Town Hall bid to stop Moorfields moving from Islington

Moorfields Eye Hosptital, in City Road

Moorfields Eye Hosptital, in City Road - Credit: Archant

A bid to keep a historic Victorian hospital in Islington has been launched by the town hall.

Moorfields Eye Hospital has been in the same building in City Road, Finsbury, since 1899 but is considering moving to new and improved premises in King’s Cross or Euston.

A recent public consultation on the relocation came out positively, it says, but Islington council chiefs want the hospital top brass to think again.

Cllr Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council, said: “I have written to Moorfields chief executive as part of the council’s response to their proposals to relocate to Euston Road.

“We want the hospital to stay in the borough and would welcome working with them to redevelop their current site to provide new medical facilities.”

“The council has strict planning policies in place to protect medical facilities and Moorfields will need to demonstrate that there is no demand for these before the council will consider alternative uses for the site.”

A spokesman for Moorfields NHS Trust said the directors wanted to set up a joint facility with research partners at University College London’s Institute of Ophthalmology.

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She added: “This followed an extensive options appraisal which looked at seven different ways of reconfiguring the existing buildings at City Road to meet our joint aims, and one to relocate elsewhere in London.

“Each option was evaluated on the basis of cost and on a range of qualitative issues and relocation scored higher than rebuilding at City Road against every criteria.”

She said no site has yet been identified, but the King’s Cross/Euston area was the most attractive because it was close to the hospital’s current location, was being redeveloped and is a major transport hub.

The hospital, which employes more than 1,700 people and sees 300,000 patients a year, was founded in 1805 as the London Dispensary for Curing Diseases of the Eye and Ear. It moved to its current site in 1899 and celebrated its bicentenary in 2005.