10 March 2021
The Minister for Housing and Communities, Deputy Russell Labey, is asking States Members to make funds available to provide up to £600,000 of loans to Les Quennevais Park residents for necessary maintenance.
When the eight blocks were constructed in the early 1960s, by the-then States of Jersey Housing Committee, balconies were built with hollow – rather than reinforced – concrete beams. Over time, water has penetrated the hollow beams, leading to their deterioration.
The issue, which was discovered during routine maintenance, does not pose an immediate risk to residents of the 88 affected flats, but it will mean that the owners will need to pay for structural repairs to the outer concrete beam which supports the balcony railings.
Following discussions between Government staff and residents, the loans have been proposed to ensure that all residents have access to funds for the necessary repairs.
Deputy Labey said: "Given that the Government of Jersey originally commissioned these flats, it is only fair that we ensure residents have the ability to remedy the defect.
"Given how much time has passed since the flats were constructed, we can't tell whether hollow beams were installed by accident or by design and, after such a long length of time, any investigation into how it happened would be costly and the outcome uncertain.
"What we do know is that this mistake is leading the balconies to deteriorate over time. These defects do not pose an immediate risk to residents, but they do need to be amended so that the buildings meet modern building regulations, and this proposition will ensure that residents who might not be able to obtain a loan from traditional lenders can still fund the repairs."
The Minister has lodged a proposition to enable the loans to be funded from the 99-Year Leaseholders Account, with States Members being asked to approve a variation the purpose of the fund. If the proposition is passed, eligible residents will be contacted directly by Government, to invite them to apply for a loan, which will be means-tested, and available for a payment term of up to 10 years.
The proposition is available online: https://statesassembly.gov.je/Pages/Propositions.aspx