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Holl’s Maggie’s centre approved – again

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Steven Holl’s revised plans for the Maggie’s Centre at St Bart’s Hospital have been approved by City of London planners today (24 February)

The American architect was forced to make minor tweaks to the previously consented scheme after the Friends of the Great Hall – headed by the Queen’s gynaecologist Marcus Setchell – launched a judicial review against the cancer care centre plans.

But the legal challenge was dropped after the campaign group came to an agreement with Maggie’s and Barts Health NHS Trust before Christmas (see AJ 04.12.14).

The group, which had previously warned the project would have a massively detrimental impact on the hospital’s Grade I*-listed Great Hall by James Gibbs (1738), was appeased by a number of small-scale alterations to the scheme.

The latest designs include a number of alterations to the internal layout of the Holl building which will open up access from the North Block onto the centre’s secondary staircase to provide wheelchair access into the Great Hall. Toilets for those using the hall will also be added into the centre’s previously basement space.

Barts Health NHS Trust has also agreed to incorporate additional facilities within planned work on another building adjoining the North Wing.

The scheme, described as an ‘urban townhouse’, has had a troubled history. Maggie’s original proposals were rejected by the City last June (AJ 04.06.13) – the first time in the charity’s 18-year history one of its schemes had been turned down.

In response, and in an attempt to appease the objectors, the American architect moved the ‘lantern-like lightweight building’ away from the listed Great Hall and it scraped through planning by 11 votes to 10 in July (AJ 17.06.14).

The newly revised scheme was approved with 15 votes in favour and just two against.


Hopkins asked by the NHS Trust to look at heritage buildings at Barts identifying ‘essential improvements’ to the Great Hall, in James Gibbs’ 1738 North Wing, next to the 1960s finance block.

April 2010
Maggie’s invited by NHS Trust to create plans for a centre at Barts. Site confirmed, consultation begins. Steven Holl appointed.

February 2011
Trust Board approves Maggie’s Centre at Barts.

Mid 2012
Hopkins appointed by Friends of the Great Hall to draw up alternative plans to Holl’s proposals. Holl reveals first sketches.

February 2013
Holl submits plans for centre, which includes access from hall for toilets. Scheme recommended for approval. The Friends object.

June 2013
Holl’s Maggie centre rejected by planners. Maggie’s withdraw application.

July 2013
Donald Insall Associates appointed directly by NHS Trust to look at how Great Hall can be ‘self-sufficient’ and sit alongside Holl scheme.

February 2014
Trust Board reconfirm support for Maggie’s Centre. Hopkins submits rival plans on behalf of Friends for new cores on ends of North Wing.

March 2014
As landowners the Trust writes in objection to the Hopkins application.

April 2014
Holl submits revised plans. Trust board supports revised scheme. Hopkins wins planning for rival plans.

June 2014
Trust outlines vision for the future of the Great Hall.

July 2014
City of London set to hear Holl’s new plans.

July 2014
Holl wins planning for revised Maggie’s Centre scheme.

August 2014
Marcus Setchell, chairman of the Friends of the Great Hall, launches judicial review against the decision to award planning to Holl’s design.

December 2014
Maggie’s reaches an agreement with the group campaigning against the Maggie’s centre

February 2015
Steven Holl’s revised scheme wins planning


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