Campaigners favour the Overdale site for hospital

- Advertisement -

A former Deputy and co-founder of the Jersey Action Group, Sean Power, believes it should be looked at in detail, and that politicians and planners should slow down to avoid rushing into a bad decision.

The call for restraint follows news of a fresh review of all shortlisted sites, despite a planning application being submitted and millions of pounds of preparatory work having already been carried out to build a new hospital next to the existing one on Gloucester Street.

Mr Power said: ‘For me, there are only two sites that warrant serious consideration: Overdale and the old St Saviour’s Hospital. Overdale is in the middle of town and it’s an enormous site. I’d build a new road to it from the inner road by the new JEC sub-station, and make the existing road downhill by the bowls club one-way.

‘My view has always been that building next to the current site, trying to pin a major extension to the existing building, is fraught with problems. There’s the prospect of dust, hammering, cranes, mixers and noise. It simply isn’t compatible. We need to draw breath. Let the panel do what it’s been set up to do. I still would oppose any plan to build on the People’s Park.’

And while St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft believes most Islanders just want politicians to get on with things, rather than revisit site options, he conceded that Mr Power’s plan had merit.

He said: ‘I’ve never ruled out Overdale as a site for the [new] hospital. It would give patients views that could be therapeutic, looking out to Westmount Woods and the People’s Park. If the transport issues could be resolved, it could be an option. But there would need to be truly compelling evidence to lead to a change of site.’

Such evidence could emerge, as a panel of five politicians, led by Constable Chris Taylor, begin their review. Chief Minister John Le Fondré has charged them with re-examining sites that had previously been discounted, including the Waterfront, the People’s Park, St Saviour’s Hospital, Warwick Farm, and Overdale.

That review is due to be completed by October, but Senator Le Fondré has revealed to the JEP that it could be done much faster if there were ‘no surprises’.

He said: ‘I want this to be a short, sharp look that’s done by August to allow time for another further pieces of work to be done if needed. If there is no new evidence, it could be much sooner.’

It means, if the panel does not make any alternative recommendation, the existing planning application and public inquiry into plans for a hospital next to the current one should not be delayed.

But Mr Power says worrying about such artificial deadlines is part of the problem.

He added: ‘I went to the Isle of Man in 2013 and looked at the new Noble’s Hospital. It’s a campus site outside Douglas. It had a gestation period of over 12 years from start to finish.

‘I think the current administration and previous ministers were doing it too quickly. It’s a mistake to rush it, it’s not thought out properly.’

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Stories

- Advertisement -

UK News

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Read the latest free supplements

Read the Town Crier, Le Rocher and a whole host of other subjects like mortgage advice, business, cycling, travel and property.