Future Hospital: Why were plans rejected?

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* the serious negative impact the hospital development would have on the St Helier townscape and the visual amenities of the area

* the detrimental impact on numerous protected heritage assets including the Jersey Opera House and a number of listed buildings on Gloucester Street and Kensington Place

* harm to the amenities and views of neighbouring residential properties – including a lack of privacy for residents

Independent planning inspector Philip Staddon, who was commissioned to carry out a review of the application, found that the proposed build would be ‘over dominant, obtrusive and alien’ on the landscape of St Helier and were ‘grossly out of scale with the immediate surroundings’.

Before reaching his findings Mr Staddon went site visits and also held a week-long public hearing in November during which 75 submissions were made.

In his report, Mr Staddon says: ‘Put simply, the application site is far too small to accommodate successfully the amount of floorspace proposed.

‘The parametric design that results is fundamentally unacceptable in townscape and urban design terms. I consider that these are not matters that can be finessed away by clever design at the detailed planning stage.’

The inspector did find that the proposed site – a new build on the existing hospital site – was appropriate due to its transport links and the fact that it is a well-established hospital site which ‘works well for the community’.

Deputy Luce could have opted to ignore the findings and recommendations of the report and approve the application.

However, Mr Staddon’s findings that the scale and mass of the project were simply too grand were impossible for Deputy Luce to ignore and he ultimately rejected the findings.

The minister said: ‘I’ve been struck by the language he [Mr Staddon] has used throughout his extensive report. Phrases such as “dramatic, serious and detrimental” occur more than once.

‘Words such as “particularly stark”, “unrelenting mass”, “out of scale”, “overwhelming”, “significant and severe” are just some of the many that are used throughout the inspector’s report.

These are serious words and the inspector does not make a borderline recommendation that would give me the leeway to go against his conclusion.’

With the Future Hospital planning application having been rejected, what happens next?

Health Minister Andrew Green said that he needed to carefully read the report before speaking with the Hospital project team and deciding on the next course of action.

And he said that despite the rejection, there is no suggestion at this stage of re-evaluating other sites. A four-site shortlist was initially drawn up by the minister in February 2016 which included the Waterfront, Overdale and the People’s Park as well as the current site.

He said there were ‘logistical reasons’ that the other sites were rejected and pointed out that Mr Staddon and Deputy Luce had both indicated that the area was an appropriate one for a hospital.

‘I am obviously very disappointed,’ he said. ‘There is a positive in the minister’s decision in that he acknowledges that the current hospital site is the appropriate location for a new hospital.

‘I need to read the report in depth and then seek advice on how to move forward. In many ways, this is not an unusual process in planning.’

He admitted though that, with an election on the horizon, time is running out if he is to be the man to get the ball rolling on the project. Senator Green declined to reveal whether he would be seeking a further term in office but said that he had ‘five months to go on with a lot of major projects’.

‘I stood on a mandate of delivering a new hospital and I will deliver it,’ he said.

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