The Chief Minister has started the process of selecting a site for Jersey’s new hospital. Senator John Le Fondré has begun an engagement programme with States Members to discuss alternative sites, governance of the project and a new approval process. The first of these meetings is scheduled for 4th March.
The second planning application to build on the existing site was rejected in January on the recommendation of an independent planning inspector. In his report the inspector cited the level of harm the scheme would cause to the surrounding area, and the number of breaches it would require to the island plan. The inspector also said that the wider States should recognise the impact of the demolition and construction work on neighbouring homes, businesses and the hospital itself.
After this second planning application was rejected, Deputy Russell Labey immediately lodged a proposition to rescind the decision to build on the current site.
Senator Le Fondré said: “It was right that the States Assembly should debate this important matter. Members have now reached a considered position, so we will look again at potential sites and ensure that our new hospital is built in the right place for Jersey.
“We are now discussing how we can develop a new process for assessing possible sites that involves consultation with hospital staff and islanders. We are also looking for ways to speed up the site selection, planning, procurement and construction process, by running some of this work in parallel rather than completing each piece of work before moving onto the next. This would bring the estimated completion date forward, while still following proper processes. We want to assess alternative sites and reach a final decision as soon as possible.”
As well as engaging with Members, the Chief Minister is planning a consultation with hospital staff to understand their requirements for the future site and for the existing building. He will also be discussing with Ministers the resources required to maintain the current hospital to a standard expected by the public and staff during the build process.
These are the actions set out in the Chief Minister’s Comment to the States Assembly:
- Facilitating a new, transparent site selection process: To work with States Members in workshops, with healthcare staff and other stakeholders, to determine which, of a small number of deliverable sites, should be appraised.
- Considering public interest issues and increasing assurance around a future planning application: To determine, with the relevant Ministers, how we can determine that a future application is in the public interest, in order to reduce the chances of another refusal.
- Committing to maintaining a good standard of care for patients: Invest sufficiently in the current hospital to ensure that it continues to function safely and effectively.
- Review, produce and publish an indicative timeline for site selection: Review the hospital timeline to identify which aspects of the project can be expedited.
- Publishing an explanation and outline of costs: The Minister for Treasury and Resources will lodge a new proposition to secure funding.
Current estimates show that construction of a new hospital on a clear, vacant site would be faster than the phased plan to demolish, decant and build on the site of the existing hospital.
Government of Jersey Press Release.