New building on Hampstead Green UPDATE
More news April 2015 read details here...
Work has commenced on groundworks for the new Pears Building on Hampstead Green. Construction of the new building is being steered by the Royal Free Charity, the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, and UCL – who together are raising £42 million for the project.
Work now underway, 9 March 2015
Proposed new Royal Free building on Hampstead Green
Update Following the Development Control Committee decision
By Chris Fagg
In short, we lost. No councillor was moved to question the sheer bulk of the proposed building, or whether it might not be set back from the absolute limit of the RFH curtilage, although one councillor did at least raise the question as to whether the facility might be located elsewhere on the RFH site, at which a full Professor was parachuted in to explain how the future of medical research at RFH (and perhaps in the UK as a whole) would be fatally threatened by even the prospect of such a move.
Meanwhile Camden Planning Officers explained that the building was no more than a revisiting of the original Hampstead Hospital which had been demolished in order to create the Royal Free, although did not explain why the new building had to be seven storeys rather than the original four. Great play was made of the use of red brick which would somehow echo the character of the Victorian and Edwardian clusters arund Rosslyn Hill.
The applicants (really both Camden Planning and the RFH working jointly) admitted that the development would do 'some harm' to the heritage aspect of the environment but that the 'public good' (as defined by Camden and the RFH, of course) would offset this. There was at least some conditionality set on safety concerns in re the foundations of St Stephen's.
If there is anything to be learned from this experience, it is that there is a need for a much wider-ranging, more forceful, more consistent scrutiny of Camden's policies on development, perhaps focusing on and through new, funded, Neighbourhood Forums such as Hampstead Forum and Fortune Green & West Hampstead Forum (both to be found on Google), and involving Conservation Area committees, which might help to take strain away from ad hoc and underfunded residents' groups.
Many thanks to everyone who supported this campaign. There are certain issues arising directly from the hearing, so we're keeping the campaign going. Watch this space! Before and after images below:
Before – Haverstock Hill Hampstead GreenAfter – Haverstock Hill Hampstead Green
Before – Pond Street View
After – Pond Street View
Hampstead Green Neighbourhood Group Is a group of local residents, organisations and businesses dedicated to protecting, promoting and improving the local environment and the interests of people living and working in the area.