St James’ Marketing September 2018

Marketing of St James’ Hospital by the NHS

The Milton Neighbourhood Planning Forum oppose the magnitude of development offered in the Montague Evans Sales Brochure.

There are over 300 objections outstanding on the existing Homes England planning application on the St James’ Phase 1 site predicated on it’s non-compliance with local and national planning policy objectives.

The marketing guidance for Phase 2 seems to ignore these and local concerns. It also poses significant problems for the City Council’s stressed highway network and it’s community infrastructure especially schools.  

Because the existing Planning Policy MT4 permits development only in the event the existing highway network can accommodate the additional traffic generation, the extent of residential use suggested is a nonsense.

There is an overriding public interest in the Hospital remaining in a community service use such as Elderly and Dementia Care or Adult Social Care consistent with the existing “Institutional Use”.

MT4 looks to preserve the Grade 11 Listed Hospital for a mix of health-care, residential training, education or resi-conversion but there’s little scope for much else because the “Presumption in Favour of Sustainable Development” is dis-applied with the International Conservation constraints on the Langstone Harbour Special Protection Area, RAMSAR & Special Area of Conservation.

The redevelopment of St James’ Hospital for up to 299 new dwellings would undermine the Chichester and Langstone Harbour conservation objectives.

The Solent-wide Mitigation Project to off-set the likely significant impacts of increased housing development within 5.6 km of the Special Protection Areas is now questionable.

The recent “Sweetman” ruling in effect reverses the presumption that mitigation schemes for new housing developments are prima-facie acceptable. Whereas the Council could previously claim to have screened out the need for an “Appropriate Assessment” in any early consultation by relying on their Mitigation Strategy, that’s no longer possible. By it’s very nature, the legal designation of a Special Protection Area endorses the cautionary principle against harm. So unless the purchaser has in mind a compliant scheme demonstrably unlikely to have any significant effect on the SPA, he cannot reasonably anticipate a favourable outcome.

Notwithstanding the obvious financial risks to any lender and the possibility of the developer going bust from lengthy delays in getting a residential scheme to fruition, the suggestion of the capability of the site to provide an additional 299 homes clearly misunderstands these local constraints.

Rod Bailey

Chairman Milton Neighbourhood Planning Forum