Plans for Oriel, a brand new centre that would bring patient-centred eye care, cutting-edge research and exemplary education under one roof have been submitted to Camden Council. The Oriel proposal is a joint initiative between Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (Moorfields), UCL Institute of Ophthalmology (IoO) and Moorfields Eye Charity.
Subject to the necessary approvals in place and conditions being met, Moorfields and UCL IoO services would move from their current premises in Islington to Camden’s Knowledge Quarter, an internationally renowned hub for science and innovation. Designed to be accessible, flexible and sustainable, the purpose-built centre would optimise the integration of eye care, research and education on two acres of the St Pancras hospital site. This would benefit patients by enabling the speedier delivery of new treatments and therapies.
David Probert, chief executive of Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said:
This truly is a significant milestone for Oriel and the future of patient-centred eye care. I’m particularly proud of the way we’ve incorporated feedback from local people, patients, staff, researchers and academics in our plans.
The new eye health centre would be a world first, and has been designed to accommodate the greatest integration between research and patient care. Now we’re turning our attention to the next stage in the evolution of Oriel. For the rest of this year we’ll be continuing our engagement with users about the interior of the building. I look forward to hearing how collectively we can create a centre that delivers the best possible outcomes for people with eye conditions and meets the needs of our internationally renowned workforce.
Professor Alan Thompson, Dean of the UCL Faculty of Brain Sciences, said:
World-class research, innovation and education merit a first-rate facility. The new location in the heart of Camden’s Knowledge Quarter would maximise opportunities for collaborative working and bring us closer to colleagues in other UCL schools and faculties.
Oriel will enable us to undertake ground-breaking research and advance our knowledge about the eye. This in turn will translate into tangible benefits for patients, putting our work centre-stage in an iconic building designed to attract the very best students and academics.
Robert Dufton, Chief Executive at Moorfields Eye Charity, said:
Philanthropy is a key component of the Oriel proposal. In partnership with UCL we are committed to raising £100 million in philanthropic support for Oriel.
The submission of the planning application signals that the new world-leading centre for advancing eye health is moving a step closer towards the delivery stage. Philanthropy will be critical to the realisation of our ambitious plans and we are delighted with the level of interest so far.
A programme of public consultation ran from July so that members of the local community in Camden, Moorfields and UCL staff, patients, carers and representatives of those with sight loss had the opportunity to shape the design of the proposed building.
The next stage of engagement will address in detail the design of the building’s interior, specifically the atrium, lighting and acoustics. Feedback from our previous engagement has indicated that these elements are of particular importance to patients’ experience of the new building. Open engagement sessions, due to be held later this month, will provide further information for the design strategies that underpin these elements.
AECOM with Penoyre & Prasad and White Arkitekter were appointed as the design team in January last year. Collectively they have a track record of delivering high-quality healthcare environments across the world.
The flexible design of the proposed new centre would enable the partners to bring together eye care, research and education for the first time, attracting the best ophthalmic scientists, educators and clinicians while focusing on patient care.
Oriel is part of a wider masterplan for the five-acre St Pancras Hospital site with plans being brought forward separately by King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP) for mixed-use development on the remaining three acres of land. Camden Council is expected to make its decision about the planning application early in the New Year. If Oriel gets approved, the new centre could be open to patients in 2025/26.
You can view the application on Camden’s planning portal website by searching for the application number 2020/4825/P.