Royal Free research centre granted planning permission for second time

What the new Royal Free building would look like

What the new Royal Free building would look like - Credit: Archant

A plan to build a world class medical research centre in the heart of Hampstead has been granted planning permission – for a second time.

Camden Council this evening gave the go-ahead once more for a £42million, seven-storey research centre – backed by prime minister David Cameron and Mayor of London Boris Johnson – to be built at the site of an existing hospital car park on the edge of Hampstead Green in Rosslyn Hill.

The Pears Building, which would house the UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation and is a joint enterprise with the Royal Free Hospital, would accommodate 200 researchers and a two-storey patient hotel.

It was granted planning permission back in February, but after a blunder by Camden Council left the decision open to a legal challenge in the High Court it was ordered back to the planning committee to be voted on again.

The move, prompted by a letter from objectors The Hampstead Green Neighbourhood Group, was not relayed to the more than 300 objectors to the scheme, prompting outrage.

Permission tonight was granted unanimously.

A spokesman for the Royal Free said: “We are pleased that Camden Council’s development control committee has resolved to grant planning permission for the Pears Building, subject to the agreement of legal conditions, known as a section 106 agreement.

“The new building will provide space for the expansion of the UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation (IIT). Scientists at the IIT are carrying out ground-breaking research into conditions such as leukaemia, diabetes and HIV and the Pears Building will allow more of our patients to participate in clinical trials.”

See next week’s Ham&High (out on Thursday) for more on this story.