Overdale has been announced as the Government’s preferred site for the future hospital.
Deputy Chief Minister Senator Lyndon Farnham confirmed the decision in a statement delivered to the States Assembly this morning.
Overdale, which had long been rumoured to be the Chief Minister's preferred site, had been on a shortlist with People’s Park.
Explaining the decision, Senator Farnham said that Ministers and the Political Oversight Group leading the hospital project came to several conclusions backing their decision:
Facing questions from States Members following the announcement, Senator Farnham said that the cost of building at Overdale would be around £550m compared to £523m for People's Park.
He also shared that the Government would need to acquire several sites it does not already own, and that compulsory purchase may need to be used.
Pictured: Senator Lyndon Farnham, who made the announcement this morning.
Deputy Kirsten Morel, who described Overdale's selection as the "least surprising announcement of 2020", asked why cost hadn't appeared to factor into the decision-making process, noting that the Government "always has a responsibility to the public purse."
Senator Farnham replied that it was important not to "mix up cost with value", adding: "The cheapest option is not always the best option."
Responding to a query from Deputy Louise Doublet about the protection of Le Val André, the woodland beneath Overdale, Senator Farnham confirmed that the plan was not to build upon the green area.
He added that he would like improved access to the area - something that could be a "tremendous feature" - and that he was in discussions with the Constable of St. Helier, Simon Crowcroft, about developing it as a "country park" in the Parish.
While the Constable welcomed the decision to take People's Park off the shortlist and protect the woodland, he raised concerns about the future of the Jersey Bowling Club, which will have to move to accommodate road improvements.
Pictured: Le Val André.
To this, the Deputy Chief Minister committed to work "closely" with the club to find an alternative site.
Deputy Graham Truscott asked to what extent the carbon footprint of each site had factored into the selection process.
Senator Farnham said that he anticipated "great opportunities" around the provision of new transport networks.
In response to questions from Deputy Kevin Pamplin, the Senator confirmed that it was still the intention for the single site to house all health needs - including mental health.
With Overdale having been rejected during the previous site selection process, Deputy Pamplin later queried, "What's changed?"
"I think in the past, Sir, quite simply possibly with the best intentions, politicians have allowed themselves to be impacted by indecision and the quests for perfect sites are the enemies of good sites and we’ve ended up with nothing," the Deputy Chief Minister replied.
While many States Members appeared to welcome the decision, former Environment Minister Deputy Steve Luce commented: "I do not share [Senator Farnham's] enthusiasm for the site."
He went on to describe Overdale as "not the best" from a planning, highways, clinical adjacencies and environmental perspective, adding: "...and I'm appalled to hear that he is considering building car parks on green fields."
Responding, Senator Farnham said it would be "impossible to find a site that everybody agrees with", noting that even some Ministers favoured People's Park as an option.
"There is no perfect site in Jersey for this hospital," he went on to say, later adding: "Those are hard truths which we are going to have to overcome."
A report explaining the decision-making process has now been published alongside a proposition asking States Members to approve the site. They are scheduled to vote on it in November.
If the plan passes, the Government is hoping to decide how to fund the project by mid-2021, gain planning permission and start building in Spring 2022, complete construction in late 2025, and start accepting the first patients in 2026.
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