Designs for hospital to go through planning process

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The designs, which have been modified following a public consultation, will now go through the formal independent planning process, with a decision likely early next year.

If the plans are approved, the final contract for what would be Jersey’s biggest ever capital project is expected to be signed before the general election in June.

It is hoped the new facility would be operational by the end of 2026.

The lodging of formal plans was a landmark moment in a project which has been beset by problems almost since the outset a decade ago.

Following two failed planning applications to rebuild on the current Gloucester Street site – and numerous campaigns to protect other areas from development – the States last year voted for Overdale as the preferred location.

But the decision proved controversial, with campaign groups warning that the facility would dominate the St Helier skyline, and that the remodelling of Westmount Road to create an access route would result in a loss of trees and green space and create further traffic problems in an area prone to congestion at peak times.

The potential price tag – which has almost doubled to £804.5 million and will be funded almost entirely by a government loan – has also raised concern.

Further details will be released in the coming days, but the plans show that:

– The overall height of the main hospital building has been reduced and the design remodelled in an effort to lessen the visual impact following concerns from Islanders.

– The mental-health facility has been reduced to a single storey to reduce the visual impact and moved further to the west following concerns it was too close to the Mont à l’Abbé cemetery.

– The height of the multi-storey car park has been reduced by one level and the roof has been remodelled.

– The overall number of car parking spaces has dropped from 690 to 550 following concerns about traffic levels.

– Landscape buffer zones have been ‘significantly increased in depth’ to create barriers to the cemetery, crematorium and nearby homes.

– An additional link has been created from Maternity and Outpatients to communal gardens.

– The size of so-called ‘green terraces’ has been increased.

The overall patient capacity will be ‘significantly greater’ than that of the current hospital, and it will have more operating theatres, a separate maternity, women’s and children’s unit and more single en-suite room available to all patients.

Professor Ashok Handa, the project’s medical director, has previously said that the facility would have a total floor space of 69,000 sq metres – a reduction of 4,000 sq metres on the earlier designs.

In a press statement, the government said that ‘staff wellbeing areas and far-reaching sea views [will] all contribute towards a first-class and sustainable healthcare facility, which will help attract the very best medical professionals and care for Islanders for generations to come’.

The application also includes plans to create new woodland walks, green landscaped areas and parks, and the planting of at least 860 trees.

In addition, the plans include what the government has described as a ‘parking solution’ for Pets’ Paradise in Peirson Road.

Deputy Chief Minister Lyndon Farnham, chairman of the Our Hospital Political Oversight Group, said: ‘We have today taken a significant step towards the delivery of our much-needed new hospital.

‘During this process, we have not only ensured that the public have had every opportunity to offer their feedback and ideas, but importantly worked extremely closely with our healthcare professionals, who have used their medical expertise and experience to help us design a hospital for the future.

‘The independent planning process will now begin and is expected to deliver a decision in early 2022. Subject to the application being approved, construction can then begin in time to meet the project timelines of our new hospital being complete and fully operational by the end of 2026.’

The lodging of the plans was the second major development for the project in recent weeks, after States Members last month approved proposals to set the budget at £804.5, with a maximum of £750 million funded through borrowing. A Scrutiny amendment to cap the budget at £550m was rejected.

The plans have been developed by Llewlyn Davis architects, which form part of the RoKFCC design and delivery partnership.

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