Government ‘satisfied’ building on hospital site is right
THE government is ‘satisfied’ that building the new hospital on the facility’s existing site is the ‘right choice’ – despite vocal opposition from some Islanders, the Health Minister has said.
Senator Andrew Green has chosen to speak out after the results of a survey prompted a number of Islanders to suggest new areas for building.
The site for the future hospital has long been a source of controversy, with some Islanders believing it should be built out of town or at the Esplanade or Overdale.
Earlier this month, a States-commissioned survey carried out by ComRes revealed that half of the respondents believed that building the new hospital on the current site was the right decision. Meanwhile, two-thirds of those who replied said that rather than delaying the project, further work should continue on developing the General Hospital plot.
‘There will never be unanimity among Islanders on this issue, because there are groups of individuals who strongly favour one or other alternative locations – who will never agree that developing the site that has served Jersey for a century and a half is the right decision,’ Senator Green said.
‘What the opinion poll told us is that there isn’t a groundswell of majority opinion against the current hospital site. And since we already examined – and dismissed – the alternatives as unworkable for various different reasons, and since the States Assembly has approved the current site and the funding for the project, that is where we will build it.’
On Monday the future hospital team unveiled its revised plans for the facility after its initial planning application was rejected in January due to the scale and mass of the proposals.
The new scheme significantly reduces the height of the building from nine storeys to six, but by constructing it on a wider footprint the facility will still be 50,000 square metres.
‘We will submit an outline planning application in April, and we are confident that the revised plans will meet the concerns of the planning inspector, the Environment Minister and the majority of Islanders,’ Senator Green said.
‘I expect that some people will continue to voice strong opinions throughout the coming months – even as we’re building and opening the new hospital.
‘But the Government is satisfied that it has made the right choice, and that we will deliver a new hospital of which Jersey can be proud and which will serve Islanders for generations.’