Plan to develop St Leonard’s Hospital could see estate sold off for housing

St Leonard’s Hospital in Nuttall Street

St Leonard’s Hospital in Nuttall Street - Credit: Emma Bartholomew

Plans to redevelop the dilapidated St Leonard’s Hospital will likely involve parts of the estate being sold off for housing – and the controversial Whipps Cross sell-off could serve as a "template".

Homerton Hospital strategy director Claire Hogg told councillors at a Health in Hackney scrutiny commission that NHS bosses want the “exciting” project finished by 2026 at the latest.

But she admitted that any proposals will need funding from multiple partners – and revealed that finance chiefs are exploring the possibility of selling parts of the Grade-II listed building to developers.

One funding model being looked at is the £700m redevelopment of Whipps Cross hospital in Leytonstone.

The Whipps Cross proposals sparked fierce opposition in 2019 when it emerged that a funding shortfall would see part of the land sold off for housing – resulting in an overall reduction in the number of available beds.

Plans released by Barts Health NHS Trust as part of a public consultation show that the new development will include a 1,500-home development.

Hogg admitted that transferring part of the land from NHS Property Services to a third party would be a “hot button” issue.

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But she vowed that any new building would be an “anchor institution” in Hackney – and promised it would involve “working with the local community”.

She said: “St Leonard’s as a building is old, and requires quite considerable amount of investment in order to make it fit for purpose in the long term.

“We’re really committed as a health system, with our partners to think about how St Leonard’s can become really an anchor institution within Hackney.

“How can we use that facility and that site to address population health need for social determinants of health?

“We want it to be more than a healthcare facility. How can we build a vision for that site that addresses, and offers opportunities around education, employment, potentially housing?

“There are a couple of examples across northeast London we can use to think about different kind of financial models.

“One of the things that we are considering as a system, is whether that facility could be transferred to a party, which would be the hot button, but there’s a very long process to go through.

“Or we could transfer the assets, and that’s happened in another part of North East London at St George’s Hospital in Hornchurch.

“I think there’s a couple of models that we can look at with either Whipps Cross or the St George’s model.”