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Green light for Somers Town medical research centre

PUBLISHED: 13:29 17 December 2010

UKCMRI protest

UKCMRI protest

Polly Hancock

PLANS for a huge biomedical research centre in Somers Town were approved by Camden Council.

The UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation – UKCMRI – will be located on Brill Place behind the British Library and St Pancras station and its work will help understand why disease develops and find new ways to prevent and treat illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and stroke, infections, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Campaigners had gathered outside the Town Hall last night ahead of the meeting to protest against the plans and urge councillors to vote against.

They say the building is too big and too high, overlooking many flats and obstructing their sunlight, it does not provide any housing in an area which desperately needs flats and there is no open space.

Fears have also been raised over security at the centre and what types of viruses would be tested on.

Councillors approved the plans with eight votes for and four against.

Natalie Bennett, chairwoman of SPA - St Pancras and Somers Town Planning Action, said: “We are very disappointed but we have not given up the fight. The plans still have to go to the Mayor and there is the select committee.

“£220million of public money will be spent on this and questions need to be asked if that is really the best use of money considering the austere times we are in.”

A spokeswoman for the council said: “After careful consideration of all the relevant issues Camden Council’s Development Control Committee last night approved UKCMRI’s plans for a new medical research centre in Brill Place at the rear of the British Library.

“The committee voted eight to four in favour of the plans, with one abstention. The matter is now referred to the Mayor of London and CLG for consideration as to whether they agree that the proposal should go ahead.”


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