The Future Hospital Review Panel heard that the access options looked at to allow Overdale to work as a site for the proposed new hospital were: a new road through the George V Cottage Homes, a new road through the lower park up and over the hill, improving access from the north via Tower Road, or making changes to Westmount Road, which includes the removal of three homes.
The panel was told that the last option had been chosen as it would affect the fewest residents. However, project director Richard Bannister told the panel it was still ‘clearly quite devastating’ for those whose homes would be affected.
During the hearing, at which the project’s political lead Senator Lyndon Farnham, Health Minister Richard Renouf, clinical director Professor Ashok Handa and government chief executive Charlie Parker were also present, Mr Bannister said that the first option had been discounted as it did not effectively deal with the change in ground level and it would have ‘completely taken out’ the George V Cottage Homes.
The access from the lower park would have had an impact on a number of homes, he added, and changing Tower Road was problematic for a number of reasons, including the effect on homes and immoveable properties and services. However, Mr Bannister said it remained a second access option in case of an emergency from that side of the Island.
‘Westmount came back the most feasible, deliverable option to us in terms of considering the impact,’ he said. ‘There is no solution that we could come up with that would give us an option without affecting some residents.’
The panel were also told that the team then considered widening Westmount Road to the east and to the west, but that the west was chosen as it affected just three homes compared to the east, which would have had an impact on one home and one apartment block, which would have had its access ‘basically severed’.
‘It is clearly quite devastating [for those residents affected] but that is the only way we could go. We did go for the lowest-impact option,’ Mr Bannister said.