The drive to develop a new children’s hospital in Cambridge has taken another step forward as planning permission was granted last week for its early designs and floor plans.
The early external hospital designs received the thumbs up from the Cambridge City Council Planning Committee on Wednesday, with all members ‘resolved to award consent’ for the proposals.
Built on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, the hospital will care for children and young people from across the east of England – Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire – but also nationally and internationally as a ‘hospital without walls’.
Embedding genomic and psychological research alongside clinical expertise in physical and mental child health, the facility will be a new state-of-the-art hospital designed to take care of the whole child, not just their illness.
The international design team is led by Turner & Townsend as project manager and cost manager, and comprises an architectural collaboration between HawkinsBrown and White Arkitekter, with Ramboll providing engineering services, MJ Medical providing healthcare planning, and planning consultancy by Bidwells.
Cambridge Children’s Hospital is grounded in the vision of ‘a whole new way’ and enables a radical change in the model of care for children and young people by putting the whole child at the centre, while integrating their physical, mental, and social health
Approval of the October 2021 planning application builds on the existing outline planning permission which was granted for the site previously.
With an estimated total footprint of around 35,000sq m, including 5,000sq m of research space, the early designs show how this innovative hospital might look when it opens and include details of possible future development for the hospital.
Meanwhile, work continues on developing the Outline Business Case, which has to be approved by NHSE/I and the Department of Health, and on the fundraising campaign, which was announced last year.
Andrew Tollick, senior programme manager for design and construction at Cambridge Children’s Hospital, said: “I’m delighted that we have taken another big step towards making Cambridge Children’s Hospital a reality.
“There is still a long way to go before building work can begin, but planning approval for the early external designs is a rock-solid foundation.
The design proposes a radical new approach to the model of care for children, encompassing their physical, mental and social health
“We are determined to realise our vision for ‘a whole new way’: one that integrates children’s mental and physical health services alongside world-class research to provide holistic, personalised care in a state-of-the-art facility.”
Its landmark design for a state-of-the-art healthcare facility, with its focus on sustainability and wellbeing, will set a new standard of paediatric care as an example for other hospitals across the UK and beyond to follow
The project team has been engaging with staff from across the partner organisations about how the hospital should work and members of Cambridge Children’s Network, which is made up of children, young people, parents, and carers from across the region, have also been instrumental in helping shape how the facility might look and feel in these early designs.
The environmental impact has been a major consideration in the development of the plans, with the hospital earmarked to be an exemplar in sustainability.
The hospital will include as many outdoors spaces as possible, including gardens, courtyards, and terraces, to provide access to nature and spaces for play and relaxation that support biodiversity and wildlife. And the main hospital building will itself be enclosed within a wide landscaped green perimeter that recreates the feel of a summer meadow.
Clinton Green, director at Turner & Townsend and design team project director, said: “The new hospital is a trailblazer in how integrated children’s mental and physical care is delivered.
“Its landmark design for a state-of-the-art healthcare facility, with its focus on sustainability and wellbeing, will set a new standard of paediatric care as an example for other hospitals across the UK and beyond to follow.
“The speed of reaching the major milestone of planning permission approval is testament to the expertise and collaborative efforts of the entire design team, working side by side with the Cambridge Children’s Hospital team on this important journey.”
This is an important milestone, not just for the project, but also for how we design holistic and inclusive healthcare in the UK – a long overdue breakdown of the traditional silos of mental and physical care
Negar Mihanyar, associate director and project lead at HawkinsBrown added: “This is an important milestone, not just for the project, but also for how we design holistic and inclusive healthcare in the UK – a long overdue breakdown of the traditional silos of mental and physical care.
“It will serve children and young people in their most formative years, so we have a responsibility to create a welcoming and empathetic space.”
And Cristiana Caira, White Arkitetker partner and project lead, told BBH: “We have worked at an intensive pace and in close collaboration with children, families, and clinical staff to achieve this milestone and we are immensely proud to be part of it.
“Cambridge Children’s Hospital is grounded in the vision of ‘a whole new way’ and enables a radical change in the model of care for children and young people by putting the whole child at the centre, while integrating their physical, mental, and social health.
“The design team has been working to translate this vision into a new typology for healthcare and, as a result, Cambridge Children’s Hospital is the first co-located facility of its kind in the world and a role model for a new generation of hospitals.”