Jersey politician criticises Empty Homes Service as ‘a waste of time’

A scheme to bring empty homes in Jersey back into habitation is being described as a ‘waste of time’ by one politician who feels the money for it would be better spent elsewhere.

The Empty Homes Service was started by Housing Minister, Deputy David Warr, at the beginning of the year, but Constable Mike Jackson is questioning the need for it.

He told ITV News: "I think on balance the value that might come out of this effort is probably not going to be that great because all these properties are going to be sold or let anyway.

"Who would want to have a property just sat empty given the value of property these days. It just defies logic to do that."

According to a States question lodged by former housing minister, Deputy Sam Mézec, the scheme has cost £57,131- most of which has been spent paying the salary of a dedicated officer.

Since its inception, islanders have been encouraged to report vacant properties to the Government as they continue to come up with a plan to address the issue.

A total of 260 have been brought to their attention so far.

Deputy David Warr said: "I pledged to get to the bottom of why there are so many homes lying empty in Jersey, in the recognition that there is no simple "quick fix" answer or solution to this problem.

"I believe we have a moral duty to ensure as many homes as possible are available for Islanders to live in. We must not forget that we are a small island, and we simply can't afford not to make the best use of the homes we already have.

"What concerns me, is the level of complacency we have seen over the decades, which has allowed this problem to grow whilst perfectly good homes have been left to rot.

"As work progresses, it's becoming clearer to me that our current legal frameworks and guidance aren't up to the standard needed to avoid these situations arising."

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