Green light for major new Cambridge Children's Hospital

Cambridge Children's Hospital and Max Rowlandson, who fundraised for the unit in November

Cambridge Children's Hospital and Max Rowlandson, who fundraised for the unit in November - Credit: White Arkitekter and Hawkins/Brown/Rowlandson family

The team in charge of building East Anglia's first children's hospital has said it is "delighted" to have received planning permission for the scheme.

Early designs and floorplans for the new Cambridge Children's Hospital were agreed at a Greater Cambridge councils meeting on March 16.

The new NHS unit would sit on the biomedical campus, near the existing Addenbrooke's Hospital.

The hospital would treat children throughout the East of England, which is the only region in England not to have a specialist children's hospital.

An artists' impression of the proposed Cambridge Children's Hospital

An artists' impression of the proposed Cambridge Children's Hospital - Credit: White Arkitekter and Hawkins/Brown

Andrew Tollick, senior programme manager for design and construction, said the council's decision marks a "big step" in the project.

Mr Tollick 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.

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"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."

The hospital will measure 35,000 square metres, which includes 5,000 square metres of research space.

Outline planning permission to expand the Cambridge Biomedical Campus was granted in 2009.

Funding is being sought from the UK government treasury to build the hospital, and fundraising efforts have already begun throughout the region.

In Essex, Max Rowlandson - who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of two - began fundraising in November.

Max, now 13, from Saffron Walden, and his mum Jodie thought that the idea of a children's hospital was a "pipe dream" 10 years ago.

Max Rowlandson, aged 13, from Saffron Walden

Max Rowlandson, aged 13, ran a fundraiser for the hospital in November - Credit: Rowlandson family

Jodie said: "A dedicated children's hospital was a pipe dream for us.

"There were many occasions where we would go and there would be no room on the specialist ward."

Max Rowlandson's cancer story was transformed into a film.

The film, Maximus, was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2021.

Another 11-year-old boy, Tristan, is part of the Cambridge Children's Network which contributed to the hospital design.

Tristan said: "I did a design programme with a group of people who help design the hospital.

"It was fun and we got to join in a lot.

"When I saw the drawings there were bits of greenery inside the hospital, right in the centre, and I knew I had something to do with that. It made me feel proud."

A drawing of a proposed interior space in the new Cambridge Children's Hospital

A drawing of a proposed interior space in the new Cambridge Children's Hospital - Credit: White Arkitekter and Hawkins/Brown

The team at Greater Cambridge Shared Planning praised the hospital's "sustainable" design.

Councillors gave the building the green light.

Councillor Anna Bradnam is the chair of the Joint Development Control Committee in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire.

Cllr Bradnam said: "We have seen the application through various stages.

"We are pleased to see the application proceed beyond this stage.

"Its green credentials and its contribution to net-zero ambitions are excellent.

"The hospital will be of benefit to children in Cambridgeshire and beyond.

"We think it will be an extremely welcoming place for parents and children."

The project is being led by the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Cambridge.