MORE properties along Kensington Place could be bought by the government as it looks to ‘maximise the footprint’ of the hospital, it has emerged.
The government is already looking to make a £16m purchase of land – the now-cleared site of the former Stafford and Revere Hotels – owned by Andium Homes, which the social housing provider had previously bought for £7.8m with the intention of developing more than 300 homes there.
However, answering questions from the Future Hospital Review Panel recently, Infrastructure Minister Deputy Tom Binet said that the government was ‘now looking at properties at either end of Kensington Place to see if we can get a larger footprint’.
Deputy Binet added that the ‘energy centre that sits right in the middle of the [Kensington Place] site’ is one of the main problems with the area.
However, the minister explained: ‘We are now looking at properties at either end of Kensington Place to see if we can get a larger footprint, and if we are able to do that then we obviously need planning permission to move the energy centre as far out the way as we can so it is well situated going forward and we have maximised the footprint for the section that is going to go on Kensington Place.’
Deputy Binet went on to explain that ‘once the whole of Gloucester Street is decanted, the Kensington Place section will be designed in such a way as that where the Gwyneth Huelin Wing sits at the moment’.
‘Whatever other facilities that may be needed can be bolted on as an L-shape into the back of that situation,’ he added.
Deputy Binet described this part of the multi-site hospital plan as ‘phase 2B’, explaining that it is one of the reasons why the project will take until 2031 to be completed.
While the previous £800m plan to build a ‘health campus’ at Overdale has now been scrapped, the current government is still looking to build some new health facilities there.
The minister explained that, due to Overdale’s existing planning permit, ‘it is going to be much easier to start building something and complete it up at Overdale than it will be in Kensington Place’.
The original Overdale plan was torn up after a £30,000 review led by the Infrastructure Minister concluded that a multi-site solution would be more ‘appropriate’.
A ‘phased option delivered over two or more sites’ – primarily at Overdale and Gloucester Street/Kensington Place, where work on homes was halted in anticipation over summer – would provide the ‘best opportunity to make the scheme more affordable and appropriate’, the report said.
Earlier this month, Deputy Binet confirmed that work to develop the ‘Delivering New Healthcare Facilities’ scheme will continue for the rest of 2023, using £51m in funding from the current Government Plan.
This includes £28.5m for the development of the ‘revised’ multi-site scheme, £16m for the purchase of Kensington Place, and £7m for the completion of the Enid Quénault Health and Wellbeing Centre at the former Les Quennevais School site.
The funding would result, he added, in a detailed scheme being presented to States Members as part of the Government Plan for 2024-27 in December of this year, as well as a planning application at around the same time.