St James’ Hospital Consultation

Plans go before the Cabinet tomorrow from PCC officers recommending guideline figures for how much housing could be built at St James’ Hospital. The NHS has started to sell it off for housing development, and it is vital that PCC has a policy for the area in place to ensure that it is able to exert what little control local authorities have in planning matters of this kind.

Despite Lib Dem claims, this is classed as a “brown field site” in national planning policy, and there is a presumption that it can be redeveloped regardless of the wishes of councils and residents.  It was lazy and negligent of the Lib Dems to ignore the NHS plans for St James’, which can have come as no surprise to them when the NHS presented their plans to the then-Lib Dem administration in February.

This is another one of those bizarre areas where the Lib Dems are disavowing locally a policy they have supported nationally in government, of encouraging redevelopment of “brown field sites”.  The bulk of any housing at St James’ is going to come from converting the main hospital building.  Having had a very quick scan of the Cabinet paper, the new administration have put into the plan a lower density of new-build housing than that permitted by the Lib Dems in the past when the new estates on the fringes of the hospital site were built.

I’ll have much more to say on this in another blog, but for now, at the bottom of the page is the audio from a discussion between Cllrs Luke Stubbs and Gerald Vernon-Jackson on Radio Solent earlier, on the Julian Clegg show.  It was a pretty uncomfortable experience for GVJ, who is not only under pressure with his seat up in the local elections next May, but also only second favourite now to succeed his Lib Dem colleague Mike Hancock for the Lib Dem Westminster nomination.

Will Cllr Vernon-Jackson get a life peerage out of Clegg in the honours list after the elections to sweeten a bitter pill?  Kath Pinnock, his good friend from the Association of Lib Dem Councillors, has just been given one.  I think it’s fair to suggest it’s for “services to covering up a mess in Portsmouth”.  It’s also fair to say that there are Lib Dem councillors backing Tamora Langley who are starting to break cover and say that Pinnock ignored evidence they put to her of problems in the party locally.  This one is going to run and run.  Still running, EIGHT WEEKS after he settled with his victim out-of-court, Mike Hancock is still a Lib Dem, there is still no date set for a disciplinary hearing, and even his local office claim not to know where he is hiding.

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