Cambridge Children’s Hospital seeks planning permission for early designs

Cambridge Children’s Hospital has taken another step forward this week by submitting a planning application to Cambridge City Council for the Hospital’s early designs.

The submission of the formal ‘reserved matters’ planning application builds on the existing outline planning permission, which was granted for the site previously. The early designs and floor plans were shared with the Council’s planning committee in August.

With an estimated total footprint of around 36,000sq m , including 5000sq m of research space , the drawings are an early indication of how this innovative hospital might look when it opens in 2025. The plans also include details of possible future development for the hospital beyond 2025.

Built on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, the hospital will be the region’s first dedicated children’s hospital, caring for children and young people from Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. Embedding genomic and psychological research alongside clinical expertise in physical and mental child health, Cambridge Children’s Hospital will be a brand new state-of-the-art hospital designed to take care of the whole child, not just their illness. And it will pass on that knowledge to international hospitals and institutions, sharing ground-breaking research with the aim of benefiting as many young people as possible.

Meanwhile, work continues on developing the Outline Business Case, which has to be approved by HM Treasury, and on the fundraising campaign which was announced earlier in 2021. There is still much further to go before building work can begin and the vision for this much-needed facility is realised.

This is a big milestone for Cambridge Children’s Hospital, not only in planning terms, but in sharing 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.
Andrew Tollick, Senior Programme Manager for Design and Construction, Cambridge Children’s Hospital

An international design team, comprised of experts from Turner & Townsend, Hawkins\Brown, White Arkitekter, Ramboll and MJ Medical, with support from Planning Consultants, Bidwells and Fire Consultants, Alfor, have been engaging with staff from across the partner organisations about how the hospital should work. 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 hospital’s form is designed to encourage play and bring in light.  Outdoor courtyards at all levels give children opportunities to interact, learn, empathise, and heal.  Distributing these spaces throughout the building brings natural light and air into the depth of the plan, creating visual connections across wards, while dramatically reducing the building’s operational lighting requirements.  Cambridge Children’s Hospital is designed with Passivhaus principals and will meet BREAAM Excellent as a minimum.

The environmental impact of Cambridge Children’s Hospital has been a major consideration in the development of these plans. The 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 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. The main hospital building will itself be enclosed within a wide landscaped green perimeter that recreates the feel of a summer meadow.

The project’s holistic approach focusing on the whole child is ground-breaking and will hopefully inspire many generations of new hospitals!
Cristiana Caira, Healthcare Design Lead Architect at White Arkitekter

– Redefining the boundaries between mental and physical health is already being discussed in the UK and Scandinavia but this project turns the page in the history of hospital planning, integrating physical and mental health of children and young people, alongside the world-leading research of Cambridge University. It has been incredibly interesting to be part of this journey, and our amazing design team has worked closely with the staff, parents, and children to design a completely new typology of hospital that addresses all needs and aspirations. The design of the whole building will be psychologically informed, founded in the knowledge that architecture contributes to healing and patient wellbeing. This will be a place to learn, play, heal and recover – indoors and out, says Cristiana Caira.

Contact Person

Cristiana Caira

Cristiana Caira



+46 31 60 87 77

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