The new Cambridge Children’s Hospital has been granted planning permission by Cambridge City Council’s Planning Committee, where it was unanimously approved.

The approved application was submitted in October 2021 and builds on the existing outline planning permission which was granted for the site previously.

The hospital will be situated on Cambridge Biomedical Campus, 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, marketing itself as a ‘hospital without walls’.

The scheme will incorporate genomic and psychological research alongside clinical expertise in physical and mental child health, creating a state-of-the-art hospital designed to take care of the whole child, not just their illness.

The hospital has an estimated total footprint of around 35,000 sq m, including 5,000 sq m of research space. The plans also include details of possible future development for the hospital.

Work continues on developing the Outline Business Case, which has to be approved by NHS England Improvement (NHSE/I) and the Department of Health, and on the fundraising campaign which was announced in 2021.

Hawkins\Brown is collaborating alongside White Arkitekter as part of an international design team, led by Turner & Townsend, with Ramboll providing engineering services, MJ Medical providing healthcare planning and Bidwells acting as planning consultants.

Andrew Tollick, senior programme manager for design and construction, 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. 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.”

Negar Mihanyar, associate director and project lead at Hawkins\Brown said: “This is a 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. The hospital will serve children and young people in their most formative years, so we have a responsibility to create a welcoming and empathetic space. We valued the insights and creativity that came from co-designing with children, young people, parents, and carers as well as staff across the two NHS Trusts and the University of Cambridge, who have generously supported us while working tirelessly through the pandemic.”

The environmental impact of the scheme has been a major consideration in the development of these plans. Cambridge Children’s Hospital aims to be an exemplar in sustainability as part of its role in providing a safer future for all.

The hospital will include as many outdoor spaces as possible, including gardens, courtyards and terraces to provide access to nature and spaces for play and relaxation that support biodiversity and wildlife. 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.”

Cambridge Children’s Hospital will sit opposite the Rosie Maternity Hospital on Robinson’s Way.

Image source: Hawkins\Brown Architects

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