Senator Lyndon Farnham – who is the political lead for the project – said the environmental, topographical and geological research being carried out by the Our Hospital team was ‘necessary’ to help prepare a planning application.
He made the comments in response to a petition, signed by more than 1,000 Islanders, asking that such work be suspended until the team submitted ‘plans for public sight’ or obtained consent to build the £800 million facility.
Senator Farnham said: ‘Detailed documentation is required so that a planning application can be submitted. Stopping work on the project would mean the necessary information could not be collected or provided to Planning.’
The States Assembly approved Overdale as the preferred site for Jersey’s new hospital in November.
Senator Farnham said: ‘The next phase of work following this decision is to prepare a planning application. In order to do this, the Our Hospital project team has had to gather detailed information about the land, which is necessary to develop the designs required as part of a planning application.’
He added: ‘The planning decision is dependent on the submission of detailed documentation that includes evidence and analysis. It is not possible to submit a planning application without detailed supporting information in a range of areas including environmental impact, topography and geology.’
The current target date for delivering the new hospital is 2026, when it is estimated that the cost of maintaining Jersey’s General Hospital and ‘ageing health estate’ will rise sharply.
Senator Farnham said: ‘This is an ambitious timeline for a construction project of this size and complexity and, in order to meet the deadlines, work is required by the design and delivery partner to prepare the design and planning application.’
Last year, Senator Ian Gorst warned that every day’s delay in building the new hospital would cost ‘tens of thousands of pounds’.