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New Hospital: Compulsory Purchase Process Paused

The outgoing Chief Minister will allow the next government to decide whether to complete the compulsory purchase of St Helier land needed for the new hospital project.

The Constable of St Helier asked for the process to be paused, so parishioners could consider the current government's offer and to allow the next Council of Ministers to decide whether the forced sale should proceed.

A Parish Assembly is due to take place on Wednesday 13 July.

The Parish received notice of the government's £5.2m offer of compensation on the day before last week's election.

The notice gave eight days in which to respond.

The timing has been criticised by incoming Deputy Philip Ozouf, who said it was wrong to issue the notices during an election period and before the new States Assembly is formed.

Constable Simon Crowcroft then wrote a letter to John Le Fondre asking for more time to consider the offers and respond appropriately.

Mr. Le Fondre, who failed to get re-elected last week, says as the Acting Environment Minister, he is not minded to issue the final notice and it will be one for the new Minister to determine.

"As you will be aware, to date, no land or property has been bought for the hospital project through compulsory purchase. Most of the land required for the new hospital has already been acquired through negotiation. I would hope that the Parish land could also be completed through negotiation which has always been the preferred route.

For completeness, as has been previously stated, a rule of thumb estimate for delaying the project has been estimated at C.£100,000 per day (ie., approximately £36.5million per year). Furthermore, any cancellation in the project will require a new States decision and a recognition that the potential loss to the taxpayer of the only scheme to have planning permission will be many more tens of millions of pounds (in abortive costs as well as the cost of a new application, which based on past experience is likely to be a very significant sum of money).

This, therefore, demonstrates why such decisions have been taken, with the public interest very clearly in mind."

Speaking to Channel 103 last week - outgoing Assistant Environment Minister Gregory Guida defended the decision to approve the compulsory purchase notices, saying he was told by the States Assembly to do this after they approved Overdale as the chosen site in November 2020.

"It's a little bit upsetting to see this. When I signed this, none of them had been elected."

The offer of £5.2m is more than £1m less than the one rejected by a St Helier Parish Assembly in December 2021.

The latest package also excludes the previous offer of a land swap involving the Bowling Club, which would essentially end the century-old relationship between the club and parish.

The Chief Minister also confirms in his letter that work is due to start on the old Les Quennevais School site.

Overdale health services are set to move into a transformed temporary medical facility while the new hospital is being built.

"The project has always identified this site as the decant solution for Overdale and following the obtaining of planning permission, contracts have been exchanged. You will recall from your time on the Regeneration Steering Group (RSG) that we have agreed to ensure proper consultation takes place with the Parish of St Brelade over the long-term future of the site.

It was my anticipation that this would form a significant focus for the next RSG, such that construction could be ready to start on that site for a housing and community scheme (for example), as soon as Overdale has been completed."

The next Chief Minister will be chosen on Tuesday 5 July, with the winning candidate's team formed the following week.

You can read the current Chief Minister's full letter to Constable Crowcroft below.

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