Deputies want a say on PEH green field build

THE States must have a say on whether a green field alongside Princess Elizabeth Hospital is developed, a group of deputies have said in a requete.

Deputy Steve Falla is leading a requete in a bid to stop accommodation for health staff being built on a sloping green field near the Princess Elizabeth Hospital. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 30832461)
Deputy Steve Falla is leading a requete in a bid to stop accommodation for health staff being built on a sloping green field near the Princess Elizabeth Hospital. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 30832461)

But Policy & Resources’ lead on property, Dave Mahoney, and Health & Social Care president Deputy Al Brouard both plan to stand in its way when States members debate this later this summer.

A plan to provide up to 150 units of accommodation for key workers in the field directly south of the Duchess of Kent House has been advocated by Deputy Mahoney.

The move by Steve Falla and his supporters, if successful, would stop both committees going ahead unless it can be proved there is no viable alternative to using the field.

His supporters – who include P&R vice-president Heidi Soulsby, HSC vice-president Tina Bury, Lindsay de Sausmarez and Peter Roffey – say that Duchess of Kent House would be more suitable, along with other brownfield sites to offer a range of accommodation for key workers.

‘It’s a way of ensuring the full assembly can give direction about building on a green field,’ said Deputy Falla.

‘It should get the full support of members, given that the Duchess of Kent House has been earmarked for development already, in the not-too-distant past.

‘In my view it is not right that two committees, which are not unanimous, may be able to build on the green field at the PEH without coming to the States.

‘This way the whole assembly can give some direction on this departure from existing and well-established policies.’

Deputy Falla said the importance of the field as a green lung on the otherwise highly-developed PEH site should not be overlooked.

‘I can understand the logic behind having the accommodation near the PEH but the Duchess of Kent House is a far better solution than building on an agricultural priority area,’ he said.

The Duchess of Kent is partially occupied by HSC offices.

Deputy Falla said the requete developed out of some informal conversations between deputies who were concerned about the way the plans were being progressed.

‘When one brings a requete, it’s important to think about the implications it will bring, but it’s equally important that the assembly has some input as to whether to build on a green field, even if it is for key worker housing,’ he said.

Deputy Brouard said further delays in building new accommodation will have a knock-on effect for the island’s housing crisis and health care recruitment.

Deputy Mahoney has argued consistently that the field is of low agricultural quality and would be a small loss compared to agricultural land lost to gardens in recent years. He said that there were few alternatives for the States to build the much-needed housing on.

Deputies Adrian Gabriel and Simon Fairclough have also signed the requete, which should be debated in July.

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