The Constable of St. Lawrence has made an official push to get Millbrook playing field off the hospital site shortlist.
The site, which belongs to the descendants of Florence Boot, currently houses the Nightingale Wing.
But it’s now in the running to host a medical facility permanently, having been placed on the shortlist of five sites for the new hospital.
Having previously voiced her opposition, St. Lawrence Deputy Deirdre Mezbourian has now published proposals to knock it off the shortlist which will be voted on by politicians in September.
In a report accompanying her proposals, the Constable explains that the area is “the last open green space from West Park to beyond Beaumont and its designation of Protected Open Space within the Island Plan gives it, I understand, the highest level of protection against development."
Pictured: The site currently houses the hospital's Nightingale Wing.
“The importance and value to us all of open green space cannot be over emphasised, be that within our town or, as in this case, within our suburbs,” she said.
She also noted that the Citizens’ Panel – a group of islanders responsible for drawing up criteria for the hospital site shortlist – acknowledged the “detrimental impact the hospital would have, particularly on the historic and built character of the area.”
Not only would building there mean the loss of green space, according to the Constable, but it would also be likely to spell the end for Listed buildings in the area, such as St. Matthew’s Church (the Glass Church).
She further added that losing the area would put a stop to charity car boot sales and sporting activities in the area, and also pose a challenge for the Jersey Battle of Flowers.
“Correspondence from the Jersey Battle of Flowers Association strongly objects to losing the Millbrook Playing Fields as it would have a significant effect on the Battle which, as we know, annually attracts nearly 20,000 spectators (many of whom are tourists), as well as involving thousands of local volunteers and participants,” Constable Mezbourian explained.
“Put simply, the Battle of Flowers Association believes that the loss to them of Millbrook Playing Fields would mean that they would have to significantly scale back the Battle of Flowers (which would make it unviable) or cancel it altogether.”
She is the second Constable to launch a bid to protect parish land from having the future hospital built on it.
Last month, St. Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft put forward proposals to remove People’s Park and St. Andrew’s Park from the final five.
The former had already been rejected as a possible site following a States Assembly vote last year, while St. Andrew’s Park is the home of a church, children’s play area and historic dolmen.
Speaking to Express, Constable Crowcroft went so far as to suggest that officials had listed sites they already knew would not be met with approval by the States Assembly or public as part of a “cynical ploy” to narrow the list to their favoured zones.
If both Constables succeed in getting their parish green spots thrown off the shortlist, it will be narrowed down to fields north of Five Oaks and Overdale – the latter of which is long-rumoured to be the Chief Minister’s preferred location.
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