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Order On Election Week To Buy Hospital Land 'Wrong'

A compulsory purchase order signed last week and served on the Parish of St Helier regarding land for the new hospital project has been called 'wrong' by a returning member to the States Assembly.

The government was given the power to do that in the vote to approve Overdale as the new hospital site in November 2020, but there is criticism at the timing of this order - given it was made during an election period.

Deputy Philip Ozouf says members of the Jersey Alliance Party, who didn't get re-elected last week, 'have continued their demolition of Jersey'. He wants a quick review of what's happened.

"There is a new elected States Assembly. Every member of the public I have spoken with & many of the brilliant Newley (sic) elected members want a hospital progressed.

It must be yet-to-be appointed democratic right to undertake a very fast review of what has gone on and make decisions... not unelected and discredited former members.

This afternoon (27 June) I have taken soundings from elected members to try and ensure the facts. Transparency and proper accountability must be restored.

If necessary an urgent proposition can be lodged to ensure the facts are established."

11 Compulsory Purchase Notices were received by the Parish of St Helier on 21 June 2022 - inluding a Parish car, car parking along the edge of People's Park, the Jersey Bowling Club, and areas adjacent to Westmount Road.

The government has offered compensation of £5.2million.

A Parish Assembly, held in December 2021, rejected an offer of £6.5million - despite Town Hall procureurs saying the offer represented 'good value'.

Jersey Alliance member Gregory Guida signed the order. The outgoing Home Affairs Minister failed to get re-elected last week.

He has defended the move to sign it.

"More than a year ago, the (States) Assembly agreed that we would compulsorily purchase some land to build the new hospital, so that was the decision from the Assembly.

Then when you do that, there's a very strict legal procedure to follow.

When it ends up on your desk, you just have to do it. You're not going to say oh it's alright, I can waste £100,000 a day waiting for stuff to be done.

I've been told by the assembly to do this.

Should we have stopped everything else? We should have stopped paying people, we should have stopped building housing and we should have stopped doing anything just in case this hospital has different ideas from the previous one?

If they want to stop the hospital (project) they gather together and they make that decision and everybody else will have to follow it, but you cannot say maybe other people in the future will think differently, so I will not do what people in the present are asking to do.

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

The order has not been published on the States Assembly website.

A government spokesperson says the final decision on compulsory purchase orders for land, where the agreement wasn't reached with landowners, will sit with the new government and the relevant Minister.

"Most of the land required for the new hospital has been acquired through negotiation, but agreement was not reached with two of the landowners. One of these landowners is the Parish of St Helier. 

The previous government started the process of compulsory purchase in December 2021 after the Funding and Land Assembly Proposition debate in the States Assembly in October 2021. This process includes a series of legal notice requirements, one of which was recently served on the owners of the land.

However, the final decision on compulsory purchase orders for this land sits with the new government and the relevant Minister."

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