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Jersey planners reject Hassell hospital plan over ‘significant negative impacts’

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Hassell will work up revised plans for the redevelopment of the Jersey General Hospital after an initial planning application was thrown out

Last week, the island’s environment minister, Steve Luce, accepted the conclusion of a planning inspector that the proposed design was unsuitable for the site in St Helier.

A spokesman for the States of Jersey said that its design team, led by Hassell, will amend the scheme in line with feedback from the planning inspector.

He said: ‘It is being looked again by the project team and designers with a view to a new application. There are no plans to change that team.’

Hassell was appointed in 2014 to oversee design on the redeveloped hospital and a new ambulance facility. The scheme is estimated to cost about £466 million.

However, planning inspector Philip Staddon was damning in his assessment of the planning application submitted last year.

His report said that, although the site was suitable for a new hospital, this factor was ‘outweighed by the significant negative impacts that arise in terms of townscape, visual amenity, the settings of heritage assets and the severe and unreasonable impacts on existing residential amenities’.

In a section on the design of the proposed new facility, he said: ‘Put simply, the application site area is far too small to accommodate successfully the amount of floor space proposed.

‘The parametric “design” that results is fundamentally unacceptable in townscape and urban design terms.

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‘I consider that these are not matters that can be finessed away by clever design at the detailed planning (reserved matters) stage.’

He added that the plan failed to pay enough attention to opportunities for wider regeneration in the surrounding area.

Announcing his decision, Luce said: ‘I have reluctantly reached the conclusion that I have to accept the inspector’s recommendation and turn down this application.

‘This has been a very difficult decision. I’m conscious that Jersey needs this new hospital, and that an enormous amount of work has gone into this application. Looking to the future, the inspector offers support for the view that this is a suitable site for a new hospital – but not with these particular constraints and scope.’

Hassell declined to comment on the scheme or the minister’s decision.

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