Policy & Resources has proposed a major reshuffle of capital projects, kicking the second stage of the hospital modernisation project down the pipe in favour of the ‘Transforming Education Programme’; however, it isn't the only project that has been de-prioritised.
Several projects within the capital portfolio have either been re-shuffled or dropped under the foreboding column ‘Do but review scope &/or solution’. Express takes a look at the new roster:
The biggest blow to the capital projects portfolio is the proposed de-prioritisation of phase 2 of the Hospital Modernisation Project. The Committee for Health & Social Care was originally aiming to complete the entire hospital project within 7 years, having split up the development into phases, but this now seems unlikely since P&R has proposed focusing on the completion of the education programme instead.
It isn’t all that surprising that P&R has chosen to shelve the second half of the project, since skyrocketing construction costs have ballooned the bill to more than £150 million, more than double original estimates. P&R says it's simply not financially possible to build both the hospital and the new sixth form centre at the moment.
The second phase of the hospital project includes the construction of a three-floor extension to re-house maternity and neo-natal services, along with four new theatres and a private ward. The phase would’ve also seen major refurbishments undertaken across the entire hospital. If the States vote through P&R’s proposals, it’s unknown when the project could be completed.
Pictured: The President of HSC, Deputy Al Brouard.
The Committee for HSC said it is “very disappointed” with the recommendation and has released the following statement:
"There is a clear and evidenced need for the second phase of the Hospital Modernisation Programme and for it to continue seamlessly, using the contractors who are already on site delivering Phase1. Phase 2 of the Hospital Modernisation programme has been designed to address challenges and key issues with our current infrastructure, some of which were identified as far back as 2011. We are determined to push for Phase 2 of Our Hospital Modernisation to be considered as an ‘do as planned’ programme in view of the considerable work that has been completed to date, the fact that Planning Permission has been granted and contractors are already on site delivering Phase 1.
“We will do our best to persuade the States Assembly to prioritise this much needed programme of work and, if needed, will lay the necessary amendments in due course to enable that debate in the States Assembly in July.
“We are pleased to see the proposals to accelerate the HSC’s Community Hub Programme recognising the need to invest in facilities for children and families as a priority – but with a manageable project that is of a size and scope that can be delivered in practice. We fully support the desire the accelerate this programme.”
The only other substantial piece of work to be pushed into the unknown pipeline is the Future Inert Waste Facility. The current facility at Longue Hougue is nearly full and is expected to be at capacity by the end of the year. The most recent States resolution was for a new facility to be developed at Longue Hougue south, but that workstream hit a roadblock after a local planning brief was paused to allow the future of Les Vardes to be decided.
It’s no surprise then that P&R has decided to push it down the priority list while a possibility of shovelling waste into Les Vardes remains on the table – despite it being earmarked for water storage, but it does mean a gigantic pile of inert waste might start building up at Longue Hougue before the year is out.
Pictured: Longue Hougue reclamation.
A spokesperson for STSB said: “We have received the Policy & Resources Committee’s preliminary proposal for the reprioritisation of the capital portfolio, which will be debated by the States later this year. The Board has not yet had the opportunity to consider the proposals, nor to discuss them with the Policy & Resources Committee. However it welcomes the planned engagement with all the relevant States Committees before the proposals are finalised, and the Board will provide appropriate input as part of that process.”
Three pieces of work have been moved from the ‘to do’ pile to the ‘to do... ish’ pile. P&R has proposed that the scope of six pieces of work be reviewed, or an alternative solution be found to them. The three notable schemes that have been shifted into this column are phase three of replacing the bus fleet, the repair works to Fermain wall and the introduction of SMART court systems.
Guernsey’s courts need to be brought into the 21st century, as the majority of the work done there continues to be through reams and reams of paper. The SMART Court project is one part of a larger initiative to slowly digitise most of the processes at the States of Guernsey. The courts in particular will benefit from three phases that’ll revamp the website, digitise court processes and place the entire contents of the strongroom online. It’s as of yet unclear how the project will be reviewed or ‘solved’.
The Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure has been slowly updating the island’s fleet of buses in phases, as agreed in a Policy Letter back in 2018. A proposal has been made to move phase three – the purchase of eight Dart Nimbus buses - from the States' ‘must do’ pile to a new column that suggests its scope should be reviewed.
Additionally, E&I has also had its project to finally repair the collapsed wall at Fermain put into the scope review/solution pile too. It is nearing a decade since the wall originally fell and it has never been elevated to a high priority since it isn’t technically a ‘sea defence’. However, the delay has always simply been down to cost and with the purse strings getting ever tighter, it’s no shock that this ‘must do’ scheme has been deprioritised.
Pictured: The rubble at Fermain.
The capital projects portfolio was revealed and explained in depth during the publication of the Government Work Plan and the subsequent debates to vote it through. It included dozens of projects in various stages of completion and of various levels of importance. And while the headline concern will now be the proposed pausing of the Hospital Modernisation Project, the majority of the capital projects within the portfolio will stay where they are.
General coastal defences remain at the bottom of the pile, alongside a new dairy facility, Guernsey Airport infrastructure and a CCTV replacement project.
Meanwhile, the Alderney Airport pavements rehabilitation project remains on the cards in exactly the same way as it did before, along with arguably unavoidable projects like the repair of the Castle Emplacement bridge and the Havelet slipway.
The President of P&R, Deputy Peter Ferbrache, will be speaking to Express for an exclusive podcast today, so expect more insight into P&R’s proposals later this week.
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