Murky Depths

News in London and beyond

Greenwich

Final homes on former Greenwich Hospital site near completion after 20 years

The final homes on the former site of Greenwich District Hospital are approaching completion almost 20 years after it closed its doors.

The hospital closed in 2001 with many services moving to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich under a PFI deal. The site lay empty for many years with the only action being logos changing on site hoardings.

Despite being public land, public building was anathema thus little happened for years. Homes were finally built on part of the site after a decade of waiting. That phase included the Greenwich Centre replacing the Arches leisure centre and east Greenwich library. The new building used flammable ACM cladding and needed replacing.

Greenwich Centre on left

The final building to complete on site is a large block surrounding an internal courtyard. The number of flats was revised up after initial approval taking the total number of homes to 645.

Cladding here better than grey panels elsewhere

One of the best features of the new block is a green wall.

This helps break up a rather dreary grey cladding scheme surrounding much of the block. Even on a beautifully sunny late summer day it was pretty drab and overbearing. A cold, wet January morning along here will not be the most uplifting site to greet someone on their way to work.

The concrete of the old hospital didn’t look much worse after 30 years of staining than some of this new cladding:

Any colour as long as its grey

When people finally move in – probably during early 2020 – the saga of this site will be finished. The population of London will have risen by two million since the hospital closed. Building on public land should have happened far faster if that was to be its fate  – and that’s if the hospital should ever have been closed in the first place.

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2 Comments

  1. Shane Brownie

    The “green wall” is a nice concept, though in my experience only installed to give a “green edge” to the planning application. In our development we called it the “weed wall” as it was never maintained, with the water I g system leaking down the wall. Is now being entirely removed after years as an unpleasant eyesore.

  2. Graham

    Levaving this site empty for so long after Greenwich District Hospital closed in 2001 was a disgrace. Building on this site should have started almost immeidately after the site was sold,
    However, the new homes,leisure centre, libary and GP practice built on the sitre are all really nice,

    I have to agree with comments about the dull grey clading which does look a little drab. However, I appreciate that claddding was introducedon buildings to add insulation and to reduce fule bills, I think new builds are better being finished in a nice brick work or with rendered walls which have the option of being painted.

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