Ministers are already facing a public backlash about the People's Park as the front-runner for the new hospital – now they face a fight in the States before their top choice is even publicly announced.
St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft is pushing for a debate on 23 February to remove the park from the shortlist of sites for the new hospital – that shortlist is widely believed to come down to just two sites: the People's Park and the Waterfront.
As speculation has grown over the last few weeks, Mr Crowcroft has tried to get answers out of the Council of Ministers without success, and now he says that he thinks the majority of States Members will back him and force the Council of Ministers to back down.
He says that there’s already a shortage of open space and parks in town, and that he won’t stand by and let the biggest park disappear. His opposition is key because the States don’t own the park, the parish do – and ministers haven’t even begun negotiating over the land.
Mr Crowcroft has ruled out a swap deal for an extension to the Millennium Town Park or land at the Waterfront – where he says there should be more open park space anyway – and taking over the site of the current hospital when it is knocked down.
He said: “I do not believe that a majority of States members will accept the loss of People’s Park, and accordingly I am seeking to nip any such proposal in the bud. If adopted, this proposition will allow the Minister to concentrate his resources on exploring further the alternative sites which exist for the new hospital.
“If the Council of Ministers is indeed working behind the scenes to find a combination of separate areas of open space whose sum will equal or even surpass the size of People’s Park, it seems inconceivable that such a package would be acceptable to the majority of Islanders, let alone to St. Helier parishioners.
“The importance of People’s Park lies in its being a single area of open space with an attractive wooded backdrop and views down to the sea and Elizabeth Castle, a park which is accessible, versatile and robust. There is nowhere else like it.”
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