Planning approval for Essex County Hospital site has been granted unanimously by Colchester Borough Council Planning Committee.

The proposal hinges on the retention, regeneration and conversion of the listed main hospital building and locally listed former nurses’ home, as well as other heritage assets, with the creation of 120 dwellings.

Our design to breathe new life into the historic site is based around retaining and repurposing the listed buildings to create a great place to live, with emphasis on sustainability, health, place-making and technology. It achieves this through the careful restoration and conversion of the listed buildings and by the deliberate retention of the campus setting.

The hospital building is an important landmark on an elevated position Lexden Road. The site is surrounded by a perimeter wall, with a series of courtyards facing the edges of the site and creating the sense of a fort, a protected site, distinct from its surroundings. The concept plan retains this quality by retaining the perimeter wall and ensuring that the string of courtyards around the edges is retained, either through the retention of existing, high-quality buildings, or through the addition of new development.

Courtyards are the main placemaking tools – the places to meet, to relax, to play, to rest. From the outward looking main courtyard that frames the central lawn fronting the main entrance to the listed building, to the new courtyards framed by the new townhouses, which are more discreet and private, the courtyards are the building blocks of the community.

The scheme puts quality of environment, amenity and wellbeing at the centre of the proposal. Residents will be able to enjoy outdoor space on balconies, patios, roof terraces or in the courtyards, all within safe walking distances, in beautiful surroundings. The ecological value of the site has been enhanced by a significant addition of new green spaces, walking and cycling have been prioritised, and sustainability measures including photovoltaics and car charging points feature throughout the site.

Digital information sharing was at the heart of the project’s evolution. Using 3D modelling & VR we’ve been working closely with the local authority over the last two and a half years to achieve this great result, which has helped secure the future of the historic buildings on this important site.