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Politicians push back on earlier Overdale road access vote

Politicians push back on earlier Overdale road access vote

Thursday 17 December 2020

Politicians push back on earlier Overdale road access vote

Thursday 17 December 2020

Scrutineers are pushing back on a bid by Ministers to force a vote on whether a widened Westmount Road should be the main way to access the £800m new hospital next week.

Only published on Tuesday, the Government's proposal for their preferred Overdale access route was originally scheduled to be debated by States Members next February.

However, Future Hospital Review Panel Chair Senator Kristina Moore said her panel had become aware of plans to bring the debate forward, potentially to as soon as next week.

In a letter to the Chief Minister, she wrote: “If this is the intention, we write to express our disappointment of the impossible position in which we find ourselves; with no time do any meaningful scrutiny, should the States agree to a shortened lodging period.” 


Pictured: Senator Kristina Moore said voting on the plans next week would not allow enough time for them to be properly scrutinised.

She continued: “We are aware of the need for urgency around this issue in order to provide assurance to homeowners who wish to buy or sell their property. However, we would respectfully point out that the final date for property transactions within the Royal Court is 18th December which would not allow sufficient time for those homeowners to complete their transactions should the debate take place next week. 

“It is extremely important to allow scrutiny enough time to undertake a review on this matter, particularly given the highly politicised topic. Please could you confirm, by the end of today, whether the 6 week lodging period will be maintained in order to afford us sufficient time to conduct our review.”

The Government did not confirm the date Ministers were hoping to hold the debate when contacted by Express.

A spokesperson added, however: “Further information will be available in the letter in response to Senator Moore. Additionally, there is a briefing for States Members on the Hospital Access Route on Friday 18 December, which will provide an opportunity for Ministers to discuss a preferred date for a requisitioned sitting with States Members.”

Ministers were forced to lay out their plan for access routes to Overdale thanks to Constable Simon Crowcroft.

 Pictured: Westmount Road will have to be widened to allow construction vehicles to access the site.

As politicians voted to approve Overdale as the preferred hospital site last month, the Constable succeeded in bringing an amendment for a report to be officially presented to the States Assembly laying out alternatives to a widened Westmount Road being the main access to the hospital, including creating a one-way system up that hill. He had previously attended meetings held by residents living in the area who were concerned about the disruption that would be caused to them, and the impact on the value of their homes.

Under Ministers' plans, which are detailed in a report accompanying their recent proposition, Westmount Road will be kept as a two-way.

The report said that it was their preference because it did not compromise the Emergency Services' ability to access the hospital, and that it provided the most opportunities for promoting sustainable transport solutions.

Queen's Road was discounted due to having too many "pinch points" for heavy goods vehicles, which will be used to transport construction materials, Tower Road was found to be overly narrow, and St. Aubin's Road would have led to the loss of George V Cottage Homes, the report said.

It also noted that the proposed option would involve lower ancillary construction costs, as it wouldn't involve the complex ecological and engineering challenges associated with Le Val André. 

The report also addressed some supplementary access options - such as a funicular suggested by a group of local architects, who told Express it would provide "a fun and sustainable" transport option as well as a potential tourist attraction.


Pictured: Local architects suggested creating a funicular.

However, the idea did not find favour with Ministers, who described the idea of a cable car system or funicular railway as "very appealing in principle", but "impractical as part of a hospital design", going on to explain that such routes would be difficult to implement, costly and could disrupt the timeline for building a new hospital.

In their concluding remarks, Ministers also stressed in their proposal that they did not wish to open a fresh debate around the access route.

"Over the years, there has been significant public debate over the site of a new hospital. We are now in a position that the Assembly has supported a preferred site that has a ground swell of support from Islanders. The vocal detractors are in the minority," they said.

"It is important that we do not create a new debate about access that could ultimately undermine the delivery of Our Hospital at Overdale and this Proposition provides an opportunity to mitigate this risk."

Even if the proposal passes, plans to widen Westmount Road will also have to be approved by the Planning Department, as will the overall future hospital design.

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Posted by on
It is unbelievable that they are unwilling to even discuss the basics of this project such as how are you going to get there and park.

Access should have been the first priority not the last, this is another debacle exactly the same as the police station. What is going to happen on a winter's night when the hills are covered in snow and ice, and the ambulances are not able to get up the hills that surround the hospital?

Overdale is not the place for a new hospital there are so many things wrong with the location it is pure madness to put it in such an awkward position to get to.

People who attend a hospital are sick, the last thing they need is extra stress from the hospital being in the wrong place with bad access. Least of all is going to be the lack of beds, which is being cut not increased to cater for a growing population and old age.

This project should be stopped immediately and a fully independent investigation started as to why it was chosen as the only option.
Posted by Peter Huntingdon Bewers on
As the New Hospital is not only the biggest but the most expensive project Jersey has to face at a very difficult time it is very important that the Government and us the People get it right. Overdale is a possible site ,but with serious access problems so other sites must be considered.I agree with Senator Kristina Moore ,and she must be given an opportunity to do her job.
Posted by The old git Git on
Well, I hope they have thought about the winter with possible snow and ice on those tight bends on Westmount Road. Even Tower Road is dodgy in the winter.
Posted by Denise Shrives on
It is utterly stupid now to keep considering Overdale for a new hospital as access for Ambulances should not rob folk of there homes etc. What is wrong with Warwick Farm ? I have looked on Google Maps and am astounded by how many fields are around there - so easy to make new roads in and out and no houses would need to be knocked down or a much loved and needed bowling club. What exactly is the problem with Warwick Farm ?
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