Decision day for new hospital plan
A DECISION on whether to grant a planning application for the new hospital is expected to be made on Monday.
Environment Minister John Young is due to publicly announce his decision on the current planning application – a new build on the existing hospital site at around midday.
Last year, UK independent planning inspector Philip Staddon held a public inquiry into the proposed plans. His report was submitted to Deputy Young last month and is expected to form part of the minister’s considerations.
The project has been dogged by controversy with question marks still hanging over the proposed site. The Future Hospital project team are continuing to work to the brief approved by the previous States Assembly to build on the current site.
However, a policy development board set up by Chief Minister John Le Fondré found that while it is possible to build on the current site, two other options – the Waterfront and Overdale – should be put back on the table for consideration increasing speculation that the initial States approval could be overturned.
Senator Le Fondré has confirmed that the matter will be put back before Members although no proposition has been lodged and no date for a States debate has yet been set.
That means that even if Deputy Young recommends the planning application be approved, the project could be halted if Members opt to overturn the site approval and revisit alternative options.
Health Minister Richard Renouf has thrown his support behind the current site and, in a recent letter to the JEP, said that concerns over the ability to expand the hospital in the future had been build into the current design plans.
It is almost a year to the day since the initial application was rejected by then-Environment Minister Steve Luce.