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Monday, 09 April 2018 13:07

Demolition eats away at local landmark

Written by Nick jones
Demolition in progress at Mill Hill Demolition in progress at Mill Hill John Sawkins
Buildings around the iconic headquarters of the former National Institute for Medical Research on the Ridgeway, at Mill Hill, are being demolished to make way for a new 460-home development by Barratt London.

The main nine-storey building with its massive pitched roof – which can be seen for miles around – is to be rebuilt in a way Barratt say will retain the “best of its unique features while, maximising its potential for high quality, sustainable homes.”

In online promotional material for the redevelopment – to be known as Ridgeway Views – an artist’s impression shows the original main structure converted into apartments.

Proposed development known as Ridgeway ViewsThe image shows the main building, with the pitched roof remaining and a refurbished exterior, sitting in the middle of a new parkland setting with other blocks of apartments in the grounds.

Barratt London gave a breakdown of the 460 homes: 448 will be apartments and 12 houses. These will range from one-bedroom apartments to five-bedroom homes.

First completions are anticipated for summer 2019 and the full development is due to be completed by the end of 2021.

Further information about Ridgeway Views – which the developers say will provide “endless opportunities for weekend activities” in the surrounding parkland and open fields – will be released in the summer of 2018.

The former NIMR complex, with four wings leading off the main structure, was built in the shape of a cruciform, and is a local landmark that can be seen for miles around. On a clear day, there is a good view from the top of Barnet parish church.

The Medical Research Council established premises at Mill Hill in the 1920s and the cruciform building, designed by Maxwell Ayrton , was not completed until 1949.

NIMR sold the site for redevelopment on moving to new premises in central London, and in 2015 Barratt London ran a competition to develop the site. Julian de Metz, the winning architect, grew up in Mill Hill.

The site is within the green belt and is partly within the Mill Hill conservation area. Barratt London say their plans will “protect and enhance” the local environment.

Photographs of demolition in progress by John Sawkins