Hemp growers criticise Deputy’s bid to change hospital site list

A FRESH move to add Warwick Farm to the future-hospital shortlist has been branded ‘deeply unhelpful and disruptive’ by the hemp-growing company currently operating at the site.

David Ryan    Picture:DAVID FERGUSON. (29291566)
David Ryan Picture:DAVID FERGUSON. (29291566)

Last week St John Deputy Trevor Pointon lodged proposals to have the farm and St Saviour’s Hospital placed on the list, and the People’s Park removed.

If his proposition is passed, the States will be asked to choose between the two new sites and Overdale during a debate later this year. But Jersey Hemp has heavily criticised the proposition, pointing out that the farm has been listed as a possible site on several occasions and each time it has been eliminated.

They said that the site, off Grande Route de St Jean, had been discounted following ‘extensive analysis over several years by specialists, contractors, developers as well as politicians’, which has already ‘cost the Jersey taxpayer many millions of pounds’ and has ‘ended with the clear conclusion that it is not right for the hospital’.

The company added that the site was a working farm that was home to a business ‘in a government-endorsed industry that would increase wealth and prosperity for Jersey as a whole’.

And they said that the Deputy’s claims that the firm’s lease could be renegotiated to clear the area for the hospital development ‘completely overlooks the fact that the site had been deemed to be unsuitable already and that a business had been built around Warwick Farm’.

The business, which cultivated about 200 vergées of land this year, said that the newly created speculation over the hospital site was ‘deeply unhelpful and disruptive for our business’, which had enjoyed significant growth over recent years, as CBD had become increasingly used for pain relief and other health issues.

David Ryan, Jersey Hemp’s chief executive, said: ‘We are deeply disappointed that it has been suggested that Warwick Farm should be considered for this.

‘Many millions of pounds have been spent on assessing sites, with the conclusion that the farm is simply not suitable. What is more upsetting and destabilising from Jersey Hemp’s point of view is that the speculation about this creates uncertainty for our business and its employees at what is a very difficult time all round.’

In lodging his proposition, Deputy Pointon said that Warwick Farm was a near-level site with capacity to accommodate basement facilities, was close to town and had good transport links, was more than big enough to accommodate a new hospital and provided room for future expansion.

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