Planning permission for a new hospital in Jersey has been rejected.
The Environment Minister, Deputy Steve Luce, has today (Tuesday) rejected the application after considering a report from an independent planning inspector.
He concluded the whole £466million development, due to be built next to the existing General Hospital, was “grossly out of scale” with its surroundings and the wider townscape.
Reacting to the announcement, the Health Minister Senator Andrew Green said: “I’m disappointed the outline planning application for a new hospital has not been approved. The independent inspector agreed it was the right location, but the proposed site was too small for the size of the building needed. I will take time to study the report & plan next steps.”
There were three key reasons given for the refusal:
- The proposal, by virtue of its siting, size and mass would be grossly out of scale with its immediate surroundings and the wider townscape. It would appear to be an over-dominant, obtrusive, and alien structure which would harm the St Helier townscape.
- The proposal would not preserve or enhance the settings of numerous heritage assets including the Opera House and the view from Parade Gardens, Victoria Park, People’s Park, Westmount Gardens, Lower Park, Elizabeth Castle and Fort Regent.
- The proposed development would lead to unreasonable harm to the residential amenities and living conditions of neighbouring residential properties.
But it’s not the end of the story, as Deputy Luce noted development on the site would still be possible if it included a wider development area. He concluded: “The application site proposed is too small to accommodate a building of this size but other combinations of land and/or building phasing could result in a different outcome.
The hospital project has faced years of delays and disruption before funding was finally approved by the States last month.
Ahead of that decision, senior medics wrote an open letter to all politicians urging them to agree the money to allow detailed design, planning and building work to get underway next to the existing General Hospital in St Helier.
They wrote: “We carry a significant risk in relation to our most critical services as they are located in the 1960s building, which is in the worst condition. The services at risk include the Emergency Department, Intensive Care Unit, Theatres, Chemotherapy Suite and the Children’s Ward. This will remain the case until they are moved to our new hospital.”
It’s now, literally, back to the drawing board.