Jersey ministers have rejected a second attempt by Hassell to rebuild a hospital on the island, despite a planning inspector declaring it ‘far superior to the first scheme’
The government has thrown out the practice’s ’calmer, more sophisticated’ proposals to redevelop Jersey General Hospital a year after refusing permission for an earlier version of the same project in early 2018.
Planning inspector Philip Staddon said he had to recommend refusal of the latest plans by strict criteria set out in the Island Plan, which sets out the planning policy for Jersey, though he added that the law allowed ministers to override these rules for the public good.
‘There can be little doubt that providing a much-needed new hospital to serve Jersey’s population could provide such a public interest justification,’ he said.
‘It is not appropriate for a planning inspector to make that assessment … what I can say is that the current scheme is far superior to the first. The applicant’s team has worked hard to produce a calmer, more sophisticated and refined proposal.’
Nonetheless environment minister John Young turned the revised scheme down.
A decision notice said: ‘The minister was unable to conclude that there existed an overriding public interest benefit which provides sufficient justification for making a decision which is inconsistent with the Island Plan.’
Staddon said there would be ‘tangible negative impacts’ on certain townscapes and views under the latest proposal, some of which would be ‘dramatic and adverse’.
He added that the scheme would cause harm to the settings of listed buildings on Kensington Place, Edward Place and beyond.
Adverse impacts on existing residential amenities would include ‘exceptionally severe’ reductions in daylight to some nearby homes, said the inspector.
Young said he had faced a ‘challenging’ decision. ‘I have reluctantly refused this application. As concluded by the inspector, I believe this application site is not quite large enough to comfortably accommodate the proposed scheme. A different application may overcome these issues.’
The scheme would have seen demolition of swathes of the existing hospital on the site in St Helier along with two hotels and other buildings. A part new build, part refurbishment project – expected to cost about £450 million, including land and infrastructure – would have created a modernised facility.
Hassell declined to comment.
Hassell’s earlier proposals for Jersey General Hospital