Could stilts really be a solution for flood-hit homes?

  • ITV Channel's Will Tullis looks into whether stilts could be the answer to Jersey's flooding issue

Putting houses on stilts, building a new reservoir and damming further upstream are some of the options that have been discussed for flood prevention in Jersey.

This follows the worst flash floods on record in Jersey in January, during which residents in Grands Vaux were evacuated from their homes.

Jersey's Infrastructure Department faced a scrutiny panel last week where a number of options were discussed.

Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet said the government was exploring a number of possibilities, including rebuilding some of the worst-affected homes on 1.5m stilts.

ITV News discussed this possibility with Mike Waddington of Waddington Architects.

Mr Waddington said while this is a possible solution, it's one that only scratches the surface.

"I do wonder though whether there's perhaps a wider island issue that's to do with water management and biodiversity", Mr Waddington said.

"The more development we have the less we need to be concreting over areas, so we need the ground, roofs, walls to absorb water, hold it and let it back into the natural waterways in a controlled manner", he added.

  • Architect Mike Waddington discusses the possibility of rebuilding flood-hit homes on stilts

With damp still lingering and water damage so severe, some residents are yet to return home, as repair work continues.

The portable heaters and dehumidifiers are still switched on in Kerry Goguelin's home.

It will be weeks before she, her daughter and her mother can return to Grands Vaux.

After the heavy toll the last month has taken, their worst fear is having to go through this all over again.

"You have a school there, children, this was our homes that were destroyed but next time you could be talking about people's lives", Kerry told ITV News.

"I think that's where [Jersey's government] need to find us the money or find something that they can do so that we're not going to be in this situation again", she added.

  • 'Next time you could be talking about people's lives': Resident Kerry Goguelin fears having to go through this all over again

Deputy Binet has said he also wants Jersey Water to expand its role on the Island to one that includes flood prevention, rather than just water provision.

Jersey Water told ITV News it's meeting with government and other agencies this week to discuss the next steps.

Many of those affected by the floods were social housing tenants. Andium Homes, the Island's only social housing provider - took ITV News around one of the worst-impacted homes, to show us the extent of the damage.

"We understand this is a terrible position for tenants to be in and for Andium Homes as well", Mike Porter of Andium Homes said.

"We're doing our best with communications and we recognise there are things we can do better and we certainly will", he added.

On the question of rebuilding houses on stilts, Mr Porter said Andium is looking "at all options" for the future of the estates.

"It may be possible that we redesign some of these homes, or redevelop them in due course", Mr Porter said.

The Infrastructure Department will meet with Jersey Water, Andium Homes and other bodies in the coming days to discuss their plans. Deputy Binet will meet with Grands Vaux residents next month.

But, until decisions are made and solutions are put in place, many in Grands Vaux fear they could be forced to confront the worst effects of extreme weather once more.