The Government is holding off making a decision on the future of the old Les Quennevais School until planning consent is given for the new hospital.
The former school on the edge of Les Quennevais Park has been earmarked for housing – but a firm decision on its future is being delayed until the future of the Our Hospital Project is clear.
Ministers are also holding off taking out a £756m bond to pay for the £804.5m hospital until planning permission is confirmed.
The school already has planning permission to house medical services currently delivered at Overdale while the new hospital is built on Westmount. It is expected that the transformation of the building into an outpatients’ centre will cost £15m.
The Government’s decision to hold off deciding the old school’s fate was confirmed in an answer to a recent formal question to the Government posed by Deputy Montfort Tadier, who asked Infrastructure Minister Kevin Lewis if he could “indicate the length of time it is currently anticipated the old Les Quennevais School site will be utilised for healthcare services; and advise what other plans, if any, the current Government has for the site?”
Pictured: The recommendation of an independent planning inspector is due to be sent to the Environment Minister next week.
The Minister replied: “The school site is inextricably linked to the Our Hospital project and healthcare use will cease when the new hospital is completed.
“There are a number of aspirations for the subsequent use of the school site, not least of which is residential development.
“Any decision will be taken in consultation with the Parish however, until the outcome of the Our Hospital planning process is known, and the dependencies are understood, this planning process cannot commence.”
The Government is awaiting the decision of an independent planning inquiry into the proposed new hospital at Overdale. Inspector Philip Staddon, who chaired five days of public hearings at the beginning of last month, is due to make a recommendation to Environment Minister John Young by next Friday.
Last week, Deputy Young asked the Assembly to make a decision on whether he should be allowed to make a decision on the application, as it would be within the ‘purdah’ period before the 22 June election.
However, Members voted not to allow the minister to hold that debate, with most politicians arguing that it was the minister’s responsibility to decide on planning applications, and this one was no different.
Deputy Young is not standing for re-election next month.
The Government say that Overdale is the best site for a new hospital; others, however, argue that Westmount is the wrong place for a building of the proposed size and scale.
Recently, retiring Treasury Minister Susie Pinel said that her preferred option was dividing the hospital between two sites.
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