STAFF REPORTER FOLLOWING Balearic leader Francesc Antich's investigating a possible third site for the location of the new Balearic hospital, left-wing coalition groups which form part of the current regional administration came forward yesterday to give their backing.

Bloc spokesman Margalida Seguí said she wanted to see the new Balearic government making courageous decisions to benefit the people of the Islands. Opting for the new site being at Son Hugo would mean that construction work would not impinge on any protected heritage sites in contrast to plans at Son Espases where a historical monastic site is under threat. Her comments come in the wake of those made by the Bloc's general secretary Biel Barceló on Thursday, when he said that “any alternative to the site at Son Espases would be welcome, although our party maintains that the finest choice would be the refurbishment of the current Son Dureta hospital”. He had added that careful assessment would have to be made of the new proposal so that the public are not “doubly disappointed,” insisting that the Bloc would also be against any speculative building developments that may accompany new facilities were they to be build at Son Espases.

Meanwhile, the centre-right Partido Popular (PP) who originally proposed and support the controversial hospital plans for Son Espases, and now in oppostion in the Balearic government, have said that the project mooted for Son Hugo would cost fifty times the amount that had been quoted for Son Espases.

The land at Son Hugo is currently split up into ownership by four different proprietors, the largest of which is Procam a financial society linked to the banking group Caixa de Catalunya. A government purchase would have to be made for some of the land in question which is already classified as being appropriate for urban development. The PP claim that the final cost of purchasing the land on which to buildi the hospital could be region of 200 million euros - highlighting a difference of 25 euros per square metre quoted for the land at Son Espases and a startling 1'000 euros pers square metre for terrain at Son Hugo.

And the story is not over yet. Mayor's deputy from the United Left party, Eberhard Grosske has “located” another possible site, pointing out that Palma Town Council also has forms part of the Commission set up to establish the best possible hospital alternative. He indicated yesterday a plot lying at the junction of Vía Asima and Camí dels Reis and proposed that the government apply the same hospital plans which had been drawn up for Son Espases to this new location. The government intends to debate this fourth option.