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Whittington’s social housing plan after signing modernisation deal

Archway hospital joins forces with Greater London Authority after cutting ties with firm linked to Grenfell disaster

07 December, 2018 — By Tom Foot

The Whittington Hospital has set up a joint estates strategy committee with the Greater London Authority

THE Whittington has signed a public sector deal to bring about the modernisation of its estate after cutting ties with a profit-making company earlier this year.

The Archway hospital’s board has set up a joint estates strategy committee with the Greater London Authority and has agreed future terms with City Hall.

The shared aim is to build social housing and improve clinical facilities on the NHS-owned land.

“The working relationship between the GLA and Whittington Health NHS Trust is intended to bring benefits to both parties and support the delivery of upgraded clinical facilities and housing,” according to a new board report.

It is the first time a NHS trust has worked with the GLA in this way, a spokesman told the Tribune.

The board papers say the GLA is taking a new “hands-on” approach to housebuilding. The “work­ing relationship” will help with “knowledge and expertise in strategic housing delivery and development procurement”, according to the Whittington.

The hospital earlier this year backed out of a similar deal with private company Ryhurst following a public backlash against the firm’s links to the Grenfell disaster.

Ryhurst last month lodged an application for compensation at the High Court, claiming the board was unduly swayed into axing its contract by politicians and campaigners.

Ryhurst is in the Rydon Group, which oversaw a refurbishment of the tower block in west London where 72 people died.

Rydon has strongly denied any wrongdoing over the fire and insisted it met government regulations.

Despite this, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn criticised the decision to appoint Ryhurst and said the company should be dropped and the project taken in-house.

Last June, the Whittington revealed it had received an unexpected funding boost and could afford to run the project itself.

Ryder Architecture has been unveiled as the company to design the housing developments on the Whittington land. No detailed plans are available yet of housing to be built on the site.
The company has been shortlisted to design a new Moorfields Eye Hospital, a £250million project at St Pancras Hospital.

All patient services are being moved out of St Pancras and a new mental health facility is expected to be built on Whittington land.

The Whittington’s board papers this month said of the new deal: “The aim, Steve Hitchins [the NHS trust chairman] stressed, was to make this project a rolling programme of promoting the positive and bright future for the trust.”

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