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A new civic centre

We are bringing the Royal Hospital site in Whitechapel back into community use as our new civic centre. The new civic centre will be a cornerstone of the transformation of Whitechapel.

Opening in 2022, it will be part of the Whitechapel Vision – one of London’s biggest regeneration projects which includes the opening of Crossrail at Whitechapel Station in 2018, a new £300m life science campus at Queen Mary University London, seven new public spaces and 5,000 new jobs.

The new civic centre will be in the most accessible part of Tower Hamlets. Situated next to the new transport hub in Whitechapel, it will be served by four different train and tube lines including Crossrail, along with bus and cycle routes.

Our Civic Centre plans have changed to meet the needs of residents to have an accessible building, where they can receive a seamless service to get things done in one place.

As a result, we have expanded the plans to make the building 15 per cent bigger – meaning more public space, more council services in one place and partner organisations collocating with us to make life easier for our residents.

The entire ground floor will be dedicated to public use. The meeting rooms and shared spaces will bring people together, residents will be able to access services in one place and there will be space dedicated to training.

It will also connect with the services on offer at the Ideas Store over the road, creating a campus to empower our residents to improve their lives and so we can work together to make our borough even better.

We are also moving more teams from other council buildings into the new Civic Centre, along with other bodies including Tower Hamlets Homes and the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG), so residents have one place to go to get things done.

We estimate to recoup £78m from the sale of old council buildings that will no longer be needed once staff have moved. These sites will no longer be needed for council offices and could be used to provide much needed new housing.

This will go towards the £105m total cost of the new Civic Centre.

After just six years the council will be saving public money compared to current arrangements as it will no longer be paying the £5m a year its costs to rent its current Civic Centre at Mulberry Place.

We will also have a new Civic Centre that provides a much better service to our residents and preserves one of the borough’s most important buildings.

Economic benefits

Through the consolidation and redevelopment of these other council buildings, the move to the new Civic Centre will help create around 700 new homes across the borough. The three year development will generate an estimated 400 construction jobs. Our target is for 20 per cent of them, including 122 apprenticeships, to be taken by Tower Hamlets residents. We also want 20 per cent of construction supply chain contracts to be with Tower Hamlets companies. Once completed, we estimate the annual spend of the council and its staff with local shops and services to be around £4.1m.

Protecting heritage

We will be retaining the significant fabric, finishes and decorations wherever possible   We will replace significant fabric and detail on a like for like basis. We will use materials and techniques compatible with the building’s historic construction and to a high conservation design standard. We will record any features which have to be removed or demolished, and salvage and store them wherever possible.

Environmental benefits

  • A biodiversity strategy to protect certain species of birds and invertebrates
  • An excellent BREEAM rating for a sustainable building
  • Water-efficient WCs, taps and showers and a low-water irrigation strategy
  • Recycling facilities during the construction to reduce waste to landfill
  • Cycle parking provision for both staff and visitors at the Civic Centre accessed directly from the Cycle Superway
  • Responsibly sourced building materials
  • Energy efficient design to reduce our carbon footprint including renewable energy such as air source heat pumps and photovoltaic panels.