Hospital bosses to field questions next week over future of Hampstead nurses’ housing
PUBLISHED: 09:00 29 November 2018 | UPDATED: 09:19 29 November 2018
The Royal Free Trust will face the public next week over the future of one of Hampstead’s key worker housing sites – with barely days’ notice.
Councillors are concerned neighbours are being “fobbed off” with the meeting on plans for Queen Mary’s House. The session was billed as being for interested community groups only, but after pressure from the Ham&High a last-minute change yesterday (Wed) saw the invitation extended to residents on a first-come-first-served basis.
The Royal Free will also face Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq, councillors and community groups at the hospital on Tuesday at midday.
In May, it was revealed the trust was privately marketing the 1.5 acre site in Heath Street, which is seen as the last big space for development in Hampstead.
Campaigners criticised the loss of the housing for nurses at the Royal Free Hospital, and teachers. It’s believed about 50 people live on the top floor of the current building, most of them trust workers.
Cllr Oliver Cooper (Con, Hampstead Town) said: “I’m dismayed we’ve been fobbed off by being offered a meeting with just a week’s notice. This will mean many stakeholders won’t be able to attend. We have been asking for proper community engagement for nine months, ever since the plans became public. There needs to be a public meeting at a reasonable hour and at reasonable notice before any plans go ahead.”
The pre-application proposals put forward last year by the Royal Free include completely demolishing the site and building 150 flats.
According to a response by Camden Council the buildings are part of the Hampstead Conservation Area and have a “positive contribution to the character and appearance” of the area. It said the council would “not support the proposal without clear and convincing justification”.
A feasibility study produced for the hospital in July 2017 shows how the proposed new build would be taller than the existing property, and may not be car-free, a stipulation of Camden’s local plan.
The council also said accommodation would need to be provided elsewhere in the area with both sites being worked on at the same time. However David Fowler, who wrote the report, said: “[We]have significant reservations about the certainty of delivery in this approach.”
The Royal Free said: “No decision has been made on the site and there have been no significant developments in recent months. However we are keen to listen and respond to any comments or queries.”
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