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.
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.
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:
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.