Examination of Witnesses (Questions 63-77)|
NATALIE BENNETT, ROB INGLIS, AND FRANKIE BINEY
9 FEBRUARY 2011
Our second group of witnesses is from the St Pancras and Somers
Town Planning Action group. May I, first of all, invite you to
introduce yourselves for the record?
My name is Natalie Bennett. I am the chair of SPA.
Rob Inglis: My
name is Rob Inglis. I am the press officer of SPA.
I am Frankie Biney and a member of SPA.
Thank you very much. You heard the earlier evidence that we have
taken. No doubt that is going to help inform some of your responses.
There is a group of MPs who represent a diverse set of constituencies
here, including mine, which, supposedly, has the second biggest
hazard site in England. We might be pressing you very hard on
some issues but not without some understanding of your concerns.
In your written evidence to the Committee you acknowledge
the benefits of creating a medical research centre in the UK.
Is that correct?
Very much so. We are not at all opposed to medical research. We
very much respect the work that scientists do. There are, as has
been referred to earlier, some opponents of the labs who have
concerns about that, but that does not represent either our view
or the view of the people of St Pancras and Somers Town ward.
However, it is interesting that the consortium, when they first
started talking to us, said the things that they were going to
do were going to be great for the health of the people of St Pancras
and Somers Town. Perhaps we will have a chance later to tell you
a bit more about St Pancras and Somers Town, but it is a very
disadvantaged community, a very low-income community, where people
don't often have access to healthy food or the chance to exercise.
They live in overcrowded housing. There is a lack of hope and
economic opportunity. We don't need research or medical science
to give us the answer to those things. In terms of the health
of Somers Town, there is not a lot to offer, but we think medical
science is a good thing and we are not opposed to it in any way
Having a concentration of high-quality jobs on your doorstep is
not a disadvantage, is it?
Under the section 106 agreement they have made with the council,
they are offering 20 building apprenticeships. Of course, that
will only be during the construction period. They are talking
about five lab apprenticeships a year. In a community of 13,000
people, many of whom are unemployed, five jobs a year is obviously
not to be sneezed at, but we are not talking about a significant
impact on the community in that sense.
Do you agree with the evidence that you have heard from the four
partners that clustering scientists together will be beneficial
to medical research in the UK?
It is immediately obvious that we are not medical experts, but
because we have been very interested in this project we have had
a lot of calls to look into it. I come from a science background.
My first degree was science, although I don't call myself a scientist.
One of the things that I, personally, have been very interested
in is that Sir John Savill said he produced one peer-reviewed
paper which indicated that there were benefits from the sort of
clustering that he was talking about. That is interesting, because
I have been asking for at least the last yearI have been
involved with this particularly wearing another hatfor
evidence from peer-review journals that showed the evidence for
this rather than just an assertion that this was the case. I am
pleased that there is one peer-reviewed paper, but one peer-reviewed
paper perhaps only goes so far.
One of the things that did not come up in the
discussion earlier is the idea that physical proximity is necessary
for clustering in this day and age, given that we all have Skype,
video-conferencing and instant messaging. I am sure that most
of us in our daily lives use those and are quite close to people
we may never even have met but with whom we have regular contact.
Why is it the case, in this day and age, that clustering requires
a physical proximity? That is a very 20th century idea in the
Clustering is one thing, but packing people
in like sardines, which some of your questions have attested to,
is another question altogether. If you look at our submission,
there is a memorandum from Steven Ley from the NIMR from 2004
that your predecessors heard. He was expressing great concern
about the move into central London. The expansive 47 acres at
Mill Hill being crammed into 3 acres in central London was something
about which he expressed great concern. That was an expression
of concern from within the medical research community. There really
have to be some questions about cramming people together in this
Finally, there is one more point I would like
to make on this. Pharmaceutical companies seem to be moving away
from large centralised research facilities, as we have seen recently
with Pfizer at Sandwich. Is this actually the way forward or is
this a 20th century dinosaur that is being left? Having raised
that point, I am going to refer to Rob, who has some more to say
Rob Inglis: I want
to put some contrasts in scientific research. Guido Pontecorvo,
the geneticist who became the head of Cancer Research UK, had
previously pioneered genetics at Glasgow University, where he
had made important discoveries in a very modest setting
originally a bombed-out basement, with one 15-year-old apprentice
and a wastepaper basket for a filing system.
Let us leap forward to the present, where scientists
at Mill Hill on 47 acres have achieved Nobel awards and have developed
translational science in collaboration with Cancer Research UK,
UCL and hospitals, clinics and universities throughout London,
Britain and overseas.
Now we envisage a superlab on 3.6 acres at St Pancras
to speed up the time it takes to develop new treatments from bench
to bedside because the cathedral for science will be within walking
distance of the partnersWellcome, UCL and Cancer Research.
If speed is so important, why within walking distance? Why not
sprinting distance? And St Pancras would be convenient for visiting
scientists. It would also be a short distance for any infectious
escape from the lab, but that was not considered.
Q67 Graham Stringer:
This project has funding permission; it is funded. What are your
In short, we are relying on you. You are, realistically, our last
hope. Perhaps there is a faint hope that there might be a Government
reconsideration given the fact that we are talking about £220
million of Government money. I am sure that all of you in your
individual constituencies can think of a lot of things that you
could do with £220 million. What has happened with this project
all along is that it has been rushed along with some very influential
people going, "It's great, it's great, it's great."
It's a high prestige, high profile project.
We are the people of Somers Town. People have been
opposed to this, but for many of the people who have been opposed
to this, like Steven Ley, about whom I was speaking earlier, it
is very difficult to oppose from within the scientific community.
As I am sure you are all aware, the scientific community is quite
close-knit. If you are involved in medical research, you know
who will be peer reviewing your research papers and who will be
considering your application for research funding. It is a very
close-knit community. It is very difficult.
For us to directly answer your question, there are
two things. We can hope that the Government look at that £220
million and think that there are many other important things they
could do with it, or, secondly, having looked at this project
criticallyand I was very impressed by the questions this
morning that you clearly are looking at it criticallyyou
could say, "This is a really bad idea and we are the people
who are going to say that this is a bad idea and you should stop."
That is what I would very much hope for.
Rob Inglis: Could
I add to that that the financial situation in Britain is degenerating
rapidly? It is going to take four years, so UKCMRI say, to build
this and four years to bring people from one place and all the
instruments in. But what if something happens as happened with
the construction of the British Library, which was delayed for
15 years because of various things, including flooding and the
water table, into which they had to drive piles as deep as the
engineer knew anywhere in London. The same sort of things will
have to happen with UKCMRI. Who knows what unforeseen delays there
may be? How many years will it be before this vast construction
is completed and before it begins to deliver science?
We ask that you consider the tremendous cost of the
building, the time involved and that during that time money is
not being spent directly on scientific research. So far as cancer
goes, we heard one of the councillors who was on our side, in
the hearing in Camden, saying that she had collected money for
cancer charities. She said, "How will cancer charities feel
if they think their money is going into this massive building
when it ought to be going more directly to help with research?"
Q68 Graham Stringer:
Can you tell me what your main safety and security problems are?
You have heard the evidence of previous witnesses.
Rob Inglis: Yes.
Q69 Graham Stringer:
There is nothing unusual about having this level of hazard within
urban areas. The people involved have very good safety records.
Why don't you believe them? What are your concerns?
Rob Inglis: First
of all, Mill Hill has a level 4 allowance. Why spend all this
amount of money shifting to 3.6 acres at St Pancras if you are
going to have a lower level? Level 3 was quoted a lot today. Level
3+ has been quoted via Camden Council and at a public meeting
with John Cooper, a representative of UKCMRI on 4 October, he
said, in response to a question, "Well, the levels may change
over time." That is one thing.
The next thing is, though there may well be
places in London that could be considered a biohazard in case
of an escape, is there anything so dense in such a sensitive place
as what is being mooted here? I accept that British scientists
have an exemplary safety record. This is what I have been told
by UKCMRI, but they do not have a perfect safety record. We published
a long list of fines issued against British labs for spillages
over recent years. It is a big list, and I am sure your Committee
could get a much vaster one than we were able to get. These spillages
could occur so near to St Pancras station and the Northern Line.
In the basement of the British Library I am told they can hear
the Northern Line going through, and it is very near to the water
table. It is a big consideration if there is any spillage in a
densely domestically populated area. To me, it is terribly important
if there is any spillage that seeps through in innumerable ways
into St Pancras station. What are the repercussions and who is
responsible for that?
We felt so strongly about this that we have sent
letters to senior Cabinet Ministers and to the Prime Minister
asking them whether they acknowledge a duty of care. Nobody has
replied in regard to the safety of Londoners and visitors to London
via St Pancras. Nobody has said that this is a stupid question,
nobody has said that they acknowledge this duty of care and nobody
has said that they don't acknowledge it. They have all passed
their letter on to somebody else, but nobody will answer this
question: who can take responsibility for anything, unlikely as
it may be, unforeseen, in the next 50 years? Those are our feelings
about the scheme.
I think that Frankie might like to make a point.
Yes. I have lived in Somers Town for the past 20 years and been
involved in numerous projects like bicycle projects. We had a
community centre by a local pub, which is where we had our bicycles
fixed, the parents knew each other and so on. When they came to
build St Pancras station, we were all promised, "Oh, it's
all good for your community", blah, blah, blah, blah. That
went up. Most of the community broke up. The pub was taken out.
We couldn't have our bicycle projects where we wanted them to
be. We have got that big building. We have got the Unison building.
If you live in St Pancras and you see all these things going up,
then you wonder, "What are they doing for us and the community?"
We are not getting anything out of it.
To the best of my knowledge, that plot, when it was
sold, was supposed to be 50% housing for the community, whereby
we will have a community facility where we can socialise, and
that's for the people who live in Somers Town. All we are seeing
is buildings coming up. The university has put a big building
up there somewhere. They are just taking over. Basically, there
are a whole lot of people leaving the community. We are just a
handful left. So what advantage is all this? Yes, we want some
science, but why use the little plot that we have? It is the last
plot in Somers Town. Why should they have that? Why can't we use
it as something for the community?
I am so sorry. We did get a little away from your question. To
sum up, we have a site that is almost literally within spitting
distance from the Eurostar Terminal, where you can get to Paris
within two hours and you will soon be able to get to Berlin in
four hours or something. If you stood at the entrance gate and
you've got really good lungs, you, literally, could spit into
St Pancras station. If you are going to employ a precautionary
principle of, "Does it really make sense to put this major
facility with health risks there?", of course it is true
that there are many labs broadly in the area that do some of this
work already, but that is a historical accident. Some of those
historical science buildings have been there for, literally, a
century or more when that was the outskirts of London. Just because
things have happened in the past and have historically developed,
it does not mean that we have to continue them.
Finally, I think it is worth pointing out that often
the consortium has been saying, "Oh, we are only dealing
with flu." That is what they often say to the community.
Now, that would be the virus that killed between 50 million and
100 million people in 1918 that has caused widespread panic with
H5N1 and swine flu over the past couple of years. While I would
agree that there have been some exaggerated tales going around,
I believe that the security and safety concerns of the community
are very strong, well-founded and perfectly reasonable.
Q70 David Morris: Much
of my question has been answered by yourselves. It is a fact that
the UK is a world leader in biomedical research and this is an
area where we have to build on our success. It has been explained
through Mr Stringer's question about the strategic importance
of the rail links and the networks. We have also heard an explanation
about the larger site at Mill Hill and how that does have expansion
properties. However, as to the St Pancras site, Professor Malcolm
Grant, in the previous panel, said that there is no room to expand.
Overall, why should we disregard the initiative of the four leading
organisations to have this facility placed in St Pancras?
Rob Inglis: We
think this wondrous vision seemed to have come into existence
before Sir Paul Nurse was involved to give it vision. It seemed
to be an exciting cluster to accelerate the pace of translational
science, convenient to the partners and a good place for scientists
dropping off. The actual vision, about which you asked questions,
seemed to come later, and it still seems to be uncertain. Speakers
for UKCMRI said, "That will become clearer as time goes on."
Could I quote Sir Paul Nurse from the American magazine
Science dated 23 July 2010? When asked to describe his
vision for UKCMRI, Sir Paul Nurse said: "Size is important
for multidisciplinary approach. Because it's large, it doesn't
have to have a particular focus. It won't be divided into academic
departments. Individuals can belong to several groups and can
withdraw from one to join another." When asked about the
push for more translational medicine research, Sir Paul said:
"I'm beginning to think that this is something that nobody
has got on top of properly. We have scientists, clinicians, the
pharmaceutical industry. I'm not certain we've worked hard enough
on the sociology of that, to get that to work well." It seems
to me as though Sir Paul's very important contribution came later
in the day after the original convenienceI say it is a
cosy convenienceof this site for the partners that had
caused them to come together.
Q71 David Morris:
So you believe that the Mill Hill site should be developed because
of its size and it can be expanded?
Rob Inglis: Absolutely.
We have submitted a paper, an amendment, which came from six or
eight workers at Mill Hill some years ago saying that animals
are housed in four or five different buildings some distance from
the main building and if there is a biochemical breakdown, it
can't spread rapidly. It can be controlled. They also feel that
the use of animals will be much more economical there; there won't
have to be so many used and put to death. Moving those facilities
into London is much more difficult.
Beyond that, if we take this claim seriously of building
an institution which is a challenge to the world, an example to
the world in science, then, surely, we want to do it not by an
accident of this being convenient for these partners, and then
Sir Paul Nurse being asked to join. Surely it needs to be better
planned over a long-range period. We are convinced that Mill Hill
is a much better research site.
There are lots of practical things, too, in terms of construction
costs. I am sure you are all well aware, in terms of central London,
that construction costs are much higher and the potential for
interference in construction costs is much greater. Because of
the small size of the siteI have seen varying figuresthey
are going either four or five storeys down. I can't tell you precisely
the cost per square foot of excavating five storeys down into
a water table, into a site with which the British Library had
huge problems. Clearly, there are massive extra costs involved.
Just think of all the trucks, in a site of more than 3 acres,
carrying five storeys' worth of spoil out of the site besides
St Pancras station, on to the Euston Road and all those sorts
of things. There is a cost factor in that.
Also, is this really a suitable site? John Mason,
who is here today, did some figures on this, and of this whole
construction, 57.5% of the floor area is plantso nearly
60% of it is plant41% is lab space and 6% is public area.
This is really an industrial building in central London. That
is basically what they are putting in, at a far higher cost than
it would be if it was at Mill Hill.
Q72 David Morris:
To be devil's advocate, do you think all of these new construction
jobs coming into the area would be beneficial to the local economy
and to its general development? Do you think it would be a good
thing for the local economy?
Rob Inglis: The
history of such thingsthe CTRL, all the work on the railways
to the rejuvenated St Pancras station, and so far the 67 acres
at King's Cross Centralshows that they have resulted in
very little local employment. We are very sceptical about that.
I think it would be useful, perhaps, to paint a picture of what
this community is. Maybe you think of central London and this
isn't what you think of. St Pancras and Somers Town has a large,
white, traditional working class community. It also has large
Bangladeshi and Somali communities and lots of other minority
communities. More than 30% of the people are 19 or under. 20%
of them have life limiting long-term illnesses, despite the fact
that only 14% of them are 60 and over. Only 66% of people describe
their health as good. Nearly 10% describe themselves as permanently
sick or disabled. 50% of them rent from the council and 20% from
social housing landlords. Nearly 50% of them have a household
income below £25,000this, of course, is in central
Londonand 33% have no qualifications. Also, many of them
live in hugely overcrowded houses. I was talking to a lady outside
the school recently and she has four children and two adults in
a two-bedroom flat, and that is a small two-bedroom flat.
As Frankie alluded to, if you think about community
use of this land, the planning brief was for 50% housing and 50%
social housing. If you think about what would happen to that,
some of that, no doubt, would be sheltered housing, which would
be caring jobs. There would be lots of jobs. You would generate
at least as many construction jobs in the work. So the alternative
uses for the land would be considerablyhugelymore
beneficial for the community, as was recognised by the planning
brief that said that this is what was necessary.
If you think about Somers Town, it is a community
that grew up to support the railways. People traditionally worked
on the railways and in associated industries. What has happened
is that the land has been carved away from the community. The
British Library was built. Very few members of the St Pancras
and Somers Town community have a job in the British Library. St
Pancras station ditto. What you are talking about are, basically,
minimum wage retail jobs that are extremely difficult to live
on long-term and build a life on. These things simply haven't
catered to the pre-existing community that is there or helped
them at all. We think this is the last piece of land left.
The UKCMRI could go anywhere. We think that staying
at Mill Hill would be sensible, but for the people of St Pancras
and Somers Town this is the last space we have left. If the building
is constructed, then we are, literally, hemmed in, crammed in
and squashed in upon. We will have had our last opportunity taken
away from us.
David Morris: Thank you
for a very informed answer.
Q73 Stephen Metcalfe: Can
you tell me what sort of level of engagement you have had between
yourselves, the council and UKCMRI? What are the lines of communication
between all the organisations involved?
You could, basically, say that we have been very disappointed
by this. The community is, broadly, very uninformed. It is a community,
as I alluded to, that needs things in different languages. It
needs lots of access and lots of time. They have tended to open
things during working hours. The display centre on the site has
mostly been opened during working hours and one Saturday a month.
When letters went out, even about the development control hearing
meeting, they went to some 700 households. We can count in the
estates, along the two sides, that there are 1,200 households
in the immediate vicinity to the site. We think that the engagement
of the community in terms of information has been very poor. It
is interesting to note, as you will see in the UKCMRI's own submission,
that the largest public meeting was the meeting that we called
and held just before the building application went in.
Rob Inglis: On
The UKCMRI declined to come to that meeting until 12 o'clock on
the day of the meeting, when they decided that they were going
to come to the meeting after all, which created some difficulties
On the broader question of engagement, there is,
of course, a section 106 agreement with the council, which contains
some useful things in terms of contributions to combined heat
and power, to decent homes and those sorts of things, but they
are not giving the community what it really needs, which is land,
space and housing. What is happening is that the consortium is
saying, "Because we are a charity we don't have to meet many
of the normal requirements of these things", which is where,
of course, the terms of the pharmaceutical industry's involvement
starts to become of interest and a question for the community.
If the pharmaceutical industry is heavily involved in this, where
is the contribution?
The UKCMRI used to call it a "Healthy Living
Centre", but they are now calling it a "Living Centre",
which is, basically, a little room tacked on to the back end of
the actual lab. It is, basically, a room. They say, "We are
going to do things like have yoga classes" and that sort
of thing. St Pancras and Somers Town, I am sure, is an area similar
to what many of your constituencies have. We have the Hillwood
Age Concern Centre, which is expected to close. We have two community
centres that are both gravely concerned about their future in
terms of funding of the programmes coming in. There is Plot 10,
which is the play centre which has been in existence for 30 years,
that is hugely valued by the community, and pupils from four schools
walk in little crocodiles each afternoon to go to this play centre.
All of those things are threatened and all of those things are
buildings and structures that are in place. A couple of years
back, when they were talking about this, they might have said,
"Oh, it would be nice to have another community centre where
we can have some more space and do some more things", but
that is really no longer the issue. The issue now is who is going
to find the funding to run programmes? We are not short of rooms
but we need the programmes, the services and funding for those
In terms of the views of the community, huge numbers
of letters did not go in on the planning application. If you went
into the council office and saw the folders and folders of the
planning application, and if you tried to download the PDF off
the council website, which has thousands and thousands of pages,
it was very difficult for this community to engage in this process,
but the consortium has not made it easy.
It is so disheartening. When you try to gather people to come
down and say, "Look, we've got to go to a meeting and go
and fight about this laboratory", they say, "No, forget
about it. It's going to be built anyway." From past experience,
everything that we have fought for, we have never got anything.
So people are just disheartened.
Rob Inglis: Whether
it has been propaganda or whatever, from one of our MPs all the
way down, there has been the statement, "It's a done deal."
That is because of the commitment of Prime Minister Brown, previously,
and seemingly of this Government, particularly bearing in mind
the policies which Vince Cable might pursue. People have felt
powerless before this. That is why there has not been the degree
of response and protest that we would have liked. At Camden Council,
just in response to 700 letters, there was a spokesman representing
456 households in one of the densest areas and there were half
a dozen local groups that were represented.
Q74 Stephen Metcalfe:
How many attended the public meeting that you held with UKCMRI?
It was about 80 people.
Q75 Stephen Metcalfe:
Do you feel that they have taken any of your views into account?
Were there not some proposals to the change of the design of the
building that were incorporated?
They did change, basically, the roof line of the building. In
a way that was a reaction to the fact that the first design was
even more bluntly and obviously an industrial building. It looked
like a building that belonged on an industrial estate that you
would find on the outskirts of Luton or some suchI am sorry,
at many other places and industrial estates on the outskirts of
towns. They changed that design because there was an outcry, but
that was an outcry about appearance. Whether it looks more attractive
now you can argue about. Perhaps it does. It was more glass mirrored
walls before. They have now put in some fake stone. So it is less
If you look at the submission that came into the
council from the conservation area committee, because it is on
the edge of a conservation area, that committee was strongly opposed
to the plan on appearance grounds. This is right besides St Pancras
station, which is grade 1 listed. It is one of the most valued
architectural buildings in the country. It is right beside the
British Library, which, although it may not be old enough to be
listed yet, I am sure will be one day. It is also right beside
Chamberlain House and Levita House, which are grade 2 listed examples
of very valuable early social housing. What it looks like, really,
is an alien spaceship that has come down and been plonked right
in the middle of these valued historic buildings. It now might
be a slightly more attractive spaceship than it was originally,
but that is basically the extent of the change that has occurred
in response to lots of community complaints.
Q76 Gavin Barwell:
I would like to pick up on one of Stephen's previous questions
and then we will give you a general wrap-up question at the end.
One of the things that struck me when you were replying to Stephen
is that this building is very constrained in terms of floor space
compared with the provision at Mill Hill. It does seem to be strange
that they are giving you, albeit you say a room, this Living Centre,
that you don't actually want, and what you would rather have is
some kind of contribution to keep the existing centres going that
you have in your community. Have you made that point directly
to the consortium?
This is an issue that has only just arisen. As you are all well
aware, the rate of funding cutbacks has shocked everyone in the
past few months. That isn't a discussion we have had with them.
We have had a long discussion about the issue of housing. As was
alluded to earlier, in an earlier incantation they were going
to move on to the National Temperance Hospital site, which, although
it is not actually in St Pancras and Somers Town ward, is basically
just on the other side of the railway line. One of the things
that we have talked to them a great deal about, or certain people
have, is the potential of that going for housing instead as a
contribution to the fact that they are not providing the housing
that the planning brief provided for on the site.
This morning with us is Councillor Roger Robinson,
who is a long-time representative of this area. He will often
refer to the fact that Camden Council has a waiting list of 17,000
households. The consortium owns, on the National Temperance Hospital
site, a site that would have the potential to do at least something.
We would still much rather have this land but that land would
be something else. They are still intending to sell that at commercial
rates on a commercial basis.
Q77 Gavin Barwell:
You have put on the record very clearly what you would consider
to be a better community contribution if this plan has to go ahead.
You have heard the answer that they gave in the earlier session
in relation to whether the project will be delivered in budget
and on time. I wanted to give you a chance at the end to make
any comments that any of you would like to make about that as
a final wrap-up question.
I will start on that. I was taken by a quote. I didn't write down
who said it. One of the witnesses said that very careful thought
was given to the site. When you think about that, it is astonishing.
First, this is a project that started with two partners and they
bought the National Temperance Hospital site, and then they decided
it was too small. Your predecessors on a previous Science and
Technology Committee were pretty scathing about the way they had
rushed into that particular purchase. Then they rushed over here
and basically tried to whack the largest possible thing they could
get away with on to this site.
One of the other speakers said, "This will come
in on time and on budget." Quite reasonably, a member of
the Committee had some doubts about that. If you look at the history
of the site, it would be astonishing if this project, on a site
in central London with all the problems, came in on time and on
budget. They don't really know what they are going to do with
this site. They are creating a big fancy thing and hoping it will
fill up, work out and turn out to be wonderful. They are spending
a lot of public money and charity money in the process.
Rob Inglis: We
feel that, whatever they aim to do and state to do here, it could
be done much more safely and in a much more building-for-the-future
way at Mill Hill. We noted from one of the previous statements
from Steven Ley to one of your previous committees that the decision
to leave Mill Hill was irregularly arrived at. The vote was via
telephone and email, it was 5 to 4, and the casting vote was the
chairman's. We feel that that clearly was influenced by the lure
of moving to central London as though Mill Hill were an impossible
journey. It is not. It is about 10 to 15 minutes on the train.
The fact is that the National Temperance Hospital was bought and
then there is sudden realisation it is not big enough. Then the
partners get together and say, "Ah, how great. There is this
site right besides St Pancras Station." I believe it is a
matter of convenience and novelty. All those things come together
in a whirlwind. Then Sir Paul Nurse is brought in to introduce
a vision. We believe that the whole thing has hurtled along in
an imprecise and ill-thought-out way.
Since it is our last bit of space, Somers Town needs something
for the community. We have got everything around us but what about
Rob Inglis: If
I could just add, John Mason, who is here, has made the point
that what is this current plan for UKCMRI but Mill Hill transposed
to a smaller space plus one public hall, and a fairly small one
at that? What's the difference? We query how much more effective
and faster the furnishing of new medical developments will be
because of the location vis-à-vis Mill Hill.
If I could take one minute on that point, 60% of this is plant.
Here you are in central London basically putting a factory there.
The officer for the council said: "
given to Members that chemical fumes emitted from the building
would be dispersed. They may give rise to smells in the short
term, but would cause no harm." Just imagine if President
Sarkozy hops off the Eurostar, sniffs and says, "Gosh, why
did they put a factory in central London right beside the Eurostar
Chair: You can't have
all the factories in other constituencies. Your group has made
yourself very clear. You regard it as a carbuncle, although not
necessarily a monstrous one. It is in the wrong place and it is
the wrong project for the location. You have been extremely clear
to us and we thank you very much for your helpful evidence today.