Fitzrovia workhouse-to-resi scheme gets the green light

Grade II-listed hospital annex - thought to the inspiration for Oliver Twist's workhouse - to be converted to resi

Camden planners have approved the development of the Grade II listed former outpatient annex to the Middlesex Hospital in Fitzrovia (now Exemplar’s exemplary luxury resi development Fitzroy Place) into 50 apartments, 74% of which will be affordable.

Image via London Planning

This permission has been a long time coming; 44 Cleveland Street has lain empty since 2005, is on Historic England’s “At Risk” register, and plans lodged by UCL Hospital Trust were rejected back in 2010 – before the building was listed – after councillors from the neighbouring Westminster City objected on heritage, car-parking and rights of light grounds… Now the UCLH Charity (a separate entity to the Trust) has finally pushed the scheme through.

Victorian writer Charles Dickens lived very near the site (at 22 Cleveland Street) as a child and teenager, when No.44 operated as the Cleveland Street Workhouse; it’s now believed that this provided much of the inspiration for settings in Dicken’s Oliver Twist.

The approved mixed-use development, designed by very local architects Llewelyn Davies with Temple managing the planning process, will see most of the existing H-shaped Georgian buildings – including the front walls lining Cleveland Street – restored and refurbished. Part of the South House, however, will be demolished, and new structures will go up on the remainder of the site. All-in, it will deliver 5o apartments and townhouses  (10 market units: 1×1-bed, 3×2-bed, 2×3-bed; townhouses: 1×2-bed, 1×3-bed, 2×4-bed; 40 affordable units: 18×1-bed, 7×2-bed, 15×3-bed) alongside 4,535 square metres of commercial space.

Historic England has said that it “broadly welcomes” the scheme, which should “secure a sustainable long-term future use for the Grade II listed former Strand Union Workhouse whilst largely retaining its remaining architectural and historic features”.

Camden Planning Notice: 2017/0414/P

Scheme approved. Refurbishment of and alterations to the existing former Workhouse Building (Grade II listed) and North and South Houses (fronting onto Cleveland Street) to provide 12 x residential units (Class C3); demolition of part of South House and buildings at rear of Workhouse Building and redevelopment to provide a part 4, part 5, part 8 storey building comprising 4,535sqm of commercial floorspace (flexible use of Class B1/D1 healthcare) and 38x residential units (Class C3); and associated works including opening up of Bedford Passage, creation of public open space, landscaping works, and partial demolition of front boundary wall.

44 Cleveland Street in 1930