Decision due tonight on plan to build seven-storey Royal Free building in Hampstead

What the building would look like

What the building would look like - Credit: Archant

Camden Council’s planning officers have recommended a controversial proposal to build a seven-storey, pioneering research centre in the heart of Hampstead be given the go-ahead.

The Royal Free is looking to be given permission to construct a £42million building that will house the UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation, accommodating 200 researchers and a two-storey patient hotel.

It would be built at the site of an existing hospital car park on the edge of Hampstead Green in Rosslyn Hill.

In submissions to the council, there have been 293 objections and 76 support of the development.

Councillors will decide tonight (Thursday) whether to side with their officers’ recommendation or those opposing.

Hospital chiefs say the new building – which will – will become Europe’s leading research hub in immunology, infection and transplantation, “transforming the lives of patients locally, nationally and globally”.

Among those in support of the proposals include MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, Glenda Jackson, the Prime Minister and the Mayor of London.

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But the site is adjacent to Grade-I listed former church St Stephen’s, now a venue for events, concerts and weddings, and Hampstead Green. Neighbouring community groups have reservations about the planned building’s visual impact, the loss of green space, traffic congestion and overdevelopment of the area.

Along with 291 local residents opposing the development, among those objecting include the Victorian Society, the Ancient Monument Society, Hampstead Hill School, St Stephens Restoration Trust and the South End Green Association.