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Special Sitting Arranged For Hospital Road Access

The debate on whether to approve Westmount Road as the main access route to Jersey's new hospital at Overdale has been brought forward to next Monday (1 February).

The special States sitting comes at the request of the Deputy Chief Minister Senator Lyndon Farnham, with the backing of 16 other politicians.

They are:

  • Senator Sarah Ferguson
  • Senator John Le Fondré
  • Constable Chris Taylor
  • Constable Philip Le Sueur
  • Constable John Le Bailly
  • Constable Richard Buchanan
  • Deputy Judy Martin
  • Deputy Kevin Lewis
  • Deputy Susie Pinel
  • Deputy Richard Renouf
  • Deputy Scott Wickenden
  • Deputy Lindsay Ash
  • Deputy Gregory Guida
  • Deputy Rowland Huelin
  • Deputy Hugh Raymond
  • Deputy Trevor Pointon
     

The sitting has been brought forward by more than a week despite criticism from several islanders and politicians, who don't think there has been enough time to properly scrutinise the plans.

It was scheduled for later in February.

Senator Kristina Moore says it's not acceptable.

"The (Scrutiny) panel is not prepared any longer to accept this pushing. We have conducted our report and our review in as quick a time as possible.

"The time limits and constraints that have been imposed upon us by the government have made it difficult for us to find the best possible advisers to work with.

"We have a job to do and we will do it in an objective fashion, we will do it to the very best of our abilities, but we are no longer prepared to be pushed in relation to the timing."

Senator Farnham argues that progressing at speed is important, due to the impact of what he calls the current 'ageing facilities' on frontline workers.

"The States have so far wasted eight years and considerable sums of money by failing at all previous attempts to deliver a new hospital. 

The timeline and impetus which is driving the project is determined by our ageing and decaying health estate and the unsustainable cost of maintaining it past 2026. This is why there can be no further delay.

Islanders want us to get on and deliver a new hospital and, regrettably, we have got to the point where we have to take action to ensure the project can move ahead. The latest amendment from Scrutiny seeks even more unnecessary delay and puts the whole project at risk.” 
 

There has been widespread concern that no detailed imagery of the proposed access route has been provided, despite several requests.

Residents in the area have also reacted angrily on social media.

Advocate Olaf Blakeley, who lives nearby, has accused Senator Farnham of 'attempting to force States Members to make the decisions he wants by railroading proper democratic debate and deliberately depriving the States of essential information'.

He's told Channel 103 that no States member can properly represent his or her electorate by voting in favour of this proposition, 'because they simply don't know what they're being asked to vote for'.

"The only conclusion one can reach is that (information) is being purposely hidden from States members because of the fear that if they do know the full extent and disruption that this preferred access route will cause, it will encourage States members to vote against of.

"It's obvious, isn't it. If you have nothing to hide, then reveal it."

In response to Senator Farnham's call for quick action, Advocate Blakeley says it completely contradicts his previous comments when Gloucester Street was rescinded.

"He's not doing it properly and he is trying to move on and get it done fast. It's completely contrary to the position he has previously adopted."

The Hansard of Senator Farnham in February 2019 when Gloucester Street was taken off the table stated:

"The temptation is to get on with it and just move for the sake of moving fast, but we have to do this properly."

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