Work starts on homes on Queen Elizabeth Children’s hospital site after 16 years

Rydon Construction’s boss Mark Mitchener (far left) on site with Deputy London Mayor for Housing Ric

Rydon Constructions boss Mark Mitchener (far left) on site with Deputy London Mayor for Housing Richard Blakeway, Family Mosaic Housings Dick Mortimer and the GLAs David Lunts - Credit: Rydon Construction

The long-overdue construction is now under way at the former Queen Elizabeth Children’s Hospital site in east London which has remained unused for nearly 16 years.

It was started after a visit to the site in Shoreditch by Richard Blakeway, Deputy London Mayor for Land and Property, where he was joined by Rydon Construction’s chief Mark Mitchener, Family Mosaic Housing’s Dick Mortimer and the GLA’s David Lunts.

The Hackney Road site remained empty from 1997 until it was taken over by the GLA two years ago, when plans were agreed between Tower Hamlets Council and City Hall for a housing scheme for 188 new homes.

“It’s vital that long-standing empty sites like this are put back to community use,” the Deputy Mayor said. “This is part of a vast portfolio of land being released to boost house building and address the 30-year failure to build enough homes in London.”

The project will be completed by 2017. Rydon developers have retained and refurbishing the original historic hospital façade as a symbol of its history.

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A third of its 188 homes are earmarked for the low-cost ‘affordable’ end of the property market as rentals or shared ownerships, half of which are larger family homes. The remaining 116 suites and apartments are for private sale.

A new pedestrian route, community space and a basement car park are also included.

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Rydon Construction’s Mark Mitchener said: “Every effort has gone into the design of this historic redevelopment to retain the Hackney Road façade and maintain the integrity and history of the original Queen Elizabeth hospital building.”

The development follows 12 months of planning and public consultation with Tower Hamlets Council and the GLA to meet local housing needs.

The children’s hospital opened in Hackney Road in 1868 and expanded during the 1870s with buildings added along Goldsmith’s Row at the back. The main building in Hackney Road was completed in 1903. The hospital finally closed in 1997, after 109 years.

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