PREPARATORY WORKS START AT TOWER HAMLETS 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 to use the library. 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.
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 UK said:
“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.”