Residents fear five years of lorry misery from GOSH redevelopment

Great Ormond Street plans double basement as part of children’s cancer centre

Tuesday, 7th June — By Tom Foot

camden Image 2022-06-07 at 8.57.11 AM (7)

How the new building could look

A REBUILD of the main entrance of Great Ormond Street Hospital will lead to five years of lorry “convoy misery”, residents have warned.

The world famous children’s hospital has applied to knock down its “frontage building” to make way for an eight-storey and double basement children’s cancer centre redevelopment.

GOSH says some of the sickest children are being treated in buildings that are no longer “fit for purpose”. But conservation groups in Bloomsbury have begun leafleting against the scheme and oppose plans for a “cavalcade of GOSH trucks” and parking bay removals.

Alex Forshaw, a former town planner who lives in Great Ormond Street, said: “The proposal is a massive increase in height, nearly three times the existing building, higher than anything else on the existing GOSH campus.

“It will take so much daylight from the front windows of the houses and flats on the south side of the street that they will all have to rely on permanent electric lighting.  The scale, massing and height of the proposal will overwhelm the historic houses opposite which are among the rarest and most remarkable late 17th/early 18th century houses in London.”

It said: “GOSH should not inflict five whole years of this convoy misery, swinging into Lamb’s Conduit Street, rumbling along Great Ormond Street, and then exiting down through Boswell Street.”

An artist’s impression of the proposed development

Film director Gillian Mosely, another resident close to the hospital, said: “Reading the new GOSH planning application is a Dickensian if not chilling experience. The impact on the health and well-being, and in some cases livelihood, of everyone in the neighbourhood is to be sacrificed.

Michael Pountney, chairman of the Rugby and Harpur Residents Association, said that the community had set up the “Residents Liaison Group” in 2001 to improve relationships with GOSH, adding: “It worked well for 20 years, but last year, because of our objections to their plans for the Children’s Cancer Centre, they decided we were ‘no longer fit for purpose’.

“We thought we’d made headway towards getting the GOSH managers to accept their responsibility to our community, but no. Back to the days of ‘We’re GOSH, and what we want we’ll get’. World-class clinical work, but thoughtless and inconsiderate management.” The GOSH application says resident parking bays in Great Ormond Street and Boswell Street would be suspended during the works.

It said it was working with the council to develop options to reduce traffic flows and that one proposal was “a one-way order that restrict all through movement except for emergency vehicles”, adding this would “reduce the conflicts and congestion that frequently occur at either end of Great Ormond Street”.

Residents, however, say lorries will jam up Guilford Street and surrounding roads.

The application is part of a five-phase project to rebuild two-thirds of the entire hospital over 20 years.

The replacement buildings would increase the hospital space on the site by 62 per cent, with the application explaining: “The ever-increasing complexity of treatments, new equipment and GOSH’s ambition to improve the patient and family experience as well as staff health and wellbeing results in the requirement for larger rooms and spaces.”

A spokesperson for GOSH said: “If our planning application is successful, we will deliver this world-leading facility in a way that minimises disruption wherever possible. We take the concerns of local residents very seriously and have taken them into account throughout our consultations to date. “We will continue to create opportunities for the community to share their feedback at every stage of the project.”

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