Construction on 700 new homes begins at iconic Cane Hill site

An abandoned 205 acre site that was previously home to Cane Hill psychiatric hospital and appeared on the front cover of a David Bowie album is set to be transformed into nearly 700 new homes in Croydon. The Deputy Mayor of Housing and Land Richard Blakeway today marked the beginning of construction at Cane Hill Park, one of London’s biggest projects to transform disused public land.

The former hospital opened in 1882 and treated many patients including Charlie Chaplin’s mother. In the 1970s it famously appeared on David Bowie’s ‘The Man Who Sold the World’ album. The site had been abandoned since 1991, when the hospital closed, with large parts of it destroyed by a fire in 2010.

The new development, Cane Hill Park, will put the old hospital site and the 173 acres of agricultural land around it to productive use, by providing hundreds of new homes and creating a new urban centre for Croydon. The site is so large it could fit more than 100 football pitches inside its bounds.

Cane Hill Park forms a key part of the Mayor of London’s commitment to dispose of all public land in his ownership by the end of his mayoral term in 2016. At present, 98 percent of his land has been released.

In partnership with developer Barratt Homes, Cane Hill Park will provide up to 675 new homes, of which 25 per cent are affordable, including a large number of three and four bed family homes and 16 homes suitable for wheelchair users. Adjacent to Coulsdon Town Centre, the development will play an important part in the regeneration of the wider Croydon area.

The development includes 3,000 square metres of office space, the retention and refurbishment of three locally-listed historic buildings, new access and connections with Coulsdon Town Centre, and new public open space. It is expected to create approximately 1,300 construction jobs. The new homes are designed with energy-efficiency in mind and will include rooftop solar panels as well as an innovative waste-water heat recovery system to reduce their ecological footprint.

London’s Deputy Mayor for Housing and Land, Richard Blakeway, said:

“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. Cane Hill will make a lasting difference to Croydon and Coulsdon Town, and projects like it are key additions to London’s housing supply.”

The hillside site is a ten minute walk from Coulsdon South Station and is a key component of Croydon Council’s aspiration to revitalise Coulsdon Town Centre. Transport connections include trains from Coulsdon South to London Bridge in 25 minutes and to East Croydon/Croydon Town Centre in eight minutes. The developer will contribute £1.25 million to Croydon Council and TfL for the provision of new bus routes or extension of existing ones, as well as an increase in frequency of buses running between Cane Hill Park and Coulsdon Town centre.

Croydon Council’s cabinet member for Homes, Regeneration and Planning Councillor Alison Butler said:

“We’re delighted that construction work is set to get under way on this major development. It will provide hundreds of much-needed homes in the south of our borough and deliver widespread regeneration to Coulsdon town centre.”

Barratt Homes regional managing director Gary Ennis said:

“We are delighted to get started on Cane Hill. On top of the much-needed new homes and regeneration for Coulsdon, the development will support thousands of jobs for local people, including apprenticeships and traineeships and those within the supply chain locally. We will also be providing millions of pounds of investment for local transport infrastructure and services like health and education. Getting to this point has been a result of a very successful partnership with Croydon Council, the Mayor of London and the local community. It’s a partnership we aim to build upon continue over the coming months and years.”

Cane Hill Park will contribute to the wider Mayoral priorities for bringing publicly owned assets into use to enable housing regeneration, growth and job creation, as set out in the Mayor’s London Housing Strategy and Economic Development Strategy. The release of mayoral land at Cane Hill Park follows other major sites including Beam Park in Rainham, the Royal Docks in east London, and the 99 acre industrial land portfolio in London Riverside.