the KPMG Report and, at first glance, consider it to be a comprehensive review providing a well-balanced set of recommendations.
The proposals to assist First-Time Buyers through the removal of document duty and bond fees and to identify areas of land suitable for those buyers are ideas we have been openly suggesting for some time and we are fully supportive of those recommendations.
The latter could be especially beneficial if plots were located within the central and upper parishes as this would provide a broader mix of residents whilst easing the pressure on infrastructures such as roads and schools which occurs when developments are concentrated in St Peter Port and the Northern parishes. There may be a need to work with land owners, to provide plots at affordable prices (which may need to be capped) and with developers, to ensure the right type of homes can be provided at the right price. So landowners, developers and the construction industry will no doubt need to be actively involved in this process.
The need for more lenders in the marketplace is also evident throughout the report and we fully support any endeavours to target prospective new mortgage providers.
All in all the report presents a positive package of measures and it is hoped these will not be watered down in a ‘pick and mix’ approach when it comes to implementing change.
One issue that could potentially muddy the waters is that KPMG are suggesting the need for housing is less than half the 300 per annum that the latest Island Development Plan was based on and, if this the case, then the IDP itself may be unpicked and there will be a call from some for land allocated for housing to be made available for other uses.
It will be interesting what transpires when this is debated in The States, which we hope will be soon. The report itself is already overdue and whilst there are clearly a number of pressing concerns taking up Deputies’ time at present, the future of housing on the island is also an important issue.