Peabody unveils plans for 20-storey tower block on Archway’s historic Whittington Hospital site
- Credit: Pictures: Dieter Perry/Peabody
Archway’s makeover shows no sign of slowing after plans were unveiled for a 20-floor block on the old Whittington Hospital site.
Peabody, which bought the estate in 2014, wants to build a high-rise taller than the spruced-up Archway Tower.
The “Archway Campus” project would create 308 homes – 40 per cent of which will be “affordable”. Plans, updated since last year’s consultation, were made public at two events over the weekend, attended by more than 150 locals.
The consensus seems to be that 308 is way too many. Campaigners, who have formed an action group, also say plans for blocks to the north of the land would hurt the surrounding community, despite Peabody scaling back plans after concerns last year.
One member of the Archway Campus Action Group said: “Peabody are trying to put too many units on the site.
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“Lower the number of units and you solve everything. Lower the tower at the southern end, and reduce the size and height of the new buildings at the northern end, which will have a hideous impact in Lidyard Road and The Academy.” He added the area’s services and infrastructure were “already at breaking point”.
And the 40pc affordable housing figure could be an issue. Islington has said developers must make half of all new homes cheaper to get planning permission.
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The housing group said the number of affordable housing was below the 50pc target because of the cost involved in restoring the old buildings, which are in a poor state. It said the scheme would involve a “significant” number of homes for social rent.
Most of those old buildings would be brought back into use, including the main Holborn Union and the Clerkenwell and Charterhouse wings.
A library and medical centre could be built at the bottom of the tower with the land opened up as a thoroughfare, slashing journey times between Highgate Hill and Archway Road.
The site has been empty since Peabody bought it in a £150million deal from University College London and Middlesex University, who taught medicine there.
It was built in the 1870s as the Holborn and Finsbury Union Workhouse Infirmary. In 1948 it became part of The Whittington and the buildings were in use until it was sold to the unis in 1998.
As well as scaling back the plans for the north of the site, Peabody has scrapped an eight-storey block along Highgate Hill and replaced it with a community garden. But the 20-storey block has been added.
Gilly Tobin, Peabody development manager, said: “We wanted to demonstrate to the local community how our plans have evolved to reflect the feedback received in our previous consultation and we hope that this has come across in the updated version of the plans.
“Once we have had a chance to review all the comments on the scheme, we will look to finalise our plans. We are confident our final scheme will be positive for Archway and provide a significant amount of new affordable housing.”
The consultation is open until August 7. Plans are expected to be submitted in the autumn after a consultation. Workers could be on site next year and the project finished by 2021.
The council said any application would be assessed against all policies and another consultation would take place: “Any areas of proposals that do not comply with adopted planning policy would be clearly reported, and weighed against any benefits.”