Preparatory works start at new town hall site

  • Grade II listed former Royal London Hospital building being brought back into community use

Tower Hamlets Council has signed an £8m contract with Bouygues UK to carry out preparatory work on its new town hall ahead of the main construction taking place.

The grade II listed former Royal London Hospital building in Whitechapel is one of London’s most famous landmarks and has been at the heart of the borough’s history since it was opened to patients in 1757.

It has been empty since 2012 and now the council is bringing it back to life in a new £105m development that will retain the building’s features while adding new elements.

The move will save the taxpayer money as the council estimates to recoup £78m from the sale of council buildings that will no longer be needed once staff have moved to the new town hall.

After just six years the council will be saving public money compared to current arrangements as it will no longer be paying £5m a year to occupy the current town hall at Mulberry Place.

Opening in 2022, the new town hall will be part of the Whitechapel Vision – one of London’s largest regeneration projects which includes the opening of Crossrail at Whitechapel Station in 2019, a new £300m life sciences campus, seven new public spaces and 5,000 jobs.

The ground floor of the new town hall will be open for the public to use for meetings, to access council services and an idea store. The building will be in the most accessible part of Tower Hamlets. Situated next to the new transport hub in Whitechapel, it will be served by four different train and tube lines including Crossrail, along with bus and cycle routes.

Preparatory works

The preparatory works consist of a sensitive soft strip of the building, scheduled to complete in May 2019. This will be accompanied by an archaeological watching brief to ensure the protection and preservation of the historic building and its assets.

A key component of the work is the removal of all asbestos from the building which will be carried out under a controlled and managed procedure in accordance with the Health & Safety Executive guidelines.

Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs said: “This is another milestone towards the rebirth of a local landmark. The new town hall will bring our services under one roof, along with the Clinical Commissioning Group and Tower Hamlets Homes. That way, it is much easier for residents to get things done.

“At its heart will be a community feel with a café, outdoor spaces, and an idea store. Whether you want to host a meeting, borrow a book or get involved in what is happening in your neighbourhood, the town hall will bring people together and make Tower Hamlets a better place.

“It will also save money over the medium term compared to the council’s current configuration, and it will give us the opportunity to build much needed homes on other sites currently occupied by council offices.”

Gerald Farque Head of Major Projects at Bouygues UKsaid:“This is a key stage towards the construction phase of the new town hall at the end of the year. This preparatory work is vital in protecting the historical features that make this project so special.”

The new town hall will offer a raft of benefits to the community. These include:

Economic benefits:

  • Through consolidation and redevelopment of existing council buildings, the town hall will create around 700 new homes across the borough, including affordable homes.
  • The three year development will generate an estimated 400 construction jobs per year. Our target is for 20 per centof them, including 65 apprenticeships, to be taken by Tower Hamlets residents.
  • We also want 20 per centof construction supply chain contracts to be with Tower Hamlets companies.
  • Once completed, we estimate the annual spend of the council and its staff with local shops and services to be around £4.1m.

Protecting heritage

  • We will be retaining the significant fabric, finishes and decorations where possible
  • We will use materials and techniques compatible with the building’s historic construction and to a high conservation design standard

Environmental benefits:

  • A biodiversitystrategy to protect certain species of birds and invertebrates
  • An excellent BREEAMrating for a sustainable building
  • Water-efficient WCs, taps and showers and a low-water irrigation strategy
  • Recycling facilitiesduring the construction to reduce waste to landfill
  • Cycle parkingprovision for both staff and visitors at the town hall accesseddirectly from the Cycle Superway
  • Responsibly sourcedbuilding materials

Energy efficientdesign to reduce our carbon footprint including renewable energy such as air source heat pumps and photovoltaic panels

Read more news of London on our site.

towerhamlets.gov.uk
Preparatory works start
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Society
Thames Water said the Beast from the East and summer heatwave had an impact on its ability to meet leakage targets as it reported interim pre-tax profits crashing to £67.7 million from £218.5 million a year ago. The water company also revealed the extreme weather sent complaints soaring as it battled supply interruptions, with written customer complaints jumping to 11,083 in the half-year to September 30 from 8,242 a year earlier. Thames Water was ordered...
Society
A British tourist has gone missing in New Zealand, sparking an international appeal for help from her family. Grace Millane was last seen in Auckland on Saturday night (Dec 1), and has not been in contact with her family since - despite her 22nd birthday being on Sunday. Her family, from Basildon in Essex, have alerted the British Embassy in New Zealand and reported her missing to police in Auckland, as well as sharing 'missing' posters on social media. De...
Society
The main reason for sickness absence in the London Fire Brigade is now stress, anxiety and depression, Commissioner Dany Cotton has said. LFB has seen a "small increase" in the number of days taken off as sick leave over the last three years, Ms Cotton, the brigade's most senior firefighter, said. It is the first time mental health has been the leading cause of the absences, she told the London Assembly on Thursday. LFB employed four extra counsellors foll...
Incidents
A 77-year-old woman who collapsed while calling police to report a burglary at her home is critically ill in hospital. She dialled 999 on Monday to report intruders had forced their way into her home in Bells Hill, High Barnet, north-east London, and stolen property. During the call, the police operator heard her collapse. Paramedics arrived and she was taken to hospital, where her family remains at her bedside. Scotland Yard said its Homicide and Major Cr...
Society
A medieval skeleton wearing a pair of thigh-high leather boots has been found during excavations for London's new sewer. The skeleton was discovered face down in mud at the Chambers Wharf site in Bermondsey during work to create the Thames Tideway Tunnel. Archaeologists believe the man may have died during the late 15th Century while carrying out work near the river. MOLA Headland Infrastructure said it was a "rare" and "fascinating" find. The consortium i...
Society
Christmas lights in an upmarket shopping street were taken down after just three days by council inspectors who branded them a “death trap”. The decorations were put up in Primrose Hill by Jonny Bucknell, the son of the UK’s first DIY television star Barry Bucknell, with a switch-on ceremony on Sunday by model Jo Wood, ex-wife of Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie, and singer-songwriter Collette Cooper. But on Wednesday, Camden council bosses removed and impo...
Society
More than 130,000 children across Great Britain will spend Christmas in temporary accommodation, official figures suggest. One in every 103 under-18s is officially homeless, a 59% rise in five years, housing charity Shelter said. One mother-of-three said her children were preparing for Christmas in a one-room bed and breakfast for the second year running. Councils said a lack of housing had left them "struggling to cope". Using government statistics, Shelt...
News Company
Thanks to the groundbreaking partnership between MoneyTO and the Polish company South Link Commerce, it's now faster and easier to make online money transfers from the UK to Polish bank accounts. The deal between the two companies was finalized at Fintech 360 conference, the annual gathering of financial innovators, in Vienna, Austria. As Polish is the most common non-British nationality in the UK, with an estimated total of 1 million Poles making Britain...
Society
A treetop adventure course popular with Cara Delevingne and Mo Farah has extended its after-dark sessions after a surge in demand.  Go Ape in Battersea has opened up one of its high-rope challenges from 5pm until 6.30pm so daredevils can test their climbing skills in darkness. Olympic legend Farah scaled the 50ft-high course with his family this month. Other celebrity adventurers have included grime star Stormzy and actors Will Ferrell, David Schwimmer and...