By Owen Sheppard, local democracy reporter
Kensington and Chelsea Council has published new planning guidelines designed to protect the Royal Brompton Hospital from being redeveloped.
The council’s Supplementary Planning Document was drawn up after concerns that the 19th century hospital, with 350 beds, could be sold off by the NHS to property developers.
Residents and campaigners have speculated that, if sold, the land would eventually become luxury homes.
The document states any future development should retain and enhance the world class medical facilities, and that a new development should boost biodiversity and contribute to the council’s ambition of being “carbon neutral by 2040”.
The hospital was run by the Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust until it recently merged with the organisation that runs the Evelina Children’s Hospital, as well as Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals.
Fears about the future of the Brompton were raised after it emerged last year that NHS England wanted children’s cardiology to be located on one site – at the Evelina in Lambeth.
But Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, the body which now manages all of those hospitals, has continued to downplay chances of the Brompton buildings being sold.
A spokesperson said: “There are currently no plans to sell any of Royal Brompton Hospital buildings or facilities for the foreseeable future, and the hospital will continue to treat patients in its current location for a significant period of time – at least a decade.
“As part of this commitment, a state-of-the-art £50 million Imaging Centre will open on site to provide much-needed new facilities and equipment at the end of the year.”
Councillor Johnny Thalassites, the council’s lead member for planning, said: “We welcome developers’ investment in our borough, but we refused to entertain the prospect of losing pioneering research and lifesaving treatment in Chelsea.
“Developers who want to build on the Royal Brompton Hospital site in the future will need to show us how their project promotes and protects healthcare services.
“We’ve done the sums. There are lots of viable commercial options that could help keep acute healthcare services while supporting the community too, from elderly residential care to key worker housing.”
Main Pic: Save Brompton protest, protestors opposing merger with Guys and St Thomas's. credit Ian Henderson
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