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Plan for new hospital building ‘confusing’

Proposal for temporary three-storey development faces criticism from NHS campaigners

11 October, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

An illustration of the temporary building on the old Waterlow site

CAMPAIGNERS have hit out at the latest plan for a new temporary building on the old Waterlow Building site, part of Whittington Hospital, as “unclear” and “confusing”.

Shirley Franklin of the Defend Whittington Hospital Coalition campaign group said: “This whole estate strategy began in 2015 and here we go again still not knowing what will happen. I don’t understand [the temporary aspect of the building], it’s confusing and I do not think it is very responsible.”

In the application it states that planning permission is sought for the proposed redevelopment of the former Waterlow Building on Highgate Hill and the construction of a “replacement (temporary) building for medical education purposes”. The temporary period, the application states, would be five years.

This new three-storey building would provide replacement medical education, demonstration and meeting spaces and would have lecture spaces, meeting/teaching rooms, an operating theatre simulation suite and “ancillary accommodation (ie, toilets)”.

The application continues: “The resulting building is considered to offer a successful solution as a temporary replacement of the Waterlow building.”

The council argued that it would have proved too costly to reconfigure the original building and said that the proposed three-storey building was a better option.

However, Ms Franklin said that the Trust “was not very upfront about what they are doing”.

When the Tribune asked what would happen once the five-year temporary status of the building was up, a spokesperson was unable to confirm if the building would suffer the same fate of the Waterlow Building and ultimately face demolition.

Whittington Health chief executive Siobhan Harrington said: “A space that has been occupied by an ­empty building for over 15 years is going to be put to much better use – new education facilities for our staff.”

The plans will go before councillors for a decision on Tuesday night. If the application is agreed, the centre is expected to be ready in 2020.

A Whittington Health NHS Trust spokesperson said: “This is a major piece of work and we plan to set out the results this financial year.

“In the meantime, we are not standing still – we have refurbished some areas of our staff accommodation block, we have built a new maternity theatre and are refurbishing our post-natal ward and we are replacing our education facilities with a modern and efficient modular building to make way for a new mental health hospital on our site.”


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