Jersey in 2035 will have over 25,000 additional permanent residents and will require the equivalent of 230 Le Marais housing blocks to accommodate them.
Not an election candidate’s wild speculation, but a forecast from a new Scrutiny panel report.
Unfortunately, residential housing is only one aspect of the massive problem of overpopulation that will destroy Jersey as we currently know it.
I am aware that our government is already planning for a local population of 130,000 – a figure that has great significance because, as Jersey approaches that population level, our infrastructure will no longer be able to cope.
130,000 residents will require a new reservoir, an additional sewerage works, another secondary school with – according to Scrutiny – ten supporting primary schools, yet another hospital in addition to the one being designed now and, I can safely say, a number of significantly sized homes for the elderly, with facilities for dealing with the mentally impaired as well as the physically disabled.
You may well ask where all the capital funding is coming from, let alone the future running costs. I suggest it can only mean increased taxation.
The impacts will be dramatic and whilst residents of St Helier district No.3/ 4 may not have to worry about a new reservoir, current planning policy specifies that the Town will be the location for the bulk of all new residential construction.
“Brown field sites” will go first, there will then be pressure on filling in existing “open space” and a swathe of green fields will go under concrete. I will defend constituents from unacceptable encroachment, but if population increases continue, development becomes unavoidable.
Immigration control will not stop the developing crisis, as the local population itself has passed a “tipping point” and is growing by over 250 people per year. Our government is offering no other solutions.
However, I will – starting with child benefits. A subject that I wish to treat very sensitively, such that no-one currently alive will be affected, including any babies that are on the way!
Historically, Jersey was depopulated at the end of the Second World War and, for obvious economic reasons, families were encouraged financially. Regrettably, in an island of limited space, government support for large families is no longer in the overall public interest, so I would initially suggest that all current child benefits are retained for the first born, with the 2nd child getting 50% of that former amount. After that, there would be no restriction on family size, but parents should understand that they will incur full financial responsibility.
If anyone has a better idea, kindly let me know via my website – guydefaye.com – where a number of my other policy suggestions are outlined.
I would like to include them here, but – clearly – population pressures dominate ALL other matters.
I thank you for your attention. Please give me one of your votes and let me get on with the job.
Guy de Faye