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'Wrong site, wrong design!' Architects call for rejection of new hospital

'Wrong site, wrong design!' Architects call for rejection of new hospital

Tuesday 25 January 2022

'Wrong site, wrong design!' Architects call for rejection of new hospital

Tuesday 25 January 2022

Architects in Jersey have formally objected to plans to build a new hospital at Overdale, saying the delivery process has led to a poor design with no regard for "Jersey’s unique sense of pride.”

The Association of Jersey Architects has officially commented on the planning application to build a £804m ‘health campus’ on Westmount.

That application will be reviewed by an independent planning inspector in March before the Environment Minister approves or rejects it.

Although conceding that their concern is “likely to be ignored”, AJA says it considers that Overdale alone is “the wrong choice of site”.

It writes: “While this project is an island imperative, we are concerned that that client and delivery process have adversely affected the project’s design quality and contribution to Jersey’s unique sense of pride.”

Specifically, the AJA say that the current proposals “do not respond collectively to the context and distinctiveness of the site”.


Pictured: The Association of Jersey Architects criticise the design of main building on Westmount.

It adds: “The south elevation as viewed from Elizabeth Castle is currently a 200m bland flat elevation with no attempt to create an intriguing façade or create an overlay that mitigates the impact of the over-scaled façade.

“There appears to be no clear, compelling concept design or architectural narrative. The design has changed hugely throughout the process.

“Is there a conceptual diagram that explains how the architecture, topography and landscape are integrated? As currently, this appears to be lacking.”

The AJA say it is difficult for the main building's "immense scale" to be demonstrated to the public so it suggests some kind of profile is erected so people can get an idea.

Other criticisms of the AJA include its belief that the two towers to the east of the main building "add to the proposal's jarring with the skyline in longer views” and should be removed.

It asks: “As the second bookend to St. Helier, how does the Our Hospital project relate and respond to Fort Regent?”

The original design for the hospital's main entrance was said to have been inspired by the shoreline, with the underside of the roof “mimicking” the ebb and flow of the tide. The original curved roof design was also intended to be a nod to Fort Regent.

However, that design was scrapped when the project team decided to reduce the size of the building by around 4,000sqm. They said this was in line with public feedback and would ensure that the project comes in on-time, and on budget.

Hospital Overdale

Pictured: The original design featured a curved roof as a nod to Jersey's tidal range and Fort Regent.

Addressing climate change, the AJA also asked how the buildings and parking provision align with the Government’s Carbon Neutral Roadmap.

The Association signs off by asking the Minister to reject the application. 


“Main hospital building at Overdale will be as high as Hue Court”

Inspector to assess hospital plans just days after policy decided

Our (smaller) hospital

INSIGHT: Injecting art, culture and design into the new hospital

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Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.

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Posted by Private Individual on
why didn't they say something before?
Posted by Steven Simon on
Well just keep rolling with it, has been shambles from start so probably be a shambles until the end. Well done
Posted by Glenn Cowie on
Stop wasting our money and start building the thing. This is a joke now.
Posted by Guy de Faye on
The AJA are right to criticise the design of the All-in-one Hospital/ Campus, but Overdale IS a good site for a public realm development - just not the one on the drawing board.

What is the point of placing a high public access building at the top of a steep hill, thus ensuring that most people will be obliged to drive there?

Having contrived this excessive reliance on private transport, the designers laid on a number of surface car parks and a multi-storey car park. Plus, being Jersey's ONLY hospital, it was made significantly large, in order to cater for a growing population.
Next, public opinion cut in, demanding that the size of the hospital be reduced, together with the amount of car parking provision. Who are these bonkers members of the public, suddenly deemed competent to direct architectural detail, urban planning and traffic issues? Was it an infamous "citizens jury" where members are both anonymous and unelected?

First, eliminate the roadway and car park issues by reducing use of the new building to InPatients - I have already suggested that underground car parking is the least obtrusive approach and worth the extra expense.

Retain the existing General Hospital and after a comprehensive redesign and refit, continue to use it for Accident and Emergency, plus OutPatients. The General is just off the Ring Road and adjacent to the Esplanade for A&E access. Many OutPatients in and around St Helier can easily WALK to the Hospital and there is a multi-storey car park next door, not to forget convenient buses.

The current grossly expensive exercise must be stopped in its tracks to allow some common sense to prevail.
Posted by David Kingham on
Beyond a joke, P up in a brewery comes to mind
Posted by nigel pearce on
I agree with Guy de Faye that the hospital need not be in just one place.
Retain Gloucester Street and now that Andium aren’t going to develop Gas Place, use it for some of the hospital units. Overdale could then be sold off for development, that should recoup a large amount of the money already spent.
Posted by John Carlow on
I’ve been saying for over 3 years , Overdale was the worst choice.
The GoJ should buy Normans building, as they own most of the street. Electricity is already in situ, sewage is easily disposable with drainage I believe accessible.
Update the car park at Pier Road. Fort Regent should also be updated to allow all hospital clinics to be situated in one area.
The New Hospital can be built all along the harbour with great views overlooking the castle to assist well-being and recovery. Where the building faces the granite wall all storage areas could be positioned here.
Underground ambulance station would be positioned below ground, especially as the harbour is deep enough to support this.
Bus station opposite and taxis freely available.
Need I say more to consider this as an appropriate site???
Posted by Denise Shrives on
I do hope it's not passed ! BUT if it is the new hospital should be called Farnham's Folly, I remember how the steam clock got it's name Filleul's folly !
Posted by Jenn Smith on
Personally I would have compulsory purchased the golf site and Partners restaurant at Georgetown. It's on the edge of town, good access east and west, good infrastructure in place and great outlook for recovery. A huge site that would be able to take all of the hospital. Sadly, People's park was the obvious choice with the demolition of the current hospital replacing it and joining to Parade gardens. It's just a pity the public didn't trust the States to actually deliver on a new park once the Peoples Park was complete.
Posted by Keith Marsh on
The biggest problem with the hospital is EVERYONE has a different idea where it should be sited and how large it should be.
The AJA has let itself down badly, in not speaking up earlier, especially as they are not just concerned with the merit or otherwise of the proposed buildings.
The site has been chosen. period.
Now lets get on with actually building a large hospital that will help ALL the people of Jersey and not like the scaled down hospital proposed by the Jersey model
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