DRAWINGS FROM PLANNING APPLICATIONS
The new building will be as tall as the 14-storey council blocks in the Tybalds Estate behind Great Ormond Street. So tall that it will breach the protected view of St Paul's Cathedral and steal the light from 40-50 residences.
BY ALEXANDER JAMES
6 October 2023
One of the world's most famous children's hospitals is under fire for an alleged violation of civil rights to the community living on its doorstep, neighbours claim.
Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) is forging ahead with building plans that will 'cripple' neighbourhood privacy and businesses, say the community who live in its vicinity, and are ready for a 'David and Goliath' battle.
And they also claim they feel 'betrayed' by Camden Council, and the staff they pay business and council taxes to protect them, for ignoring their pleas to have a legal right to a consultation, some of which will infringe on conservation areas. One survey found 95 per cent of people were either 'very unhappy' or 'unhappy' with GOSH proposals, but all objections have been dismissed.
Among others hitting out is neighbour, University College Hospital, one of the world's oldest medical research hospitals. It says plans will endanger the lives of its patients held up by construction works. In addition, the development will devastate buildings that date back to 1852 in the process, and are furious its pleas have been dismissed.
Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital
'Stabbing Us In The Back' Community Say
Current view from Lambs Conduit Street looking down Great Ormond Street, where the heights of existing buildings on both sides of the street are compatible.
Visual render of the view from Lambs Conduit Street looking down Great Ormond Street, showing the overpowering mass and height of Great Ormond Street Hospital's proposed new building, on the right-hand side of the street, towering over the 17th/18th Century listed houses opposite.
Current view from the children's play area in Tybalds Estate, with the current Great Ormond Street Hospital’s existing building barely visible above the backs of the 17th/18th Century listed properties on Great Ormond Street.
Visual render of the view from the children's play area in Tybalds Estate, showing the proposed new Great Ormond Street Hospital building highly visible and towering over the 17th/18th Century buildings on Great Ormond Street opposite the proposed new building.
"There can be no doubt this is against the wishes of the vast majority of the community" state local groups.
Camden Council have refused our request for comment, but spokespeople at Great Ormond Street deny they did not carry out a consultation. However, more than 100 objections to the proposals have been submitted to the council from when the plans were first presented in May 2022.
The matter concerns a £190 million project to expand the hospital, residents claim was given council approval without the legal right to public consultation or taking into consideration the damage it will do to residents 'health and wellbeing'. This is according to a community group which has been independently set-up to challenge the buildings, saying its tantamount to multiple stabbings in the back.
Group leader Gillian Moseley states: "GOSH told us they could not adapt their plans because of their master plan, a plan that has never been made public. This turned out to be fake news, they did adapt them but not to be sensitive to residents. They instead just made their plans bigger, so that if this building is built it will tower over all other buildings on the street, robbing the oldest homes in the area of much of their daylight."
She adds: "It’s unsurprising that a neighbourhood liaison group was set up twenty years ago following a period of construction in which locals could take no more. This group was unilaterally disbanded by GOSH during the run-up to this planning application. We ask Why?"
Among the issues raised was whether it was appropriate to continue developing the Bloomsbury site, which is limited in terms of future upgrades, with some asking why the trust had not considered a new plot.
But Great Ormond Street Hospital claims it has followed proper procedure. A spokesperson said:
"At every stage of the development of the Children’s Cancer Centre (the project in question) we have consulted with the local community and will continue to do so."
“We know how disruptive building work can be, but we are doing our best to minimise the impact as much as possible."
It states: "A planning application for the CCC was submitted in May 2022, with full planning granted in April 2023. There was pre-application consultation with the local community, statutory consultation during the planning process and the application was considered by the full London Borough of Council Committee and referred to the Mayor of London and the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and both were happy for Camden to decide on the application."
But heritage organisations have further disputed the go-ahead, and say it will cause lasting damage to some of the UK's best examples of historic architecture, some of which is considered an area of heritage conservation.
The proposed new block is located within the Bloomsbury Conservation Area and is directly opposite a row of grade II-listed townhouses.
Historic England warned in June last year there would be a “major and lasting impact” on the conservation area and the setting of the listed buildings.
The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings also said it was “greatly alarmed” that the new building would overwhelm the setting of the houses, which it described as some of the "rarest and most remarkable surviving terraces of late 17th and early 18th century houses in London".
Local groups state: "There can be no doubt this is against the wishes of the vast majority of the community." They appeal to voice concern by writing by email to:
By post, write to Daren Zuk, Planning Solutions Team, Camden Council, 5 Pancras Square, London, N1C 4AG.
FACTS FROM SURVEY
A SurveyMonkey survey of views about GOSH and their proposed new Children’s Cancer Centre show a massive rejection of GOSH's expansion plans.
• 91% thought the size and scale of GOSH’s proposed building was “Unacceptable”.
• 93% objected” to GOSH’s planning application.
The programme of works was extremely unpopular with respondents.
• 95% were “Very Unhappy” or “Unhappy” with GOSH’s proposals.
• 88% felt GOSH should have considered new alternative sites rather than a new building at Great Ormond Street.
• 93% of respondents said the local community had not been properly consulted or involved in the design given the scale of the scheme.
The majority who took part in the survey had the highest opinion of GOSH’s clinical work, but a large majority said that the proposed Children’s Cancer Centre building was completely inappropriate, and that GOSH’s consultation with the local community about it has been seriously inadequate.