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Is there support for a feasibility study to relocate the planned Pears Building?

21 September, 2017

• I’M pleased to see growing support to relocate the Pears Building to a different part of the Royal Free site, from Gene Adams of the Belsize Conservation Area Advisory Committee (‘Vanity project’ could be better sited, September 14).

If the Royal Free Hospital moved the project to their Lawn Road car park, with a well-designed new building with frontage onto Fleet Road, I imagine current objectors would cheer loudly and support the new planning application.

Gene Adams is right. The view of the hospital from Fleet Road is ugly and ragged. But it could easily be screened with a well-designed new building.

Currently the Lawn Road car park is a mess, with its ugly stack of aging portable cabins. That part of the RFH site is empty and ripe for development. It’s an obvious place for the project.

Located there the Pears Building could be simplified and much cheaper than the current extravagant proposal. The structural engineering would be easy; and there would be no need for car parking decks in the building.

If required, additional parking (and displaced parking) could be supplied using a simple, attractive, upper parking deck on parts of the RFH south car park, with appropriate screening and landscaping.

A new on-site pedestrian route, enclosed if necessary, could connect the Pears Building at Fleet Road to an existing side entrance of the main hospital building.

As for noise from the beer garden of The Stag pub at the junction of Fleet Road and Lawn Road, I have no doubt that could be mitigated using sound baffles and an open-sided roof over part or all of the open area.

So here’s a question. Do objector groups to the current Pears Building and other local organisations support the idea of a feasibility study by the RFH: to relocate the Pears project to the Lawn Road car park, fronting onto Fleet Road? If so the RFH must be pressurised to do it.

RICHARD FERRARO FRIBA FRSA
Fleet Road, NW3

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