Call for St Helier to reject hospital access proposals

ST Helier residents should reject proposals relating to the proposed access road to the new hospital at Overdale at a parish assembly next week, a campaigner has said.

Overdale Hospital. Picture: JON GUEGAN. (30940098)
Overdale Hospital. Picture: JON GUEGAN. (30940098)

Advocate Olaf Blakeley said doing so would avoid a proposition being passed ‘in haste’, saying the choice of Westmount Road as the primary access route would have ‘massive long-term negative effects on the area’.

At a St Helier Parish Assembly on 9 June, residents are to be asked if they are ‘satisfied with the merits of creating an access route to the proposed hospital’, which will be outlined in a government presentation before the vote.

Parishioners will also be asked whether they have received adequate design details as to the ‘vehicular, amenity, cultural and community impact’, as requested at a previous meeting.

In February, Advocate Blakeley lodged a requête – an ancient legal device which enables parishioners to demand a parish assembly is held. He argued that the hospital project team had failed to provide enough detail as to proposed usage of parish land for the access road.

During the meeting, parishioners voted in favour of blocking any work on parish land until detailed design and impact information was made available.

The States earlier approved Westmount Road as the preferred access route for the hospital.

Deputy Chief Minister Lyndon Farnham, who has political responsibility for the Our Hospital project, is due to give a presentation at the meeting next week, before parishioners are asked to vote.

Advocate Blakeley said the parish’s message had been ‘clear’, with permissions and consents not given until ‘at least adequate pictures, designs and diagrams were provided’.

‘No parishioner could sensibly accept or reject a road development until they understood it,’ he added.

He said that, despite initial designs for the hospital building being released last month, ‘nothing meaningful’ had appeared regarding what the proposed road was meant to look like.

Advocate Blakeley said next week’s meeting had been called during half-term holidays, ‘when many people are away’.

This, combined with having to give notice of attendance by 6 June, ‘severely limits proper and adequate opportunities for concerned parishioners to be involved’, he said.

The Our Hospital team knew the ‘importance of the People’s Park’ and surrounding areas to residents, he said, and should provide ‘proper and meaningful information’.

Advocate Blakeley added: ‘A responsible and competent political department should understand the importance of being transparent with the public, especially in regard to large-scale projects which have the potential to damage the Island’s beauty, degrade its facilities and destroy its valuable wildlife and environment.’

The parish meeting will be held at 7pm on Wednesday next week.

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