The latest images of the potential design of the new hospital at Overdale have emerged, showing how plans are changing as the designers try and deal with problems in what was originally conceived.
When the States Assembly selected Overdale as their preferred location in November, they did so on the basis of a report accompanied by a number of simple sketches of what the building might look like, accepting that the planning process would confirm the details.
While lacking detail, the report suggested that the hospital would sit on one side of Westmount Road, with a car park to be constructed on the field on the other side.
Pictured: Original concept images for Overdale, which were included in a report prepared for States Members.
But now the frontrunner idea appears to be one that would have the hospital cut across the current road, with a new road potentially due to be created that would bend around the new building or an underpass feature.
Presented to attendees at a virtual neighbourhood forum this week, the concept was the result of Lead Designer Llewelyn Davies’ efforts to resolve a number of planning, policy and spatial challenges arising from building at the chosen Overdale site.
They originally looked at four options, labelled A to D.
While A to C showed the hospital only on one side of Westmount Road, D placed the structure further away from Le Val André and across it.
At a neighbourhood forum held last month, Mr Featherstone was clear that no firm decisions had been made about which was the preferred option in response to a challenge from an attendee who noted that D was the only design he hadn't expressed reservations about.
Pictured: Option D was born out of an evolving design process aiming to overcome different policy and planning challenges, Mr Featherstone said.
He admitted, however, that they were “moving away” from the “finger scheme”, Option A – the one presented in a report to States Members before they voted on whether to approve Overdale as the site of the future hospital.
He also explained that Option D had come at the end of a process of design evolution, which is why it had fewer issues, but still raised questions of visual impact.
The key issue with the original "finger scheme" was that the front entrance would open directly onto the road. What was instead desired was a softer approach with “quality” public realm to create a more inviting atmosphere.
There were also concerns that the ‘fingers’ in the design – each being an inpatient ward – would break up the parkland behind the Overdale site.
Pictured: The original intention was to allow the wards - each presented as a 'finger' - to overlook Le Val André and St. Aubin's Bay.
In addition, the proximity between blocks may allow patients to see each other, presenting a privacy issue, and also leave little space for a quality therapeutic courtyard area between each.
Designers also expressed concerns about the merging of the public area of Le Val André, with the more private courtyard spaces.
Such confusion between the private and public areas – with the fringes becoming “no man’s land” – could lead to problems with littering and compromise the calming nature of the courtyards, they said.
They also said the inpatient wards would be taller than necessary under the designs, which could lead to higher heating and cooling costs.
While B was deemed as creating a better courtyard space, there were concerns about the distance heath staff would have to travel from one side of the building to the other, impacting their welfare and efficiency.
Pictured: Option B led to concerns about how easy it would be to get to one part of the building from the other.
C partially resolved this, but designers noted that it was one of the tallest of the options, standing at four storeys “or maybe more”.
There were also concerns about its “tightness” with the crematorium and nearby residential properties.
D, Mr Featherstone said, resolves the previous designs’ issues with spacing.
Shunted towards the field in front, the block – likely to be three storeys - would leave more of the green space behind Overdale untouched, with the potential to develop health-related walks through Le Val André.
Pictured: Option C could stand at four storeys or higher, while there were also concerns about its proximity to residential zones.
There would also be more of a “green buffer” between the hospital and residential properties, with a “well-landscaped” green space sitting to the left of the main entrance, from which patient transport services would operate.
Asked about the placement of the road at the January meeting, Mr Featherstone suggested said there was a possibility of bringing the building upwards over the road or have it pass through part of the building.
This week, however, a more refined version of the Option D design - called D2 - emerged at a public forum. It showed a new section of road looping around the front of the building.
Marked in light grey in the diagram, it appears to divert through a residential zone and marry up the main hospital site with the staff welfare and administration centre being planned on a field further north.
Pictured: Option D2 presented shows a new road looping around the front of the building and joining up with the C-shaped staff welfare and administration building in the north.
The Ministers leading the hospital project are yet to reveal their preferred design option.
The final concept design is scheduled for completion next month, with an overall Planning Application due to be submitted in September 2021, which will face a full Public Inquiry.
According to Project Manager Richard Bannister, the decision to undertake a single 'all or nothing' planning application was due to a keenness to avoid "delays".
The Government is aiming to start construction in April 2022.
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