The planning application for the island’s future hospital has been rejected by the Environment Minister over the sheer size of the development.
Today’s decision follows the release of the long awaited report by an independent inspector following a public inquiry in November.
The Environment Minister, Deputy Steve Luce, outlined some of the findings that caused the inspector, Philip Staddon, concern. He said that he shared Mr Staddon's concerns, and couldn’t ignore them.
Pictured: Deputy Steve Luce, the Environment Minister, and Andy Scate, the Department's Chief Officer.
Speaking at Howard Davis Farm to a mix of journalists, politicians and interested parties, Deputy Luce said the inspector's report found that the proposed development was "grossly out of scale of the immediate surroundings."
"It will certainly be visible, of which the effect will be over-dominent, intrusive and alien - and I cannot ignore his opinion. (...) The challenges of scale and mass cannot be finessed away through clever design at a later date.
“The words dramatic, serious and detrimental has been used a number of times (in the report) as well as stark, out of scale, significant and severe. These are serious words (...) therefore I have decided this application to be refused," he said.
I’m disappointed the outline planning application for a new hospital has not been approved. The independent inspector agreed it was the right location, but the proposed site was too small for the size of the building needed. I will take time to study the report & plan next steps.— Senator Andrew Green (@andrewgreenjsy) January 9, 2018
The report did conclude, however, that the proposed site of the current General Hospital, which was voted by the States Assembly, is appropriate. It also stated that transport to the area is well served and will be better in future.
The inspector didn’t think the challenges surrounding the demolition of a number of properties along Kensington Place - including hotels and parts of the hospital - was enough of a reason to object the application.
Addressing the the design of the £466 million development, Deputy Luce explained: "My view, and shared by the inspector, has been that the plan has been led by clinicians and not by designers. Although their input is a great need, the size and design cannot be directed by them as planning issues will arise."
Pictured: The development was described as being "grossly out of scale" with its surroundings.
The Environment Minister feels the planning application would have been better if the development was wider and deeper - he mentioned that it only included one basement level, and not made use of the 1960’s and 1980’s blocks - rather than high, due to the negative impact it will have on the St. Helier townscape, protected heritage assets, and lives of those in the area.
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.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.