The former political head of the Our Hospital project is pushing to delay the Government buying land at Kensington Place for £16m amid questions over the cost.
The site, which used to be the Revere and Stafford hotels, was purchased by Andium for £7.8m in 2021 to make way for 307 social homes to be built by Dandara and owned by the social housing provider.
But the work there was paused last year by the new Government, which plans to build one of its ‘New Healthcare Facilities’ there.
In the Government Plan, which fixes spending for 2023, States Members agreed to set aside £51m for the new multi-site hospitals’ programme.
£16m of that was earmarked to buy the town site from the taxpayer-owned Andium Homes.
But now Deputy Lyndon Farnham - the former Minister in charge of the now-scrapped £800m Overdale hospital plan - has lodged a proposition calling for this transaction to be delayed until after “the details of the clinical outcomes and cost of the proposals for multi-site healthcare provision” have been considered.
Pictured: The cleared site is currently owned by arms-length social homes provider Andium Homes.
In his proposal, the Deputy states: “Members will note that £16m has been set aside for the strategic purchase of Kensington Place. Members will also be interested to know that this site was acquired, less than eighteen months ago, in December 2021 by Andium, for a total of £7.8m.
“The Minister’s Report R.33/2023 [which authorises the transaction] contains little detail and provides no explanation as to the large premium of £8.2m that is proposed to acquire the land on behalf of the public.
“His decision has not been subject to scrutiny or ratified by a decision of the Assembly which would be proper given the size and nature of the transaction and ahead of the details of the clinical outcomes and costs of the proposals for multi-site health care provision promised by the government.”
He adds: “Given the Government’s anticipated milestones for 2023 delaying the purchase of this piece of land until such time as clinical and financial details of the New Health Facilities Programme have been provided to the Assembly and the decision has been appropriately scrutinised would not cause any delay to the anticipated New Health Facilities timetable.”
Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet, who is leading the New Healthcare Facilities Programme, gave an explanation of the process in the States Assembly this week.
He said: “The agreed price is considered to be fair and proper for the land. Three valuations have been undertaken of the site by RICS [Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors] valuation practices, which have opined land values consistent with the agreed sum.
“Further, it is the understanding of the programme team that Andium acquired the site in three parts from separate owners.
“The separate parts of the site added together would have had lower values per part than the whole, as in isolation the development potential per part would be reduced.
“The fully assembled site supported the maximum development potential, which was derived by Andium by assembling the site.
“Since acquiring the land, Andium has also invested in the site by preparing designs and a planning application, which has been approved.
“Physical works have also been undertaken to prepare the site, including demolition and ground clearance.
“These also add value since they are beneficial for any future development.”
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