Controversial £42m Royal Free Hospital research centre approved

What the Pears Building would look like, with St Stephen's left

What the Pears Building would look like, with St Stephen's left - Credit: Archant

A controversial £42million research centre - which will lead the search for cancer and AIDS cures - has been approved on the Royal Free Hospital site.

Although permission was initially approved a year ago, it was brought back after serious flaws were discovered in the way the council assessed the scheme.

Thew new Pears Building was in the balance after solicitors acting on behalf of the Hampstead Green Neighbourhood Group (HGNG) threatened the council with a judicial review.

This evening’s meeting heard concerns raised about the impact on neighbouring St Stephen’s Church.

Councillor Phil Jones told a meeting of the council’s development control committee: “I’m mindful of the public benefit that will come from this development.

“It’s of international significance.”

The meeting heard that Prime Minister David Cameron had written to the council stressing the importance of the project.

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Critics had warned there would be damage to St Stephen’s due to basement excavations, and Hampstead Hill School would suffer because of loss of light.

The application was passed unanimously.

It will be built on an existing Royal Free car park on the edge of Hampstead Green in Rosslyn Hill.

It will house around 200 researchers, and will feature a two-storey patient hotel.