Thursday, 4 February 2016

The People's Park: Misleading Impressions









"Plans to redevelop Jersey's general hospital will cost £297m, according to the treasury minister. The money will pay for the redevelopment of the existing hospital site in the centre of St Helier and the extension of the Overdale Hospital. The central site will include a major refurbishment including eight new operating theatres. The Overdale site at Westmount will provide outpatient care and new laboratory facilities. Health Minister, Deputy Anne Pryke said the plans would provide a safe, sustainable and affordable healthcare system for years to come." (BBC Jersey, October 2013)

As we know, the dual site was pretty much written off, along with all the expensive consultancy work done which Senator Ozouf commissioned. That's probably a good thing: a dual site was never going to be that viable in terms of staffing.

But that was in 2013, and the new consultation document has been revealed in 2016, which is between two and three years later. That's 2 months in 2013, 12 in 2014, 12 in 2015, and 1 in 2016, making 27 months in all. So it was remarkable hearing Andrew Green saying that this has been going on for only 14 months on Channel Television.

What he means is that his consultation - a reboot, to use language from the movie industry - began late in 2014. He was re-elected to the States as a Senator in 2014. Appointed Minister for Health and Social Services 6th November 2014. That's where he is counting from: he reset the clock.



That date is of course interesting, because if you inspect the source code for the proposed sites on the new website, there is a sliding image on the top of the page. It begins with the People's Park, and moves through the Waterfront, Dual Site, Overdale, and the Existing Hospital. All are dated 2016 / 01 - January 2016 - except for the People's Park, which is dated 2014 /11 - November 2014.

Senator Andrew Green on BBC Radio this morning said that the People's Park as a possibility only came to his attention last July. It is strange then how a concept image for a hospital on the park has a 2014 datestamp? 

That dates coincidentally - or perhaps not so coincidentally - to his reboot of the hospital project in November 2014. Perhaps he could explain, or at the least, give a plausible sounding explanation in the best "Yes Minister" tradition! I think we can all guess the most obvious explanation.

The People's Park option involves providing extra green amenity space elsewhere, and the suggestion is that the old Hospital site gets turned into a green - although - over the road extension to Parade Gardens. Here is the concept plan from the Future Hospital Website.














As you may notice, this extends across to Kensington Place and in fact right down to Newgate Street. Astute map readers may notice there is something unsaid about this map. Here's another map of the same area in which land not owned by the States or part of the current hospital site - but included in the official consultation plan - is shaded in grey.













As you can see, there is quite a chunk of land which the States would have to buy. This includes the Revere Hotel and the Stafford Hotel. Now one idea surfacing in November 2015 was this - comments from the JEP:

"Knock down the Stafford hotel plus revere hotel and extend existing hospital"

"Many people have also been suggesting that property in Kensington should be purchased and develop the site into a new hospital and health centre. Some of those speaking to me are reputable builders and they are amazed at the progress so far."

This cost has been dismissed by Senator Green as too expensive, in terms of buying the hotels in question. But according to the official plan on the Future Hospital site, that is what would have to happen!

Are we to take it that the plans - part of a £2 million pound project to identify sites - was so sloppily thrown together than this was not noticed, and the area proposed for green space does not include those private properties in Kensington Place? 

Or is the Minister trying to pull the wool over people's eyes? Are these properties to be bought from willing sellers or compulsory purchased to realise the park as proposed? If so, how much will that add to estimated costs?

Alternatively, if plans include buying the land, how does that feed into the cost of the People's Park, which has an extra "sweetener" promised buy buying the old gas site, which, with plans for around 240 flats, must be worth a considerable amount. 

The table of comparisons vanished from the website without explanation. It was the side by side detail which also gave cost and timetable.

Dual-site of current location and Overdale: £500million and 11 years
Overdale: £446million and 7 years
Current site: £630million and 11 years
Waterfront: £470million and 7 years
People's Park: £444million and 6 years

A correspondent of mine asks the obvious questions:

1. Why did they take down the table link?
2. What are these estimates based on?
3. Who prepared the estimates and set the timescales?
4. Do the estimates ALL include the purchase of land and/or properties (including compensatory sites).

I am sure that a smokescreen of business confidentiality will be used to avoid answering questions about costings, in which case, why on earth should we believe the figures are given?

Incidentally, the download section is also atrocious. Powerpoint slides have been cheaply converted to a PDF but this so small you need a magnifying glass to read the fine details, and cannot easily view one page sequentially after another. Why they can't put the Powerpoint files up as well, I don't know? 

It has the air of being thrown together rather hastily, and being all front, and not much in the interior, rather like the fine facade of a Georgian house, which hid the shoddy workmanship inside behind its grand frontage. Because of its glossy appearance, it has been praised, and I was also impressed at first, but, as this blog shows, dig beneath the appearance, and you will see the cracks appear.

9 comments:

Phil Renouf said...

The "facts" presented to us are so full of holes that there can be no meaningful public consultation based on them.

Phil Renouf said...

The "facts" as presented are so full of holes that there can be no meaningful public consultation based on them.

Christopher Bidan said...

Dandara own the revere hotel

Christopher Bidan said...

Dandara own the revere hotel so to purchase there would possibly be a property swap

Unknown said...

Actually the owner of the ajoining property Mr Paul Doran should be asked by the media a simple question.
Would he sell his property backing on to the hospital willing or would it need to be compulsory purchased. Could not get the story to load, clearly they are for sale - yes really.

Two town hotels to become flats? « Jersey Evening Post
jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2010/05/.../two-town-hotels-to-become-flat...
6 May 2010 - Paul Doran, who owns the Revere and Stafford Hotels in Kensington ... One just has to look around town and see all the empty flats for sale and to rent .... This type of housing would certainly provide 'living spaces' in town for ..
sn town for ..

BernardPlace said...

Hi Tony

You raise a number of things here and I appreciate the time you have taken to set them out. In relation to the timings associated with the images we used on the website I think I know what the problem is. We didn’t have People’s Park designs until September 2015. The People’s Park image you are understandably concerned about was developed using a backdrop taken from the St Helier 3D model. The other images are computer generated ones which don’t use the model. The St Helier 3D model was updated in 2014. We have several images for all the sites. We will use a number of them over the coming weeks and would value your feedback if you think we are not being even-handed. We have had other feedback on the order and quality of the images. Mea culpa. My fault in not spotting these. For example we had intended to have a ‘rolling banner’ where all the sites appeared in order to cover all the options with their relative strengths and weaknesses. On the other hand you may also have noted that the options forming this period of public engagement are labelled A to E. Option E – the last one on the list – is Peoples Park. Feedback like yours on a newly initiated website is much welcomed. Come back to me again if I can help with any further clarifications. Thank you.

Bernard Place

BernardPlace said...

Hi Tony

You raise a number of things here and I appreciate the time you have taken to set them out. In relation to the timings associated with the images we used on the website I think I know what the problem is. We didn’t have People’s Park designs until September 2015. The People’s Park image you are understandably concerned about was developed using a backdrop taken from the St Helier 3D model. The other images are computer generated ones which don’t use the model. The St Helier 3D model was updated in 2014. We have several images for all the sites. We will use a number of them over the coming weeks and would value your feedback if you think we are not being even-handed. We have had other feedback on the order and quality of the images. Mea culpa. My fault in not spotting these. For example we had intended to have a ‘rolling banner’ where all the sites appeared in order to cover all the options with their relative strengths and weaknesses. On the other hand you may also have noted that the options forming this period of public engagement are labelled A to E. Option E – the last one on the list – is Peoples Park. Feedback like yours on a newly initiated website is much welcomed. Come back to me again if I can help with any further clarifications. Thank you.

Bernard Place

TonyTheProf said...

"The Minister has also launched the 3D Model for the Town of St Helier in 2013 which provides a publicly accessible and adaptable tool to better assess and plan for change. "

That's in the budget and the medium term plan. I'm looking for documenation of the update of the 3D model in November 2014.

TonyTheProf said...

I'll be responding to Mr Place next week with some information from a web designer. Watch this space!