Frequently asked questions
Find out the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions below. If you cannot find the answer to your question on this page or other parts of the website, please email your queries to email@example.com.
What is Oriel?
Oriel is the joint initiative between Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology (IoO) and Moorfields Eye Charity that would see services move from their current premises near Old Street, Islington to a new, integrated centre on the St Pancras Hospital site in Camden.
This is our opportunity to create a world-leading centre for advancing eye health that is in keeping with the excellence of our talented workforce. Harnessing the expertise of the partners under one roof will enable us to deliver the highest-quality eye care, research and education.
Oriel, a word for a bay-window, was chosen as an appropriate name for our programme, referring to the central, light-filled space in the design of our new centre.
What would be the name of the new centre?
The name of the proposed centre has not been decided. We would retain the Moorfields and UCL brands.
Existing City Road and Bath Street buildings
Why can’t you redevelop the existing hospital on City Road?
In developing our plans, we assessed a number of options for improving services and facilities for our patients and a major renovation of City Road was considered but was found to be more expensive and disruptive (especially to patients) than building a new facility.
Although refurbishments go some way to improving the environment for our patients and staff, they are no substitute for purpose-built facilities that can modernise the patient journey and meet the growing demand for eye health services.
Moorfields received detailed feedback from patients, staff and the public relating to the changes and improvements they would like to see in their experience at the City Road hHospital and IoO research facilities. This feedback indicated broad support for the proposal to move services from City Road to a new centre.
From this work, we selected one preferred way forward, which was the creation of a new centre on land available at the St Pancras Hospital site near King’s Cross. This option could be realised with money from the sale of the City Road land, as well as contributions from central government and from our generous donors.
Why has St Pancras been chosen as the preferred site?
The site is part of London’s ‘Knowledge Quarter,’ which has one of the highest densities of knowledge based, cultural and scientific businesses anywhere in the world. We would be close to the UCL Bloomsbury campus and several of our voluntary sector and charity partners including the RNIB and Guide Dogs.
London is an ideal place to recruit and retain specialists, technicians, researchers and students.
The new location is close to three mainline railway stations (King’s Cross, St Pancras and Euston), making it accessible to large parts of the UK as well as to six London underground lines and the Overground. Building a new facility offers the space and flexibility to meet future changing needs.
Does Oriel have planning permission?
Oriel was granted planning permission by Camden Council in summer 2022 and is now subject to approval by the NHS and government regulators.
What happens next?
Over the coming months, we will begin the work of transforming part of the current St Pancras Hospital site into a world-leading centre for eye health, research, education and care services.
We are committed to working with the Camden community to minimise the impact that our works have on the local area and will be holding a series of engagement sessions to gather your feedback. Find out more about how you can provide feedback by visiting our Get Involved page.
When will you begin construction works?
We anticipate beginning preparation works on site in November 2022. You can see the full timeline for the proposed works on our From Design to Delivery page.
What impact will the construction works have?
While we are committed to minimising the impact that the construction phases have on our new neighbours, we understand that there will inevitably be some disruption. To ensure we take the right approach, local residents and businesses will be asked to provide feedback on our plans.
We will take a series of steps to limit the impact of our construction works and ensure our neighbours are kept updated on our progress, including:
- All ‘live’ hospital buildings on the St Pancras Hospital site will continue to be operational and accessible
- All construction-related traffic will be subject to a comprehensive management plan, overseen by on-site traffic marshals
- Noise and air quality monitors will be placed around the site to ensure levels do not exceed acceptable levels
- Site neighbours will be given advanced warning of any significant changes to existing vehicle/cycle/pedestrian routes
You can find out more about how we propose to manage the construction phases of Oriel on our From Design to Delivery page.
We also want local residents to continue to shape our approach throughout the construction process. You can provide your feedback by visiting our Get Involved page and completing a short survey.
When will Oriel be open? ?
Our target completion date is 2027.
How is the new centre being funded?
- proceeds from the sale of the City Road site
- donors to Moorfields Eye Charity and UCL’s fundraising campaign. You can find out more on our fundraising page.
- funds from Research England through the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund
- central government funding
- funds from Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL.
What’s happening to the existing services on the St Pancras Hospital site?
The five-acre site is owned by Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust. The plan would be to move existing mental health inpatient wards currently located at St Pancras Hospital to a new, purpose-built facility next to the existing Highgate Mental Health Centre and the Whittington Hospital.
As part of the wider redevelopment of the site, specialist community mental health services will remain in a newly designed building on the St Pancras site, while other mental health and physical health services will be moved elsewhere in Camden.
We are proposing to build on two acres of the site. Development of the remainder of the site is being brought forward by Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust’s development partner King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP). We are working closely with KCCLP to ensure a coordinated approach with its emerging masterplan.
For more information on Camden and Islington’s plans to redevelop their facilities, please visit their website.
What will happen to the Richard Desmond Children’s Eye Centre?
To provide the very best eye care for all patients both now and in the future, it is important that the Richard Desmond Children’s Eye Centre forms part of the proposed integrated facility. Therefore, the current services would relocate along with the rest of the City Road adult services.
What about the other Moorfields sites across London? / What would this mean for the rest of the Moorfields network?
The network of Moorfields services across London and further afield would continue to deliver and develop services for patients, as it does now. We would continue to adapt our wider care network to take advantage of new technology, advances in eye care and the many future opportunities offered by the proposed new centre.
How tall is the proposed building?
The building has two boomerang-shaped wings embracing a central space, which allows light to reach the centre of the whole building. The south-west wing is seven storeys, and the north wing is ten storeys high. This variation in height is to make sure that the building is in keeping with the local area, and not just one big block.
How sustainable is the proposed building?
The building is being designed to the highest environmental and wellbeing standards. The design draws inspiration from natural systems to achieve the sustainability objectives. The aim is to create a building that promotes the health and wellbeing of staff, patients and visitors, and achieves near-zero carbon emissions in operation, is air quality positive, and optimises the use of resources through applying circular economy principles.
Noise from the proposed external plant will be designed to be lower than the existing background levels during day and night.
Will there be publicly accessible amenities?
The ground floor of the atrium, spaced over two floors, will be a new public space for the city, with café and education spaces, art and exhibition space and displays showing the science and research carried out within the building. This space will be open from 7am to 7pm.
Heritage, sustainability and public realm
What about the heritage of the St Pancras area?
The St Pancras Hospital site sits within the Kings Cross St Pancras Conservation Area. It comprises a range of different historic buildings, from the Victorian era to post-war and more contemporary structures. The buildings the new facility will replace are primarily post-war and recognised to be of little historic value. These buildings are soon to be vacated by Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.
All of the buildings that define the area have distinct architectural characteristics from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, which creates a rich and diverse character. These include the King’s Cross Station (19th C), Camden Town Hall and the British Library (20th C) and St Pancras Station (21st C).
We have been mindful of our setting and context in developing the designs for Oriel and we believe our proposal will be a positive addition to this varied area, adding a further layer of history.
How will you preserve the historical legacy of Moorfields if the move goes ahead?
We know that staff and patients have formed a strong attachment to Moorfields over the years and there will be a dedicated exhibition space on the ground floor. We intend to use part of this space to help preserve memories of Moorfields and tell the story of the eye hospital’s evolution. We will welcome ideas from staff and patients so that we do justice to the legacy of Moorfields and honour it in the most appropriate way.
Transport and Accessibility
Will there be parking?
In line with London Borough of Camden’s policy on parking and the highly accessible location of the site, the proposed development will not have car parking (aside from disabled parking and drop-off).
Will there be bicycle parking?
There will be public spaces for people to lock their bikes, and dedicated secure bike storage for staff. In addition to cycle parking, there are two cycle docking stations within a short walk of the site, one of Royal College Street outside the Royal Veterinary College and one on Pancras Road outside St Pancras International station.
How will you ensure the location of the new centre is accessible for patients?
We are developing an accessibility plan in partnership with mobility experts, transport authorities, local authorities, patients and their families. The new location at St Pancras Hospital is close to three main railway stations (King’s Cross, St Pancras and Euston), making it accessible to large parts of the UK as well as to six London underground lines and the Overground.
We appointed Buro Happold to conduct stakeholder engagement for the ‘last half mile’ and co-design solutions for this challenge. This work refers specifically to the journey and user experience between the public transport links or vehicle drop-off area and entry to the proposed new centre.
The stakeholder engagement is focusing on the accessibility needs of many patients and visitors with a range of disabilities and age-related conditions, and especially the challenges for people with a variety of visual impairments from the point of arrival by public transport to entering the new centre itself. We will support partners such as Camden Council, TfL and Network Rail as appropriate to ensure an accessible route is available and clearly communicated to patients so that they feel confident with the new journey.
Will there be a patient drop off point?
Yes, this will be located along St Pancras Way.