‘Garden hospital’ plan unveiled for Whipps Cross

Deniz Huseyin
01 March 2021
The updated proposals for Whipps Cross. The hospital is shaded in blue and the new multi-storey car park is shaded in purple.
The updated proposals for Whipps Cross. The hospital is shaded in blue and the new multi-storey car park is shaded in purple.

Landscaped cycling and walking routes, a new public park and wetlands, a seven-deck car park and 1,500 car-free homes feature in plans for a new hospital at Whipps Cross in north-east London.

Barts Health NHS Trust described the project, on the site of the existing hospital, as a “hospital in a garden and a garden in a hospital”. It said that improved access and green spaces would create better links to neighbouring Epping Forest and town centres.

The landscaped route for pedestrians and cyclists would connect the hospital with Lea Bridge Road and James Lane bordering the site. 

“Creating an accessible place, with new walking and cycling routes and strengthened connections to the surrounding town centres is a core part of our plans,” said the Trust.

“This would help to embed the principles of the 15-minute neighbourhood where everyone would be able to meet most, if not all, of their needs within a short walk or bike ride from their home.”

There would be direct access from the hospital’s main entrance to a new park on the site. Wetland features would “improve water management and drainage, to reduce existing local flooding issues, as well as improve biodiversity”, said the Trust.

Plans for the new hospital were revised after an online consultation exercise last November, said the Trust. It is hoping to submit a planning application to the London Borough of Waltham Forest in the spring.

Parking capacity at the site would drop as part of plans to cut car journeys and encourage more people to use public transport or cycle. There are currently 1,211 car parking spaces across the hospital site. The new multi-storey would have 500 spaces.

The multi-storey, which would connect with the hospital via a link bridge, would be ready to open in late 2022, with the hospital completed by 2026, said a Trust spokesperson. “It is hugely important that the hospital – which will be operational throughout the construction of the new buildings – always has parking available for patients, staff and visitors. That is why we are building a new multi-storey car park first.” 

A location has been earmarked for a second “potential multi-storey” on the site, which would be constructed after the hospital is complete. “Further work will be needed to determine the size required.”

Currently there is surface parking for patients, staff and visitors across the site, with a pay & display system in operation. “We envisage the car park will be securely designed, with vehicle and pedestrian access controlled, and full CCTV coverage throughout with ANPR technologies,” the spokesperson told TransportXtra.

“Following feedback from local residents we have moved the car park further away from the residential boundary and it will be lower in height than the existing buildings that are to be demolished. We are investigating innovative greening and screening solutions to reduce its impact further and make it more sustainable.”

The car park will include secure bike parking for staff, electric vehicle charging points and spaces for disabled Blue Badge holders.

Barts Health NHS Trust is developing an Active Travel Plan and said it will be working with Transport for London (TfL) to improve public transport to the hospital, particularly bus connections. The Active Travel Plan includes: improved cycling and walking routes; new showers, changing rooms and lockers; and secure parking for bikes including cycle hangars and hubs. Access control and CCTV would protect these facilities, said the Trust.

The spokesperson said: “The long-term split between visitor and staff parking has yet to be determined and is dependent upon how successfully the Active Travel Plan measures, to provide alternative public transport options, are delivered.” 

The overall size of the new hospital will be around 80,000sqm, which is smaller than the current hospital (which is around 91,000sqm). But the Trust insists the layout of the new hospital will be organised “much more efficiently than the current one, with clinical departments closer to each other so that journeys between them are much shorter for patients and staff”. 

This will free up space for a proposed minimum of 1,500 new homes on the site, with 50% “affordable homes”, which may include housing for key workers, said the Trust. 

Building a Brighter Future for Whipps Cross


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