Sketch of Cane Hill Park development, including the site's old water tower

Construction work has started today at the abandoned 205-acre site of Cane Hill psychiatric hospital in Croydon, London.

The new Cane Hill Park development, master-planned by HTA Design, will overhaul the former asylum and surrounding 173 acres of agricultural land to create 675 new homes and 3,000 sq m of office space.

‘Cane Hill will make a lasting difference to Croydon and Coulsdon Town,’ says Richard Blakeway, London’s deputy mayor for housing and land. ‘The transformation of this massive site into hundreds of new homes, new employment space, green areas and health facilities is a superb example of how previously empty public land can be put to the best possible use.’

Chapel at Cane Hill
What remains of the hospital’s chapel
Photography: Andy Carroll

This area in Croydon’s Coulsdon district has been earmarked for regeneration since the hospital, designed by architect Charles Henry Howell, closed in 1991.

Large parts of the 1882 hospital – which featured on David Bowie’s album cover for The Man Who Sold the World – were either demolished or destroyed by a fire in 2010. Only its chapel, admin block and water tower remain. They are set for refurbishment but the details of those plans are yet to receive approval.

Cane Hill in 1986, hotograph-Ernie-Townsend
The hospital, pictured in 1986. Photography: Ernie Townsend

Developer Barratt Homes has planning permission to build 187 homes in the first step of the scheme, but three further phases will follow over the next 15 years. Of the 675 homes Barratt Homes will be constructing, a quarter will be affordable.

‘On top of the much-needed new homes and regeneration for Coulsdon, the development will support thousands of jobs for local people,’ says Gary Ennis, regional managing director of Barratt Homes. ‘We will also be providing millions of pounds of investment for local transport infrastructure and services like health and education.’

The regeneration project forms part of mayor Boris Johnson’s drive to free up all public land for housing before his term ends. Other developments under the same initiative include schemes at the Royal Docks and Beam Park in Rainham.



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