Planning application: Former Royal Ear Hospital and Former Student Union Building Capper Street / Huntley Street London WC1E 6AP

Former Royal Ear Hospital and Former Student Union Building Capper Street / Huntley Street London WC1 E 6AP. 2015/1281/P: Erection of a 6 storey building and excavation works to create a 3 storey basement, comprising a head and neck outpatient hospital (Class D1) following demolition of the former UCL Student Union and Royal Ear Hospital buildings. Full details here.

This is a large development and we have a number of concerns about the proposal.

Our association attended pre-planning exhibition and a development management forum along with local residents.

During these meetings we expressed a number of concerns about the bulk of the building and traffic management. Fitzrovia News our community newspaper also covered the development here and here.

Many of the residents expressed concern about the height of the proposed building.

UCLH told us they would prefer to service the hospital via Capper Street but that Camden’s West End Project (WEP) plans would prevent this unless the servicing was done out of hours which, of course, raises other concerns. Residents and UCLH shared the view that access to TCR via Capper Street would be preferred.

With such a large number of hospital buildings there needs to be access via Capper Street into TCR for patient transport and hospital servicing between 8am and 6pm. Camden’s WEP is in conflict with this.

We also have concerns about the height of the proposed building and particularly its affect on the Grade II listed Georgian terrace in this part of Huntley Street. The proposed new hospital building would have a very negative impact on this important heritage terrace because it would be dwarfed by the scale of new building. A reduction in height should be considered.

We are also disappointed by the plans to completely demolish the buildings, in particular the attractive north facade of the Royal Ear Hospital in Capper Street with its Duveen family memorial inscription.

UCLH say they need to transfer the clinical facilities from two other buildings in the Kings Cross area. We understand their reasons for doing this and the benefit to patients, but it is to the detriment of residential amenity and the conservation area in Huntley Street with the current proposals.

Furthermore, apart for some improvements to the pavements, there is no community benefit being gained from this scheme.

We were very surprised to hear that Camden’s planning officers are not securing any money in lieu of affordable housing or open space from the huge increase in density on this site. Whilst the site is designated for health uses, it should not prevent Camden seeking a contribution to affordable housing and open space.

We respond in full to the planning application in due course.

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