Plans approved to transform abandoned hospital into almost 700 new homes

Plans to transform an abandoned former psychiatric hospital, owned by the Greater London Authority (GLA), into 675 homes have been given the green light today by the Mayor of London’s office. (Wednesday, June 18).

Cane Hill Hospital in Coulsdon, which once appeared on the front cover of a David Bowie album and in which Charlie Chaplin’s mother was a patient, has been unused since 1991. Large parts of the building were destroyed by a fire in 2010.

The site marks another milestone in the release of public land being driven by the Mayor of London. The Mayor has committed City Hall to sell all developable sites it owns since it took on 670 hectares of public land in 2012. So far 145 hectares have been released with a development value of £3.6bn. This means 86 per cent of the sites owned by the GLA are now actively marketed, progressing through planning or being developed.

Earlier today, the Mayor’s Executive Director for Development, Enterprise and Environment supported Croydon Council’s decision to grant permission to Barratt Homes to redevelop the site into up to 675 new homes, 24 per cent of which would be affordable. 80 per cent of the new homes will be three or more bedrooms, reflecting the need in the local area.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said:

“The development of Cane Hill, one of London’s most infamous abandoned sites, is part of a major release of public land being conducted by City Hall, with 86 per cent of our sites now under way or being actively marketed. This decision marks the next chapter in Cane Hill’s fascinating history, providing 675 much-needed new homes in this part of South London.”

Sites released by the Mayor include Trenchard House in Soho, St Clements and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Tower Hamlets, Lymington Fields in Dagenham, Catford Greyhound Stadium in Lewisham, and Greenwich Square in Greenwich.

In March, the Mayor announced two more sites being released to the market, offering the potential for at least 900 homes, in Newham around the Royal Docks.

A spokesman for Barratt Homes and Ward Homes said:

“We are extremely grateful to everyone who has helped to get the plans to this stage, in particular to the residents and local stakeholders who have provided us with such valuable feedback about our proposals. We will continue our work with the local authority, residents and local stakeholders going forward as the plans continue to evolve during the next stages to ensure that we deliver a sustainable community on this prominent site which fits in with the surrounding landscape.”

A drawing of Cane Hill appeared on the cover of David Bowie’s album ‘The Man Who Sold the World’. It is also believed that the hospital inspired the 1970 Bowie hit, ‘All the Madmen’, in tribute to his half-brother who was a patient in the hospital.

The Mayor has supported Croydon Council’s decision to grant outline permission for 488 homes and full consent for 187 homes.