PARTS of the plans for the new hospital at Overdale are vague and it appears that project teams ‘rushed’ to submit a planning application, the St Helier Roads Committee has said.
The panel, which acts as the parish’s highways authority, made the comments in an official consultation document, in which it described some aspects of the proposals as too ‘non-committal’.
Their report followed a meeting of the committee last week which was specially convened to consider the plans and formulate a response.
The committee’s consultation document said: ‘[The] committee does not support the application as it noted, within various reports submitted by the applicant, that there seems to be vagueness in some of the comments made, where improvements have been aspired to be delivered but are subject to further design, input, consultation/negotiations and research.
‘The committee feels that the applicant should have submitted a definitive application and not left some of the proposed improvements vague, which seems to imply that the applicant rushed to submit the application before the end of 2021 without undertaking a full assessment, as should have been done.’
Elsewhere within the response, it is claimed that if the planning application was approved in its current form there would be no onus on the applicant to deliver on some items which the project team, they allege, say may require further work.
‘Therefore, the committee requests that it is made conditional via a planning obligation agreement, or similar legal-binding contract, that all the aspirations and proposals that are claimed to require further design input or consultation must be investigated and commitment given.
‘If delivery is not achievable, then alternatives need to be provided and agreed with the relevant highway authorities. All outstanding items that require additional work are to be finalised prior to any physical work commencing on site.’
The committee also raised concerns about a proposed travel plan for the site, claiming that in order to ensure that it could be delivered, a travel-plan co-ordinator would need to be hired. A co-ordinator, the panel says, could be tasked with ensuring targets were being met and providing proof.
During the committee meeting it was reported that St Helier’s town centre manager, Connor Burgher, was concerned about the viability of events going ahead in the People’s Park during and after the building process for the new hospital.
This was highlighted in the committee’s consultation document, which said: ‘The development must not hinder or impact on the parish’s ability to continue to use the People’s Park, Victoria Park and Lower Park for whatever event the parish feels fit to hold there.’
A spokesperson for the Our Hospital project said: ‘Full consideration of all of the public representations are being made and will be addressed at the appropriate stage of the Our Hospital planning application process.’