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Plans to renovate Leyden Street toilets get the go-ahead

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Run-down Victorian toilets in Leyden Street, Spitalfields, will be renovated into a café and restaurant after being granted planning permission.

Tower Hamlets Council is refurbishing the underground toilets near the famous Petticoat Lane Market. The toilets, which date back to 1901, are currently in a poor state of repair, locked up and not available to the public.

Plans will turn them into a new ground level café, a basement charcuterie restaurant and re-providing a public toilet at ground level for visitors, market traders and customers.

Working with Historic England, the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) and Neil Tomlinson Architects, the design will protect some of the key heritage features of the Victorian toilet that make it so unique, including the original Victorian external railing, handrails, and tiling.

The project is part of the Middlesex Street Regeneration Programme. It is funded using Section 106 and Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), which are paid to the council by developers to help improve areas where development is taking place, and also through the High Street Heritage Action Zone scheme, run by Historic England.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said:

“We had to close these toilets because they were old, dirty and attracted anti-social behaviour, so to see them get a new lease of life is a massively welcomed improvement.

“The Middlesex Street Regeneration project is investing heavily in the area to drive footfall to the market and high street businesses. We hope this new addition to the street will brighten up the area, and I look forward to seeing a new, clean, modern space that will and become a place of interest.”

The Council is now in the process of appointing a contractor to carry out the renovation work, which is scheduled to begin in spring 2022.

Posted on Tuesday 8th February 2022