RHSC (‘Sick Kids’) site redevelopment – 9 Sciennes Road EH9 1LF

Forums Planning Applications RHSC (‘Sick Kids’) site redevelopment – 9 Sciennes Road EH9 1LF

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    Grange Planning

      In July 2018, the old Grange Association web forum included a thread advising of the planning applications for the redevelopment of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children (RHSC – “Sick Kids”) site in Sciennes Road.  That forum has been superseded by this forum but we have retained this archive copy of the posts there.  You are recommended to open and read that archive which contains links to the relevant documents at the time concerning the decisions taken.  Much of the concern at the time related to the preservation of the Phoebe Traquair murals in the A-listed mortuary chapel.  There are still no approved plans for how these will be accommodated.

      There have been numerous planning applications and variations to them in the subsequent months.  The list below summarises the current position:

      • 18/02719/FUL: Main application for site – Granted 03/08/2020 (with 8 conditions)
      • 18/02719/VARY: Variation: Affordable block: PV panels added – Granted
      • 18/02719/VAR2: Variation: Student block: Roof / cladding – Granted 28/10/2021
      • 18/02719/VAR3: Variation: Substation and window changes – Granted 21/07/2022


      • 18/02720/CON: Demolition in a conservation area – Granted
      • 18/02722/LBC: Hospital block alterations – Granted 15/02/2019
      • 18/02723/LBC: Millerfield Place alterations – Granted
      • 18/02725/LBC: Alteration to Mortuary Chapel (MC) – Awaiting decision
      • 21/00331/LBC: External alterations to MC (removal of link buildings) – Granted 21/05/2021
      • 23/02599/FUL: Increase 12 car park spaces to 18 – Awaiting assessment
      • 23/02663/LBC: Changes to internal details and roofing – Refused 21/08/2023


      The whole site was acquired initially by Downing Group, whose specialism is the provision of purpose-built student accommodation.  Following the grants of planning permission for the redevelopment of the site, Downing has divested all other parts.  The student accommodation is nearly complete and is scheduled for occupation for the academic year 2023-24.

      The affordable housing is to be constructed by the Home Group, which is expecting to start work on site in October 2023 with a projected completion date of July 2025.

      The rest of the site (Lots 1 – 7 below) has been sold to Square & Crescent, who will redevelop the former B-listed hospital building and the houses in Rillbank Terrace and Millerfield Place for residential sales.


      Grange Planning

        Additional car parking in front of former hospital building

        There is now a further planning application, 23/02599/FUL, seeking to increase the number of parking spaces in front of the main former hospital building from 12 to 18.  The provision of any parking here at all is contentious, as it contravenes planning guidance for listed buildings, and requires vehicle access along Sciennes Road.  The original proposals by the developers (prior to the formal planning application) had an underground car park under the main frontage, accessed from Rillbank Terrace at the rear and under the west link wing (see image below), with the frontage raised slightly to accommodate the parking below.  This would have allowed the frontage to include soft landscaping over the car park with a memorial garden and access to the former Children’s Mortuary Chapel, with the Phoebe Traquair murals.


        (Original proposal – prior to planning application)

        The removal of this underground parking and the placement of vehicles in front of the listed building was one of the principal objections we submitted to the original planning application in July 2018.  Parking in front of the main building will require vehicle access along Sciennes Road, close to the primary school, which could otherwise have been stopped up to motor traffic from Sylvan Place.

        The planning application was granted, including just 12 parking spaces in the frontage of the main building.  The latest application seeks to increase that to 18.

        Grange Planning

          LBC refused for changes to balcony windows

          Application 23/02663/LBC has been refused. The proposed changes included the removal of the original windows to the balconies of the side wings and replacement with modern windows, because the original stone surrounds to the windows have been found to be badly damaged.  The windows were hidden from view by the hospital’s functional but unsympathetic extensions to the balconies, as seen in this 2010 streetview, with the East wing’s original balconies encased in a modern extension to the front, which is being removed.

          In stripping out the interior of the building, the developers have identified damage to the original stone window mullions caused during the hospital’s alterations to the building. They therefore proposed to remove these windows and replace them with modern alternatives.  The application included these photos from the worksite, showing the damaged second floor window to the East balcony from (the original) outside of the building and from the inside.

          However, the Council’s planners have refused the application for changes to this B-listed building, which means that the developers will have to repair the original windows to restore them to their original condition. In refusing the application, the Case Office wrote:

          “The existing stone window surrounds to the projecting wings (although currently internal) are an important part of the original fabric and design. From the internal view the loss of these features would represent a substantial loss of character. Externally, although these features are/were covered by the later outer additions, the removal of these were part of the agreed works and the re-exposure of the ornate windows was part of the expected overall conservation gain in the major conversion of the building as a whole. The removal of these features would represent a dilution of character.

          “Moreover [….the] replacement of these original features with simple modern glazed openings  of rectangular form would represent a substantial loss of character and is unacceptable for this reason.”

          The developer has until 20 November 2023 to lodge an appeal against this decision.


          A new application 23/03926/LBC was submitted on 25 August 2023, repeating the application for Listed Building Consent for replacement of the roof and changes to other windows and doors, but omitting the proposed new windows on the balconies, which had been the reason for the refusal and which will be the subject of a separate revised application later.

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