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Calthorpe Project faces years of disruption from hospital development

UCH plan to build new medical research centre on Eastman Dental Hospital site

26 July, 2019 — By Dan Carrier

The Calthorpe Project in Gray’s Inn Road

A TREASURED community garden in King’s Cross is facing years of upheaval amid plans to build a new medical research centre on a site next door, claim trustees.

The Calthorpe Project in Gray’s Inn Road has provided gardens, vegetable plots, a five-a-side football pitch, a community space and kitchens since 1983.

But its staff and users are worried that services will be disrupted when parts of the neighbouring Eastman Dental Hospital site is bulldozed.

University College Hospital recently bought the site and is planning to build a new centre where research into dementia and other age-related neurological conditions will be investigated.

The Grade-II listed Eastman building will be spared from the wrecking ball under the plans and instead will be refurbished, but new buildings will go up as part of the designs.

The Calthorpe Project said it supported the idea of building the new centre in principle but the size and scale of the construction would be challenging.

Annika Miller Jones, one of the trustees, said: “Several very real problems are apparent. For example, during the demolition of the existing and construction of the new there will be around three years of absolute disruption in terms of noise, dust and inconvenience to the peaceful and relaxing environment of Calthorpe Community Garden.”

She added: “They require access on to the garden to start demolition. This will be extremely disruptive. They have said they will protect our gardens but have failed to say how in their application.”

The plans will mean the garden’s football pitch – which can be hired – will need to be moved, adding extra financial strain on the charity.

Ms Miller Jones said: “They accept they will have to compensate us for loss of income, but we need further details. Calthorpe Community Garden sees it as a challenge and a potential opportunity to improve its services and work towards developing a partnership in the future with new dementia research centre by integrating therapeutic activities and designing the gardens as a dementia-friendly environment.”

Eastman Dental Hospital

In their application, UCLH say they have met the Calthorpe Project and other groups regularly, with talks between UCLH and Calthorpe trustees starting in February last year and still on-going. The demolition will be phased to minimise any disruption, the hospital said, and designers added: “The development seeks to deliver a new centre for world-leading dementia and neurology research and academic excellence. It would also deliver a comprehensive landscaping scheme to create a new public square, open up new publicly accessible spaces within the site, and new public connections through the site.”

An exhibition about the project is being hosted on Saturday, August 3 at the Calthorpe Project.

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