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Hospital site uncertainty delaying social housing

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UNCERTAINTY surrounding where Jersey’s new hospital is going to be situated is frustrating the process of identifying land for much-needed social housing and assisted-buyer homes, the Housing Minister has said.

Picture: JON GUEGAN. (26002608)

Earlier this year a report found that 7,000 new homes would be needed by 2030 if the population continued to rise at the current rate.

Housing Minister Sam Mézec said he was continually looking at various parcels of States-owned land that he believed would fit different types of homes and help stem the housing crisis. But he said that because of the uncertainty around the delayed hospital project, he was struggling to earmark potential sites.

It was revealed earlier this week that former homes at Westaway Court, which were used for key-worker accommodation, cannot yet be redetermined as the site may be used for future hospital services.

A government spokeswoman said no confirmation would be given on a list of shortlisted sites.

Progress on the new hospital has been slow, with two planning applications rejected and the decision to build on Gloucester Street rescinded, meaning the project is effectively back at square one.

Senator Mézec said: ‘It would make my life a lot easier if some of this uncertainty was dealt with because there are lots of sites around the Island that I am looking at and thinking, that is a great site for social housing, affordable purchase or mixed development.

‘But we are not able to move as quickly as we would like because of the uncertainty there is around the hospital.

‘I will freely admit that this is a great frustration I face.’

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Andium Homes chief executive Ian Gallichan has also expressed his frustration.

He said: ‘We are equally frustrated about the States-owned sites and the delay in having any of them transferred to Andium Homes for development.

‘A number of sites have been identified for housing for a number of years, such as the Le Bas Centre, The Bridge, d’Hautrée, the Ambulance Station and St Saviour’s Hospital (West), all of which would provide excellent opportunity to increase housing supply without the need to purchase land elsewhere or build on green fields.’

An update was given on the hospital project last month with a timeline set in place for the the next 18 months.

Within that blueprint, it stated that the preferred site for the new hospital would not be announced until September next year.

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