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Group forces early vote on Overdale ‘highway’ plans

Group forces early vote on Overdale ‘highway’ plans

Thursday 28 January 2021

Group forces early vote on Overdale ‘highway’ plans

Thursday 28 January 2021

A key vote on whether to approve controversial plans for a ‘highway’ to the £800m future hospital has been accelerated to next week after a push led by the Deputy Chief Minister, infuriating politicians and nearby residents.

The debate on whether Westmount Road should be widened to access the new Overdale health facility will now be going ahead on Monday - more than a week earlier than originally planned.

Senator Lyndon Farnham’s decision to bring forward the vote, which was backed by 16 politicians, comes amid concerns from States Members that there was already too little time and not enough detail in the proposals for them to be properly scrutinised.

As Express reported last week, no detailed visuals have been provided of what the new highway, which will encompass the existing Jersey Bowling Club, will look like - something Scrutineers were seeking to rectify

But Senator Farnham hit back at calls for more time and information last night, as he warned that he was planning to requisition a special States Assembly meeting. 


Pictured: The debate on the future hospital access route could last three days.

In an email seen by Express which was sent to Chief Scrutineer Senator Kristina Moore shortly before midnight and copied to all States Members, he wrote: “I would like to reiterate once again that the speed at which this project is progressing is determined by our ageing and decaying health estate.

“Having heard first-hand, on many occasions, from frontline health workers the conditions with which they are currently working, I must say that [Our Hospital Political Oversight Group] members were both surprised and disappointed by your apparent lack of appreciation of this crucial driver of the project.”

He went on to suggest that the fact politicians didn’t feel they had enough information was a problem of their own making. 

“…It is the political process that has prevented us from giving you, and others, the details that you are requesting at this stage. For example, had the site selection proposition not been amended, we would already be three months into the design phase. This work has yet to begin.”

He went on to describe the information provided about the proposed Westmount access route so far as a “high-level appraisal”, going on to add: “Nowhere in the world would a detailed assessment be undertaken to the extent which you are suggesting given the blatant waste of precious public resources involved. We acknowledge that you have identified the approach we have taken as legitimate. We can address the suggested risks in the knowledge that we are always addressing the most critical risk. That is the ability to keep us all and future generations of islanders safe and healthy.” 


Pictured: The Government has so far refused to provide any detailed drawing of what the proposed access route will look like.

He did, however, express support for St. Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft’s bid to protect green spaces around the new highway. 

States Members were notified that a meeting had been requisitioned less than 12 hours later, with Senator Farnham receiving support on the early vote from:

  • Chief Minister Senator John Le Fondré
  • Health Minister Deputy Richard Renouf
  • Infrastructure Minister Deputy Kevin Lewis
  • Treasury Minister Deputy Susie Pinel
  • Social Security Minister Deputy Judy Martin
  • Assistant Chief Ministers Constable Richard Buchanan and Deputy Scott Wickenden
  • Assistant Ministers Deputy Lindsay Ash, Deputy Gregory Guida, Deputy Rowland Huelin, Deputy Hugh Raymond and Deputy Trevor Pointon
  • And backbenchers Senator Sarah Ferguson, and Constables John Le Bailly, Philip Le Sueur and Chris Taylor

Several States Members have reacted angrily to the news, with one describing the move to Express as “malign.” 

Residents of the Westmount area have also responded furiously. 

Advocate Olaf Blakeley, spokesperson for the group, told Express: “My position is that the preferred access route is the wrong route, and if States Members had all the information before them, then I am confident that a majority of them would agree. 

“What Senator Farnham is attempting to do is deprive people of seeing the necessary information to make an informed decision about the access route.”


Pictured: Westmount resident Advocate Olaf Blakeley accused the Deputy Chief Minister of attempting to "blindfold" States Members and said his actions ran contrary to proper democratic process.

He continued: “Firstly, he is refusing point blank to provide any schematics or diagrams in respect of what States Members are being asked to agree.

“Secondly, it has now moved the debate to deprive States Members of the time to get their own information. 

“It smacks of panic by Senator Farnham. They had initially set the debate for 9 February. What possible difference could it make for ministers? It makes none. But it makes a big difference for those looking for more information before voting.

“The only reason that Scrutiny asked for a delay to 2 March was to get the information that he has failed to provide. Senator Farnham is the cause of the delay. 

"Now that the road and the hospital will be part of the same planning application, there is no rush now. Senator Farnham does not need the access route to start work on the hospital.”

In a statement issued this evening, Senator Farnham further justified his decision to requisition an urgent meeting: "The States have so far wasted eight years and considerable sums of money by failing at all previous attempts to deliver a new hospital. 

"The timeline and impetus which is driving the project is determined by our ageing and decaying health estate and the unsustainable cost of maintaining it past 2026. This is why there can be no further delay.

“Islanders want us to get on and deliver a new hospital and, regrettably, we have got to the point where we have to take action to ensure the project can move ahead. The latest amendment from Scrutiny seeks even more unnecessary delay and puts the whole project at risk.” 


Politicians to vote on £15m hospital road plan...without knowing what it will look like

Gov 'putting a gun to politicians heads' over hospital decisions

Hospital delays prompt single 'all or nothing' planning application

Push to protect green space around future hospital 'highway'

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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 Peter Garrett on
This stinks
Posted by Christine Dukes on
Slippery isn’t the word. This is a blatant manipulation of the truth and an attempt to rush things through without any proper Scrutiny or planning. States of Jersey you need to wake up.
Posted by L Brindle on
Who gave Lyndon the keys to the government steamroller?
Posted by Paul Troalic on
Everyone including fellow politicians and the general public is being hoodwinked in this very devious saga.
Surely there must be someone that will wise up to what is going on.
Overdale is absolutely not the most perfect place for the new hospital and before further money, and we are talking millions not pennies, is wasted someone needs to listen to common sense.You cannot make a silk purse out of a sows ear no matter how you try.
Lies will eventually find you out and by that time the damage will have been done.
We can only hope that someone bangs a few heads together before too long.
Posted by Richard Milner of leeds on
Mr Farnham appears to be trying to force this through. Almost behaving like a spoilt child. Access drawings need to be produced for everyone to see along with details of what bits of People’s Park are going to disappear.
It would also be useful to know if what Sir Peter Bailache says in today’s JEP is correct. That this road, costing £40m, is only really needed for construction.
Posted by Dave Mathews on
For goodness sake, can't the States just get on with building it?
This has dragged on for far too long.
Posted by Mike Pitman on
Is it any wonder that people no longer have respect for the States? There is something we are not being told about this whole saga and I'm afraid that whatever it is seems to be driving Sen Farnham to the exclusion of any common sense.
Posted by Mike Pitman on
Incidentally the picture above of the perimeter of the People's Park doesn't show the full horror of the destruction up Westmount itself!
Posted by on
Richard Milner, yes that is correct.
Posted by nigel pearce on
Mike Pitman: It’s not only this that we’re not being given the information about.
Why was St. Saviour’s Hospital site rejected out of hand. Why was Cyril Le Marquand House emptied. Why was a lease taken out in Broad Street unnecessarily? Just a few for starters.
Posted by Rodney Marett on
In case some of our States Members have forgotten they were in 2018 advised of how you start to
build a new hospital . You firstly must have some idea of where the hospital site is to be , on flat fields or on a hillside . Thereafter you should be aware of the requirements of the population .
In 2018 the then Hospital Committee were advised that they should look at the public details of a new hospital that had just been completed in Canada , also that all the required information was available by logging onto Kelowna Hospital , 2266 Pandosy Street , Kelowna , BC Canada . The free information included the following , the Project Summary , Design and Construction Issues , Project Management issues , Design Philosophy , Comprehensive Master Plan showing the full plans and facilities plus the list of treatments offered . This together with the detail of the private clinics to assist toward the overall running costs . Also within the site area were staff training units and accommodation units . This information of some 140 pages is still available on the internet and I suggest the Public have a look at it as this has been ignored by our States Members . AS regards the site I would suggest the only suitable areas are Warwick Farm and my preferred site of the West Hill Hotel which is twice as large as Overdale . In any case what sort of Government would want to build a Hospital next door and overlooking the Crematorium . Having visited Canada for over 40 years I can assure you they do not make errors on their projects . The Quennevais School design and projects team were thankful for the previous information free information given on school designs and it may be they should have been in charge of the hospital project .
Rodney Marett .
Posted by The old git Git on
Rodney that is well put.
Warwick farm is obviously the best option and more accessible without the destruction of the park.
Posted by Scott Mills on
was decided last feb/mar, why the need for the huge sub station at the beginning of inner road...
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