Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Portsmouth South Gerald Vernon-Jackson has met with Health Minister Norman Lamb in London to lobby the Minister about the NHS plan to sell off St James' Hospital for development.
"I met with Norman Lamb to push the case that overdevelopment of St James' was not the right way forward. Ministers have passed over the decision making on sales to an arm’s-length organisation - NHS PropCo - but I have asked the Minister to look at three areas that could help.
- To give an instruction that the NHS, or whoever the land is sold to, would not put up fences to divide up open spaces where the public has been used to being able to walk their dogs etc. The City Council has just turned down one planning application to do this, but the NHS should not be putting in more.
- To look to agree the sale of Phase 1 of the site to the City Council before the end of the current financial year (March 31st), so that the Harbour School at Milton would not need to move out.
- To look to sell the whole of the St James' site to the City Council so a plan can be produced for the reuse of the old hospital buildings, but also for the preservation of the open spaces.
Both the last two options would give the NHS a fast sale, but at a lower price but both could reduce development at St James'.
I have written to the Minister today to confirm these points and I look forward to meeting with him again to see what progress has been made," concluded Gerald Vernon-Jackson.