Housing for key workers could be built on a green field in the grounds of the Princess Elizabeth Hospital after the States rejected an attempt to protect the land from development.
The Assembly agreed instead that any such development on the field at the Hospital should be offset by spending up to £300,000 to buy land of an equivalent size elsewhere to be converted into grassland for dairy farming.
Deputy Steve Falla led a Requête which proposed making it much harder for the Committee for Health & Social Care and Policy & Resources Committee to progress plans to build two blocks of accommodation and car parking in the field of seven vergees next to the former Duchess of Kent residential home.
But the proposals in his Requête were replaced - and, therefore, defeated - when the States voted in favour of an amendment put forward by Deputies Neil Inder and Mark Helyar to scrap the idea of putting additional protections on the field in favour of restoring grassland elsewhere if the development plan at the Hospital obtains planning permission.
The outcome of the debate means the Committees remain free to develop their building proposals further and, if they wish, submit a planning application to the Development & Planning Authority, which the Authority would consider against the policies in the Island Development Plan.
Pictured: Deputy Steve Falla led the unsuccessful effort to secure a States' Resolution to protect the green field from development.
After several hours of debate on amendments, general debate on the final proposals was quickly curtailed by a guillotine motion from Deputy David Mahoney late this afternoon after only member had spoken - Deputy Lester Queripel.
In the final vote - in effect, on the Deputy Inder / Deputy Helyar offsetting plan - 23 members were in favour and 12 were opposed, including Deputy Falla and the six other signatories of the original Requête.
It looks like the majority of this assembly are going to vote to support large-scale building on the PEH valley field and in addition spend up to £300,000 of taxpayers’ money to “offset” land elsewhere. Insult to injury.— Yvonne Burford (@YvonneBurford) July 15, 2022
Pictured: In the morning session on Friday, the States rejected an amendment from Deputy Yvonne Burford which she presented to make the proposals in the original Requête fully consistent with planning law. In the afternoon session, the States approved an amendment from Deputy Neil Inder which significantly changed the outcome of debate.
Earlier in debate, Deputy Al Brouard, the President of the Committee for Health & Social Care, implored deputies not to rule out the proposed scheme to build on the field unless they "want[ed] to put cows to intermittently graze the field ahead of people who need to care for our loved ones".
Deputy Brouard told the States' Assembly that the Requête to save the field from development was full of "misdirection and unresearched spin" and that its "lack of substance and poor arguments are not overcome by a local media public relations campaign".
Deputy Falla had argued: "Guernsey has limited open space, limited green space. A building cannot easily be undone and, if built on, the Princess Elizabeth Hospital field would never revert to a green valley in the future."
Pictured top: Deputies Mark Helyar (left) and Neil Inder (right).
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