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WATCH: “It is a behemoth, a monster, a juggernaut”

WATCH: “It is a behemoth, a monster, a juggernaut”

Wednesday 06 April 2022

WATCH: “It is a behemoth, a monster, a juggernaut”

Wednesday 06 April 2022


The proposed new hospital is a “visual intrusion” which is so enormous that it will irrevocably damage the island’s landscape and heritage, a heritage campaign group has told a public inquiry.

Save Jersey’s Heritage described the main building designed for Overdale as “a “behemoth, a monster and a juggernaut” that would “eyeball” Fort Regent from the town’s opposing escarpment.

The Our Hospital team disagreed, however, not only arguing that the building could become a landmark but also, from a heritage perspective, assessing its impact as “significant but moderate”.

Giving evidence on Day Three of a public inquiry into whether planning consent should be given, SJH chairman Christopher Schofield said that the main building, which is more than 31m high in some parts, would “harm its setting beyond repair” and had no link to its surroundings.

“This colossal structure could be an insecticide or car factory for all we know,” he said.

Video: Day Three of the public inquiry into the Our Hospital project focused on heritage and visual impact.

He said that visitors arriving at the Harbour, having already “winced” looking at the apartments above Portelet Bay, would be met by a “looming, uneasy juxtaposition” above St. Helier.

He conceded that mistakes had been made in the past, such as the incinerator, but these should be learned from rather than added to.

The Our Hospital team’s heritage adviser Steven Bee had earlier said the impact of the building on views from Elizabeth Castle and St. Aubin’s Fort were moderate because most people’s enjoyment of them was facing out to sea.

He added: “Views are inevitably impacted from the historic town of St Helier but because of the cumulative effect of existing development, the overall effect is minor and not of general significance.”

Mr Bee also highlighted plans to improve public understanding of the heritage of the area by building a new lookout, with interpretation boards, on the inside of the realigned hairpin of Westmount Road. 

Hospital Overdale Fort Regent.jpeg

CLICK TO ENLARGE: An impression of the view of the new hospital from Fort Regent.

This would include reference to the 1781 Battle of Jersey, as Major Francis Peirson had mustered troops on Westmount before descending on the Royal Square.

During the session, Planning’s heritage adviser Tracey Ingle expressed her view that the design did not comply with heritage-related policies in the Bridging Island Plan.

“I would suggest that, in heritage terms, the benefit to the public of this development is not clear, direct and evidenced,” she said.

Hospital main entrance Overdale.jpeg

CLICK TO ENLARGE: An impression of the main building’s main entrance off a realigned Westmount Road.

The public inquiry, which is being overseen by independent planning inspector Philip Staddon, continues until the end of this week.

Mr Staddon will then make a recommendation to Environment Minister John Young as to whether the Government’s planning application should be approved or not

READ MORE…

WATCH: Hospital architect admits design "challenges" planning policy

WATCH: Health staff highlight “urgent” need on first day of hospital inquiry

Pictured top: An artist’s impression of what the hospital main block will look like from Elizabeth Castle.

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Posted by Esporta Johnson on
The new hospital feature yesterday tried to make a point that health staff wholeheartedly supports the new, shiny Overdale hospital. I love when a chief nurse, a GP-director and a professor pose as ‘health staff’ - it is so modest of them. The key point to make in the debate is that for any local or regional hospital being built or recently completed anywhere in Europe or in the UK the cost stays below £1M or €1M per bed. I do not know any jurisdiction where politicians would have approved higher cost. If I am correct our new hospital on the hill was supposed to have fewer than 300 beds. It means that someone/ somehow will charge all of us £400M to £500M extra for that fabulous view. I am sure it is not Ill-intended and no one wants to pocket these extra millions or to offer them to selected friendly contractors. If we start from a principle of a reasonable cost then the location choice would be more easy to make. Let’s not believe that people will be dying as of December 2026 if we don’t have the new shiny hospital. Even if two candidates-doctors resigned because we don’t have a shiny new hospital it is OK, lots of doctors get successfully recruited every month despite the old hospital. Most of them are locums but it still counts. It is still time to stop this and to hold those who spent tens of millions of our money so far to account, to ensure none of them gets anywhere near to the process next time.
Posted by Scott Mills on
All about image in Jerey. from the haut de le G, to the hospital. Shiny things but do the mechanics behind the shell work.
Posted by MichaelEvans46 on
It is totally in the wrong place, all of the politicians keep ranting on about net carbon emissions well they will certainly go up when the main island hospital is at the top of a big hill! At the moment lots of people walk to the hospital which is easily accessible to a large majority of the population, put it up there and 99%+ of the population will have to use transport to get there including all the staff who now walk every day to work, not anymore, also patient transport will have to be at least doubled because of the access and useless public transport service in the island
Posted by Luis Carrasquinho on
It is with great sadness that I read the articles and comments about the new hospital as if it doesn’t get built it will be a statement of the political inability to provide quality of care and excellence and an affirmation of stubbornness of the jersey people as it isn’t the first time they don’t agree of the place of where to build it.
First of all, let’s address the elephant in the room: jersey population is accordingly to government estimates is about 107.800 people (https://www.gov.je/Government/JerseyInFigures/Population/pages/population.aspx). Considering that we have 219 beds and the average European average number on beds per 1000 habitants is 6.42, we don’t have to have a degree in maths or be a specialist in management to see that it simply isn’t enough. Then, as much as people might say that the staff just want to have a new hospital while this still works- let me just say that as a worker and as a user it just doesn’t: from the non existing parking spaces for users or staff, from the constant scientific developments that happened since the hospital was first built requiring new facilities, from the way it is physically organised- it is really not enough. And yes, some might say we can recruit locum drs (that have no perception of jersey people culture or needs as they won’t be staying)- that should be an indicator for how funcional the hospital is (not even going to comment about the amount of money jersey is spending to even get them here or other staff that the hospital just can’t staff… meaning that sooner or later we will have to close beds- but it’s the ugliness of it that apparently is a problem…
Finally, let’s just agree that wherever the hospital will be built it will never be perfect… people will never agree and they will complain- but we cannot live under the illusion that the hospital is still fit for purpose or that we will ever find a place that we will be spending less money on, will be an architectural wonder or will be cheap. But then one gets what one deserves and if that is what jersey is aiming for i really need to say is I fear to the future of the health of jersey population and for the continuous mental struggle that all the managers go through to practice safe care.
Posted by Scott Mills on
also no one has been able to tell me how much have they spent on the hospital so far?
Posted by Keith Marsh on
So much talk ~ not enough building
Get on with it.
Posted by Esporta Johnson on
Good point made by Luis - we don’t have enough beds. The original published business plan for the new hospital from 2019 included projected future need (peak) of close to 600 beds mostly due to ageing of the increasing population. I believe for some reason the currently planned Overdale project will have fewer than 300 beds - combined with the huge price tag of £800M (or £1.4 Billion including interest, possibly more given unpredictable future interest rates) it gives very high cost per bed, more than twice the cost of similar projects elsewhere. One can say - so what, we can afford it, let’s start building. But… These fewer than 300 beds might fail to deliver proper care to the very islanders paying the super high bill. The hospital does not have to look glamorous. It is more important that it offers the latest technologies (eg cathlab) and most important is the quality of staff treating us. I would personally opt for an average-look highly functional new hospital on a well accessible flat terrain, and spend the saved £400M or so on world class doctors and nurses, on high quality, accountable managers and invest in the latest technologies and medicines. Imagine we have this enormous statement of wealth new hospital and cannot afford to finance the rest?
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