CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Save Our Path: Short cut next to Royal Free to be narrowed

Hospital says squeezed route is a 'short-term measure' but campaigners fear its permanent

27 February, 2017 — By Tom Foot

St Stephen’s Church Trust chairman Michael Taylor, Milan Selj, Peter Davey and Hampstead ward Councillor Stephen Stark pose with a tape measure that shows the distance the path will be reduced by

A POPULAR path alongside a meadow and Grade I-listed church will be severely narrowed, neighbourhood campaigners have warned.

The Hampstead Green Neighbourhood Group and the Heath and Hampstead Society had believed that a scientific research centre, offices and hotel being built by the Royal Free would only “encroach” upon the path during construction.

HGNG chairman Peter Davey said: “The character of Hampstead Green, a beautiful wild-flower meadow be­queathed to Camden, will also dramatically alter, with nowhere to sit after the bench is removed.”

He added: “The narrowing will be permanent. This has never previously been mentioned, throughout several years of consultations, proposals, plans, planning applications.”

Both conservation groups said yesterday (Wednesday) they had been told by a senior Camden Council official working on the project that the changes to Hampstead Green Path would be permanent.

Campaigners measure out how the path next to Hampstead Green will shrink

Marc Hutchinson, chairman of the Heath and Hampstead Society, said: “We have checked with the officer at Camden handling the consultation. He said it was permanent.”

Yesterday, a Royal Free spokeswoman dismissed the claims, saying: “Once the building work is complete the Hampstead Green path will fully re-open – this is a short-term measure.”

A council spokesman said it could not comment on what its officials had or had not said about the path. The seven-storey Pears Building – which will host the UCL Institute for Immunity and Transplantation – includes a car park and patient hotel.

The science research institute specialising in HIV, cancer and diabetes will take up three floors of the building. There were more than 1,000 objections to the development’s scale including from the St Stephen’s Church Trust, which have warned that piling works will irreparably damage its foundations.

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