New building on Hampstead Green UPDATE June 2017
Current publicity material for this project gives every impression that construction is in going ahead without further ado. In fact there are still major unresolved issues of which the community needs to be made aware, and which the hospital has a responsibility to make clear.
The current situation
The present status of the hospital’s planning application is that it has been granted subject to certain conditions. The most important of these conditions is that Camden require that the hospital produce designs to be certified by independent suitably qualified consultant surveyors that demonstrate that the project can be delivered with no more than negligible damage to neighbouring buildings. There are many pages on the S106 agreement devoted to this.
The latest version of the hospital’s detailed basement construction plan (“DBCP”) on which they publicly consulted a couple of months ago had been shown as not being adequate to meet the above standard, and the hospital’s design team had, to all intents and purposes, to go back to the drawing board. The submissions of the St Stephen’s Trust team of experts were instrumental in this conclusion having been reached.
Further consultation meetings scheduled
The hospital’s project group, Royal Free Charity Developments Ltd (RFCD) is currently on a charm offensive, holding monthly update meetings with principals including St Stephen’s Trust, the Heath and Hampstead Society and HGNG. Most importantly RFCD have now at long last agreed to actively consult with the St Stephen’s Trust team of experts with regular fortnightly meetings. The key role of the St Stephen’s Trust team of experts is to bring their very considerable knowledge of ground conditions in the area to bear on the hospital’s experts’ proposals for the detailed basement construction plan.
At a recent meeting of the Royal Free’s Environmental Liaison Group reference was made to the above facts and the chair of the NHS Hospital Trust, Dominic Dodd, confirmed that it was the intention of the hospital to continue with these meetings so that an agreed conclusion could be reached as to whether the project can indeed be built with no more than negligible damage to neighbouring buildings. In other words the jury is very much still out and the indications are, due to the further ground movement research that is needed, that this will remain the case for several months
Misleading publicity material must be amended
On the other hand the impression put over by this new publicity material from the hospital makes it seem like this is a done deal which of course it is not. We demand that the current publicity material be withdrawn and amended to make it clear that much further work needs to be done.
Hampstead Green Neighbourhood Group
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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.