14 January 2019
The Minister for the Environment, Deputy John Young, has refused the planning application (PP/2018/0507) for a new hospital for Jersey.
The Minister's decision is in line with the recommendation made by the independent planning inspector, Philip Staddon, which has been published today.
The inspector's report has recommended that the planning application should be refused unless the Minister considers that public interest in building the new hospital outweighs the proposed development's inconsistencies with the Island Plan.
Deputy Young said: "This has been a very challenging decision and 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 Minister has accepted that there is a well-evidenced and undisputed need for a new hospital, which is in the island's interest. However, for this application, the Minister was unable to conclude that there existed an overriding public interest benefit which provided sufficient justification for making a decision which is inconsistent with the Island Plan.
The Minister agreed with the conclusions of the Inspector and has therefore refused the planning application. The Inspector set out three broad areas for refusal:
Design, townscape and visual impacts
- The proposal would result in a building that would be too large for this restricted site.
- The development would lead to unreasonable harm to the residential amenities and living conditions of neighbouring residential properties.
- The proposed main hospital development would not preserve or enhance the settings of numerous heritage assets.
Following receipt of the independent planning Inspector's report, Deputy Young carefully considered the application, the Inquiry documents, and reviewed the proposal against Jersey's legal and planning framework.
The Minister noted that Planning Department officers considered that the need for a new hospital, combined with the many other planning benefits of the development, would be sufficient to outweigh the negative planning impacts of the proposal and would lead to a decision to approve the outline application. However, the Minister was clear that the Inspector had stated that this balance must be a political one.