Minister called on to help protect St James’ Hospital site

The St James' hospital site has been earmarked for development. Below, health minister Norman Lamb
The St James' hospital site has been earmarked for development. Below, health minister Norman Lamb
Sue Ball

Law expert speaks after controversial new ruling

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A BID to stop hundreds of new homes being built on the site of St James’ Hospital has taken another step forward.

Portsmouth City Council is exploring whether it can buy the land from the NHS to provide schools and a care home there instead.

Health Minister Norman Lamb visit to Kings Lynn at the coffee station in the council offices.'left to right Rick Doran, Marie Connell and Norman Lamb ANL-140529-111334001

Health Minister Norman Lamb visit to Kings Lynn at the coffee station in the council offices.'left to right Rick Doran, Marie Connell and Norman Lamb ANL-140529-111334001

Lib Dem councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson met health minister Norman Lamb to lobby him over the situation.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson, the Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Portsmouth South, said: ‘I met 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.’

Cllr Vernon-Jackson has asked Mr Lamb to tell the NHS not to divide up open spaces at the St James’ site using fences, which would otherwise block access for residents.

He also said he should look to agree to the council buying the land and have the deal done before the end of the financial year.

Cllr Donna Jones, council leader, said she will be going to London this week to discuss the site.

‘I am in regular dialogue with Penny Mordaunt, the department for communities and local government and the department for health with regards to the future of the site,’ she said.

‘I am going to London this week with senior council officials to investigate options going forward.’