A landmark decision by Jersey’s politicians has paved the way for the construction of the Island’s new General Hospital.

Members of the States Assembly endorsed funding proposals and the outline business case for the project by 30 votes to 16 at the conclusion of two days of debate. The Hospital will be built on the southern part of the existing site in St Helier, and incorporate additional land in Newgate Street and Kensington Place, as well as making use of Westaway Court, a site adjacent to Parade Gardens already used by the hospital.

The project remains subject to planning consent, with the Environment Minister’s decision on the outline plans expected in early 2018, following the Planning Inquiry held in November and resulting inspector’s report. However this week’s decision will mean that the next phase of enabling works can commence – this includes relocating services from the current site, demolishing Westaway Court and moving catering operations to an off-site location.

States Members backed the mix of funding proposed by the Treasury and Resources Minister, Senator Alan Maclean; this solution includes borrowing up to £275 million towards the projected total cost of the project of up to £466 million, £23 million from existing allocations and the balance to be drawn from the Strategic Reserve Fund (the so-called ‘Rainy Day Fund’).

During the debate, Senator Maclean agreed a further review of the feasibility and costs of repaying the borrowing in tranches over the life of the new General Hospital; this work has already started. The Minister will also be looking to progress the funding process, engaging with advisors and looking to make the most of the low cost of debt available at present.

The process of appointing a main contractor for the project can now begin, with the expectation that an off-Island contractor with experience in major hospital projects will be appointed and work in tandem with local businesses on the project.

Planning the design of the new hospital will move forward in partnership with clinical staff, planning officers and other stakeholders such as the Jersey Architectural Commission prior to the submission of a detailed planning application in mid-2018. Demolition work on existing hospital buildings is expected to start in early 2019, with construction starting in 2020 and the new hospital set to open in 2024, with the project completed in 2025.

The Minister for Health and Social Services, Senator Andrew Green, said:

“I am very pleased that we now have the mandate and the funding to get on with this vital project for the Island, and am grateful to Members for their contributions and support. I look forward to working with my fellow Ministers at Treasury and DfI to deliver the new hospital.”