Guernsey Press

PEH and Les Ozouets projects too big to start at same time

THE States’ two largest capital projects are unlikely to start at the same time if they are carried out by the local construction industry.

Rihoy & Son chairman Gavin Rihoy. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 32572450)

Policy & Resources president Peter Ferbrache told the States this week that the island’s largest contractor, Rihoy & Son, could work concurrently on the next phase of development at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital and a new post-16 education campus at Les Ozouets.

Rihoy & Son chairman Gavin Rihoy confirmed yesterday that his company could start one project before finishing the other – but said it could not start them together.

‘Deputy Ferbrache was correct to say that we could do both jobs concurrently, but that would depend on a staggered start time so that the various construction stages could be staggered,’ said Mr Rihoy.

‘This is important because it would allow the local construction industry – ourselves, the sub-contractors and suppliers – to cope with demand and keep as much work as possible on the island.

‘We are currently in discussion with the States about working towards that outcome.’

The Health & Social Care committee has said that it wants the next phase of development at the PEH to follow immediately after completion of the current phase early next year.

Education, Sport & Culture’s current plan is for its new post-16 campus at Les Ozouets to open in September 2025.

Rihoy & Son is understood to be the only local firm which could take on States’ projects of the size planned at those two sites.

The States will vote next month on whether to undertake further borrowing – of between £200m. and £350m. – to allow the two projects to go ahead as part of a long list of capital projects with a total cost estimated at more than £500m.

P&R has now also warned that doing so could put more pressure on the island’s overheated housing market.

‘The quantum of construction work planned and profiled for these is ambitious and would include scaling up of the workforce in the construction industry and may place further demand on short- to medium-term local housing and accommodation,’ said the senior committee.

P&R has revealed that the two projects are now projected to cost a total of approximately £240m.

The next phase of the redevelopment of the Princess Elizabeth Hospital has an estimated cost of £120m.

A new post-16 campus at Les Ozouets, including a sixth form college, together with digital improvements, is now expected to cost £119.3m., down from a figure of £128m. shared by P&R at a Scrutiny public hearing earlier this year.

In a letter published in today’s Guernsey Press, P&R treasury lead Mark Helyar has defended his committee over capital projects. He said it was providing the States with a range of options for the size and cost of its programme of capital works.

‘The basic premise is that, if members want to spend on everything they believe is necessary, we cannot afford it and members will have to, at the same time, take collective responsibility for increasing the taxation and/or borrowing necessary to pay for it,’ he said.

‘If the States decides by majority to spend without consequence or responsibility for how it is paid for that will be a good reflection of the effectiveness of our parliamentary system.’