The independent London newspaper

NHS staff told they can stay for now but block is under review

Draft plan said 150 new homes could be built on site near Whitestone Pond

01 December, 2020 — By Tom Foot

Queen Mary’s House in Hampstead

HOSPITAL chiefs have terminated a housing association’s lease, pav­ing the way for the sale of historic key worker homes at the top of Hampstead.

More than 50 Royal Free staff are living in the Newlon Housing-run block in Queen Mary’s House, near Whitestone Pond. The site – in one of the most sought valuable heights of Hampstead – has been linked to a possible sale to a private developer.

The Free says there are no plans for staff to leave their homes but that a review is underway into what to do with the site and whether alternative affordable social housing could be built.

A report to the board said that “if this step had not been taken under the terms of the lease there would not have been a further opportunity to break for 20 years”, adding: “At this point there will be no change for residential occupation.

The Royal Free has no immediate plans to sell or make changes to Queen Mary’s House, or the site, but will be reviewing options to drive best value out of the NHS estate.” Queen Mary’s House was refurbished in 2006, but in 2011 the main hospital with more than 100 mental health beds was closed in a round of cut-backs.

The Royal Free says the site is no longer “fit for modern healthcare” and in 2018 it was put up for sale and marketed as an “excellent opportunity” to “set a new standard in luxury living”.

In February, Camden Council’s draft “site allocations local plan” suggested that the site could be redeveloped into a 150-home complex.

The Royal Free has previously suggested alternative housing for nurses could be built in its car park, near Fleet Road, in Belsize Park.

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