Artist’s impression of the proposed development.

NHS Property Services have submitted plans to redevelop area in Whitechapel to create a new life sciences cluster.

NHS Property Services, on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), have submitted plans to redevelop five underused and vacant plots of land to create a new life sciences cluster in Whitechapel, London, next to the Royal London Hospital.

The proposals aim to develop the area into a life sciences cluster, with a mixture of commercial life sciences and sector-related companies operating in tandem with the Royal London Hospital, one of the country’s largest teaching hospitals. Queen Mary University London also recently announced a property deal with the DHSC for the university to take a major stake in the development and operate a new life sciences facility in one of the new buildings.

The Covid-19 pandemic saw the life sciences sector take prominence in the UK’s efforts against the virus. Its role in sequencing the virus, delivering a nationwide testing programme and development vaccine developments were critical to national efforts, and building on this success is a central priority of the government.

An artist’s impression of the proposed development.

The five plots of land, which are underused and contain mostly vacant buildings, cover an area equivalent to two and a half football pitches next to the Royal London Hospital. These proposals will create much-needed life sciences space, for which there is high demand across London, allowing the success of the partnership to grow further.

The proposals will see the demolition of some of the underused buildings on site and the creation of modern, fit for purpose lab-enabled life sciences buildings, as well as the provision of commercial and community space and a potential gallery at ground floor level.

The project corresponds with the government’s Life Sciences Vision, its plan to promote and develop the UK’s life sciences sector, with a particular focus on public health. The planning submission includes pledges to reduce health inequalities and provide between 3,470 and 5,660 employment opportunities in the area, alongside further training opportunities for local people in the life science sector and beyond.

Speaking about the planned development, Adrian Powell, Development and Planning Director at NHS Property Services said: “We are delighted to be leading this project on behalf of the Department for Health and Social Care and working towards a positive decision on the planning application we have submitted to the Council.

“This development represents an opportunity to create a vibrant community and commercial cluster that we hope will support a broadly based life sciences, technology and innovation ecosystem, providing quality jobs in the area and the best health outcomes for local people. The proposed improvements to the street scene and public areas will also provide a safe, green and attractive place for locals to work, relax and meet.”