The Long And Winding Road To Harley Street
So why did the London Vision Clinic need to move from their cosy Devonshire Place home of the last six years?
The answer lies in the word “cosy”. The clinic’s premises had become just too snug a fit for the business which has tripled in size since March 2003.
When the clinic first moved into the basement at Number 8 there were two consulting rooms and the operating room. A counselling room and additional consulting room were later added. As more recent visitors know, a second floor consulting room became the next phase of the expansion (unfortunately the ground floor tenant did not want to give up his space).
Clearly the idea behind the move is to offer more integrated premises for patients and a more pleasant working space for the staff.
More than two years ago it was decided to move around the corner to the chosen property at 138 Harley Street. Construction and refurbishment work, (within the strict confines of “listed” building regulations) began on the new clinic in March 2007.
The project has since run way over budget and way over time putting a lot of pressure on everybody especially the builders and architects who have been cast in the role of “project managers”. It has been, in Emma’s words: “a long, long journey”.
Although no one really knew what to expect at the outset, it was estimated that to transform the old medical offices that were housed in this typical Harley Street building into a custom made laser vision clinic would take between a year and fourteen months. In fact – if it had been finished by May 23rd (which we now know it wasn’t) – it would have become a 26 month project.
So it has taken more than two years of preparatory meetings, poring over architect’s plans, liaising with interior designers compromising, deciding and agreeing on hundreds of details from the grand plan to the minutiae of clinic life before reaching the “packing up” and “moving in” point.
At the same stage, all I had was a couple of suitcases on wheels to schlep across the Finchley Road. How does one even begin to think about the logistics of removing two giant laser machines?