You can see the Exhibiiton boards of the initial proposal here. This proposal has been modified since to take on board feedback (this includes reducing height of Levy wing by 2 floors) however the scheme remains in essence the same.
This is the current state of play on this sizeable and important new development in our neighbourhood.
The planning application has been made. You can find the details on the Camden planning website. Ref no 2019/2879/P is the actual planning application, and Ref no 2019/2880/L is the application for Listed Building Consent. The closing date for comments/objections is 28 days – ie by the end of June 2019.
This is a large and prestigious new development, which on the face of it looks impressive, but on examination contains certain problems which will affect our neighbourhood. This is a summary.
The Eastman Dental Hospital site has been bought by University College London (the university). The Eastman Dental services will move out of London, retaining an in-patients wing at Huntley Street. Once the premises are vacated UCL propose to provide a state-of-the art centre for Dementia Research, together with an in-patients service for dementia patients, plus unrelated academic teaching space for maths and statistics.
In order to fulfill these aims UCL plan to demolish most of the existing structure, keeping only the façade of the existing building facing on to Grays Inn Road. They plan to build one large building behind the reconstituted frontage to accommodate the dementia research unit and the out-patients facility. They also plan to run the academic teaching facility down to southern side of the site, next to St Andrew’s Gardens, to build a large block at the eastern end of the site, to accommodate more academic teaching facilities.
So, they want to put a lot of facilities on this one site. They also want to make the site pretty with internal courtyards, green planting, new open squares, and coffee-shop facilities. They propose more public access to the open spaces in the new buildings, and public access routes through to Cubitt Street.
The UCL proposals seem attractive – they will be providing a world-centre of excellence in the praise-worthy world of dementia research; the new buildings respect and restore the listed quality of parts of the historic site, and the new buildings will provide more public access to more green spaces, and a new through-way for pedestrians to reach Cubitt Street and Kings Cross Road.
On examination, though, the picture is not so good. The prosed new buildings are larger and taller than the existing structures.The large new buildings will overshadow and disadvantage both the New Calthorpe Estate (Council dwellings) and the Calthorpe Project (a much-loved local community garden providing services for children, the elderly, after-school teenage activities, and with a thriving football pitch and spearheading local work on horticulture, healthy food and wild-life habitats). We note that both these areas bordering the new buildings on the eastern side are areas which deal with “poor” people – and co-incidentally very little has been done in this building proposal to accommodate their needs. This is an issue.
The Forum has been busy attending pre-planning consultation meetings, and have taken part in consultations with UCL/Calthorpe Project and UCL/New Calthorpe Estate t/r Association. We are of a mind to oppose this planning application. We are writing to all of our wider membership setting out our reservations and asking for your views.
We will also be discussing this proposal at our next public meeting, to be held on July 2nd at the Calthorpe Project. Please do attend if you can.