Future hospital plan: Take 2

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The new plans come after an application to build the new facility on the existing site was rejected by Environment Minister Steve Luce in January due to the size and scale of the proposals.

However, Health Minister Andrew Green said yesterday that the new application ‘ticks all the boxes’ and also addresses the concerns which were raised by a UK independent planning inspector who recommended the previous plans be refused following a public inquiry.

Meanwhile, Infrastructure Minister Eddie Noel said the revised plans still remain within the £466 million budget approved by the States in December and that the hospital is still expected to be fully operational by 2024.

The new planning application is due to be submitted next month and it is envisaged that another public inquiry into the proposals will be held in September with a decision being made by the Environment Minister a month later. If approved, the facility will be built in stages with the first block expected to be functional by 2022.

Senator Green said: ‘The planning inspector’s report was a catalyst for us to ensure that our revised plans not only provided a modern first-rate hospital in St Helier, which is still the right place for it, but also that we properly addressed people’s valid concerns about the size and visual impact of the building. I’m delighted that the revised plans pass both tests.’

When asked if the hospital is still on track to be completed by 2024 despite the setbacks the project has faced, Senator Green said: ‘We have not delayed in our programme of work. We are about to appoint a main contractor. I can’t say who it is yet but our preferred contractor is a consortium of an international hospital builder and a local company.’

So what’s different?

The revised plans significantly reduce the height of the building but by building it on a wider footprint the facility can still be 50,000 square metres.

According to the proposals, the maximum height of the new building will be lower than the height of the 1980s block.

It is proposed that a three-storey base with more storeys – reaching up to six – set back from the site be built. In comparison, the first application proposed a nine-storey building.

Kieren Morgan, architect with Hassell Studio, said: ‘The scale of the building is something that works better with the granite building. It is more appropriate in height and mass.’

For the initial plans, the Revere and Stafford Hotels as well as a 14-flat apartment block and four retail units would have been demolished to make way for the facility. Although these buildings will still be pulled down there are no plans to acquire any further sites. Instead the wider footprint will encroach further on the existing Hospital site, which had initially been set aside as it would make a suitable place to build a new hospital in the future.

‘It uses up more of the existing site which means we don’t have an automatic relocation site in 100 years’ time,’ Deputy Noel said. ‘But by then who knows what healthcare will look like?’

Meanwhile, it is proposed that only one extra half-storey will be added to Patriotic Street Car Park rather than two. This will create about 58 spaces.

What are the stages of building work?

Block A, which will be built first, will house day surgery as well as the endoscopy, orthopaedic, ear nose and throat, ophthalmology, pharmacy, pathology and renal departments.

The future hospital team hope that work to clear land in Kensington Place will begin later this year and that this section of the hospital will be operational by 2022.

Meanwhile, outpatient facilities – cardiac, respiratory, dermatology, physiotherapy and clinical investigations – will be moved from the Hospital to Westaway Court, which is based across Parade Gardens.

Work on Block B is due to begin in 2022. This main building will house the emergency department as well as radiology, maternity, gynaecology, children’s, main theatres and critical care departments.

Block B is expected to be completed by 2024 and the building will be link seamlessly to Block A.

The last stage of the project will be to build an entrance to the building, which will face onto Parade Gardens.

Once the new hospital is open, the granite block will be refurbished.

For more information log on to futurehospital.je.

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