Plans for the controversial redevelopment of the former Queen Elizabeth Children’s Hospital were revealed yesterday, after receiving full planning permission.
The nine-storey construction will provide 188 new homes as part of the Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s affordable homes scheme. 116 homes will be for private sale, 48 for affordable rent and 24 for shared ownership.
Deputy Mayor for Housing, Land and Property, Richard Blakeway, said: “The Mayor has ensured the design incorporates some of the original architecture of the former hospital, retaining the historic front façade as a permanent reminder of the site’s heritage. I’m confident this development will revitalise a site that has remained vacant for over 16 years and help bring it back into the heart of the community.”
The plans, designed by construction group Rydon in partnership with major social housing provider Family Mosaic, have been approved by the Mayor of London and Tower Hamlets Council.
Mark Mitchener, Managing Director of Rydon, said: “Without these homes people will have to resort to the private rental sector at substantially higher rates.”
“In an area where homes are so desperately needed and in such a great location, you’ve always got to develop an opportunity.”
However, the design of the construction has proved controversial as it envisages completely demolishing the hospital buildings, some of which date as early as 1868.
A petition urging Boris Johnson to reject the design reached over 3000 signatures earlier this month.
Lucy Rogers, local resident, said: “The consultation should have happened when the tender was being put out for which architect should have the site, but that was done in private… The scheme that was chosen was essentially a demolition scheme.”
She added: “The consultation is totally worthless: if you read the statement of community involvement most of the comments that people say are that they want something that respects the history of the building and the area.”
Hackney Society, a local preservation organisation, the Victorian Society and English Heritage Archaeology, all expressed concern over the demolishing of the historical fabric of the hospital in the early stages of planning.
The building has been empty since closing in 1996, when its services were transferred to the Royal London Hospital.
Work on the site is due to begin in 2014 and is expected to take up to two and half years to complete.