Two sites to be added to hospital shortlist?

PROPOSALS to add two new sites to the future-hospital shortlist and remove the People’s Park have been lodged by a politician.

Just weeks after the final list was whittled down to two, Deputy Trevor Pointon has called for Warwick Farm and St Saviour’s Hospital to be formally put into contention.

And he has warned that any attempt to build on the park would be ‘vigorously opposed by the Parish of St Helier and the general public’ and that there was a ‘serious question mark’ over whether the site was even big enough to accommodate a new hospital.

If the St John Deputy’s proposition is approved, Warwick Farm and St Saviour’s Hospital would join Overdale on a shortlist of three to be put to the States for a final vote later this year.

The proposition has drawn criticism from consultation cardiologist Dr Andrew Mitchell, who called for the States to focus on the two shortlisted sites.

In a tweet, he said: ‘This is the reason that we don’t have a new hospital. Political delay, obstacles and protests. Come on Jersey we have had enough of this. It’s People’s Park or Overdale. Both are suitable. Focus energies on starting building not delaying further.’

The lodging of the proposition is the latest development in the almost decade-old future-hospital saga which has seen plans to rebuild on Gloucester Street rejected twice and sites including Overdale and the People’s Park come on and off various shortlists.

In the report accompanying his proposition, which is due to be debated on 3 November, the Deputy said that Warwick Farm, currently home to Jersey Hemp, was big enough for a new health facility and benefited from good transport links.

‘Warwick Farm is a near level site with capacity to accommodate some basement facilities and is more than able to meet the spacial requirements of a planned new hospital with room for future expansion,’ he said.

‘It is adjacent to town with road access and infrastructure services already in existence.

‘The site is already in States ownership and although there is currently a leaseholder in occupation, it should be possible to amicably break the lease,’ he added.

The Deputy said that St Saviour’s Hospital would also be big enough, but acknowledged that the large granite building would first have to be de-listed.

‘St Saviour’s Hospital has long been standing derelict and is currently earmarked for housing development.

‘However, in these times of uncertainty relating to our future hospital facilities, we should not be discounting this existing health site,’ he said.

‘Whether in terms of housing or hospital development, infrastructure upgrades will be needed to this site. A modern hospital would require its own in-house shopping facilities, restaurant and café. A housing complex on the site would be remote from retail amenities, meaning that residents would have to resort to their car to buy essentials. There is more than sufficient room on the site to meet the spacial requirements.’

Calling for the People’s Park to be dropped from the list, the Deputy said the site was too small and would require underground construction and high-rise extensions.

The States last year voted to protect the park from development, and it is unclear how the process would progress if Members ultimately voted in favour of building on the green space.

Although suggesting that Overdale should remain on the shortlist, the Deputy said that it would be a ‘potentially expensive’ option, given the need to rebuild on parts of the existing health facility and create better access.

He warned that the latter could be particularly costly given that creating a new road into the site would almost certainly involve the demolition of about 55 properties.

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