New buildings permitted to serve hospital

The secretary of state has accepted an inspector's recommendation to allow a mixed-use proposal in central London's Lambeth Palace conservation area, finding that the scheme would deliver a high quality of design.

The proposal entailed the demolition of former school buildings and the construction of eight new structures ranging in height from five to 20 storeys. The scheme would provide 636 residential units, a nursery for NHS staff, accommodation for the families of sick children and ground-floor cafe and retail uses. The secretary of state was satisfied that the proposal would provide a mix of housing in a sustainable location.

She agreed with the inspector that the scheme would appear as a bespoke form of architecture reflecting the functional needs of the development while creating a townscape that was attractive and connected with its surroundings. She considered that the proposal would result in the enhancement of an area from which, with a few notable exceptions, good architecture was noticeably absent and would preserve the setting of Lambeth Palace and the campanile of St Thomas' Hospital.

The secretary of state observed that the former school buildings made a positive contribution to the conservation area and felt that the appellant had not fully explored the potential for their retention. In particular, she saw no signs of any effort to identify an alternative use for the school or its possible contribution to the health care element of the scheme. However, she found that its demolition was justified by the wider regeneration, community and urban design benefits.

DCS Number 100-050-776

Inspector Philip Wilson; Inquiry.

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