Engagement so far
As part of the early engagement on our vision to create a new cancer centre we have met with key stakeholders, local groups, residents’ associations and our closest neighbours.
Our project team has held a series of meetings with key stakeholders to introduce our vision and hear initial feedback. So far, we have met with:
Sydney Street and District Residents’ Association
The Chelsea Society
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Leader, Deputy Leader, Lead Member for Planning, Place and Environment and Stanley Ward Councillor
South West London Integrated Care Board
Dovehouse Street Residents’ Association
Royal Avenue Residents’ Association
Felicity Buchan – MP for Kensington
North West London Integrated Care Board
We are continuing to hold further stakeholder meetings. If you would like to meet with our team to discuss the proposals, please do get in touch with our consultation team on RMConsultation@londoncommunications.co.uk.
Webinar for close neighbours
On 5 July 2022, we held a webinar for our closest neighbours on Stewart’s Grove, Sydney Street, Guthrie Street and Cale Street. The webinar provided an opportunity to hear more about our early vision for the proposed new cancer centre and ask any questions.
In this webinar we heard that the key priorities for local residents are:
Height and massing
Ensuring that both height and massing are in-keeping with the local area and respectful of the adjacent residential streets
Understanding of how waste management and the kitchens would be serviced via Stewart’s Grove
Ensuring residents can provide their feedback on the proposed designs
Our Chelsea location
Continuing to work with other NHS partners in the borough to explore opportunities to maximise our existing estate
Thank you to everyone who has engaged with us so far. This early engagement has been a useful exercise to help us understand the priorities of our local community before we appoint an architect and begin the design process. We will be back in touch later this year once this is underway.
Your questions answered
As Royal Brompton is considering moving from their site, have you considered using their space instead?
The future of the Royal Brompton site is not yet clear. We do not want to delay plans for an essential new facility when we do not have certainty that we would be able to purchase this space. We need to tackle the capacity issues quickly, and we can only have this certainty and control by building on our own site.
For the cancer centre to perform as an integrated part of our site, there needs to be easy access to it from our hospital for both staff and patients. Co-location is key to our plans, and the type of services that we need to expand must have connectivity to our current facilities, such as additional theatre space connecting to the current theatre suite, and the critical care unit being next to or near the theatres.
Despite there being no plans yet, you suggest a new centre would need 10,000 sqm of space. How much of the existing car park will be built on if 10,000sqm is required?
We haven’t yet appointed architects, so can’t provide a level of detail that would show how it would all come together in terms of storeys or square footage. We have taken a clinical brief to determine how much space we anticipate we will need to deliver future care to patients.
We don’t yet have an indication for how much of the car park would need to be built on, as this would also depend on the height of the building, but once we do have a plan, we will share this with you.
How will kitchens and waste disposal be serviced if access through the car park is lost?
We will be able to effectively answer questions regarding access and servicing once we have more formalised plans. Access and servicing will be considered by the architects as they develop their proposals.
There are outstanding historic planning issues on your site, how can we be confident that you will achieve all the necessary permissions from the council before starting work?
We are aware of some instances in the past where temporary structures did not have planning approval before construction, or where a change of use was made such as at Dame Unity House to offer overnight accommodation for relatives of patients. Where this has happened we have worked to correct these errors and these have been approved with the Council.
Members of the Sydney Street and District Residents’ Association, and other local residents, would like to be consulted with and be involved in the design process from the very start. Is that something that you can do?
We are at the very start of this project and holding this meeting before an architect has even been appointed. Once this project has progressed, we will be in touch with information on next steps and we will ensure that local residents are involved in the full process.
Is the commercial rationale for developing the site in Chelsea, rather than elsewhere, fundamentally driven by the demand from overseas patients?
No, this project is not being driven by demand from overseas patients. We haven’t presented a commercial rational at this stage as it is important to highlight the clinical rationale for why we need to deliver this proposed cancer centre. We will of course need to develop the business case but this is being driven by our long-standing presence within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Why do you want to stay in Chelsea?
We are proud to be a part of Kensington and Chelsea – as a world-leading cancer centre, as an employer and a neighbour. We have a long history in this location: it is our home and we do not have any plans to leave.
In 2020, RB Kensington & Chelsea published a Supplementary Planning Document in response to the NHS plans to merge Royal Brompton and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trusts which put Royal Brompton’s presence in the borough at risk. In this document, the council described Chelsea as an ‘internationally renowned medical hub on our doorstep’, specifically siting the presence of The Royal Marsden, Institute of Cancer Research, and Royal Brompton.
This document set out a passionate case for preserving medical and healthcare uses in this part of the borough. The council is clear that Chelsea is an essential hub for world-class healthcare and medical research, and that The Royal Marsden is a key part of this offer. Our proposals represent a tangible investment in our site which allows us to stay competitive and innovative, preserving Chelsea’s place on the map as a global centre of excellence in healthcare and medical research.
We are proposing to add to our hospital sensitively, respecting the rich heritage and history of our buildings, so that we can secure our future here and offer the very best care for patients who are London-based or who travel to London for our specialist care.
Who have you engaged with so far?
Our project team has held a series of meetings with key stakeholders to introduce our vision and hear initial feedback. So far, we have met with the following:
- Sydney Street and District Residents’ Association
- The Chelsea Society
- The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
- Leader, Deputy Leader, Lead Member for Planning, Place and Environment and Stanley Ward Councillor
- South West London Integrated Care Board
- Dovehouse Street Residents’ Association
- Royal Avenue Residents’ Association
- Felicity Buchan – MP for Kensington
- NHS England
- North West London Integrated Care Board
Will this project definitely be going ahead? How much influence do we have on the proposals?
We are at a very early stage of developing our proposals and this project is not a definite. So far, we have undertaken some initial assessments to set the parameters for the project but have not undertaken detailed design work. This early work includes a heritage assessment and a review of the constraints and opportunities for developing this site, including the potential internal footprint available. This initial work does not constitute a detailed plan, which is expected to evolve once we have appointed a design team.
We are committed to a comprehensive programme of engagement with the local community around our proposals and will share early concept designs for feedback as soon as we are ready to.
The project is also dependent on the success of a significant fundraising appeal by The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity to cover the majority of the costs.
What is the existing footprint of Grove House?
Grove House has a gross internal area of 442 sqm. As part of the plans, we would propose to take down Grove House and some of the Oratory School building. The Oratory School has a gross internal area of 3,983 sqm and part of this building would be demolished in Phase 1.
How will this plan differ to the application submitted in 2007? What lessons have been learned?
Our initial vision for the new cancer centre is built around our current healthcare needs, and therefore looks different now compared to 2007. The previous application was for laboratory-based services, and this cancer centre is being proposed in response to clinical and research needs, right across the spectrum of services we deliver at Chelsea.
At present, this project is at the conceptual stage, and we will learn from the lessons of the 2007 application, however, they are fundamentally different projects.
We withdrew the plans in 2007 because we considered it better to co-locate with the facilities in Sutton. This proposed cancer centre really needs to be delivered at Chelsea to fulfil the needs of our future patient cohort.
How will you mitigate the issues that were previously raised in the 2007 planning application – such as overlooking and loss of light?
We would need to consider these issues at the start of the planning process. Once we have appointed an architect team, we will work with them and with the community to understand what we can achieve here and how we can mitigate the impact of any new building on this site for our neighbours.
Have you examined whether there are any services on site that could be moved off to accommodate the clinical need? Do all of the research functions, for example, need to be on site?
We have already built a lot of additional space, particularly to set up an admin and corporate function in Wallington. There is only one corporate facility of any size left on site at Chelsea (at Stewart’s House).
We have built a new research facility in Sutton which will open in early 2023 and the Oak Cancer Centre in Sutton which provides an improvement on existing facilities and offers increased capacity. Even with the new building in Sutton, we won’t be able to meet the clinical needs of the future, which will outstrip the current space that we have.
If we moved any further clinical functions off the site in Chelsea, it would mean local residents will need to have treatments in Sutton. While a small amount of that can happen, it is best that the treatment and aftercare is on a single site to avoid fragmenting care.
We can confidently identify and describe why certain services need to be in Chelsea and will do so as part of our planning consultation.
What is the percentage of patients and revenue that stems from local versus international populations?
The largest part of our work is serving patients of London and the South East. We do international work, as we have some rare types of cancer that we treat and sometimes an intervention is complex and needs a specialist to respond. The majority of our client base is local, but we also bring a national and international interest with our research and trials work.
How will you ensure this project is funded so that you can continue to deliver operationally?
This project will primarily be donor funded, made possible by the generosity of supporters of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. An expert external advisor has collated the initial costings for the new building in Chelsea, and the budget includes significant contingency for risk and price inflation.
The new building will improve the hospital’s ongoing cost efficiency on a per patient basis. For example, the redevelopment will demolish and replace older buildings that currently host a range of support services and laboratories but are inefficient both for modern workflows and on energy usage. The new building will be carbon neutral, which will reduce ongoing energy costs.
The Royal Marsden has recent experience of managing a significant construction project with the charity-funded Oak Cancer Centre at its Sutton site. This project faced the usual building cost pressures, exacerbated by the uncertainty of COVID-19 and Brexit. These have been successfully managed through collaborative planning, working with expert advisors, and making decisions on what to deprioritise if required.
How many households were informed about this webinar?
We wanted to ensure that we spoke to our closest neighbours first and so we hand delivered letters to 65 of the closest homes to the hospital on Stewart’s Grove, Sydney Street, Guthrie Street and Cale Street.
If you would like to contact our consultation team at this stage, please fill out the enquiry form below or use the Freephone line or email address and a member of the team will respond to you.
0800 092 1866