St Thomas's battle over land earmarked for teaching
- By: Helen Barratt
Plans by the United Kingdom's largest teaching hospital to expand its central London site have been threatened by a controversial rival bid. The Aga Khan has offered £24m ($35m; €39m) for the land adjacent to St Thomas's Hospital—twice the previously valued cost—to develop an Islamic cultural centre.
The billionaire spiritual leader of around 20 million Ismaili Muslims wants to build the biggest Islamic museum and cultural centre in the English speaking world. It would include a public museum, library, and academic facilities. Government ministers are keen to see him find a suitable location in the capital. He has previously failed to buy the site of the Royal Army Medical College and if he is unsuccessful again, he may decide to abandon the United Kingdom and look elsewhere.
The site, opposite the Houses of Parliament, is currently owned by King's College, London, who acquired the land in 1998 after a merger