Our design for the regeneration of the former Essex County Hospital site for Essex Housing will save the site’s historic Grade II listed buildings, and create 120 new homes with a mix of high-quality one to three-bedroom apartments and three and four-bedroom townhouses. This ambitious project not only preserves the site’s historic Grade II listed buildings but also marks a new chapter in the site’s rich history with the creation of a new neighbourhood within a distinctive setting.

Lexden Gardens Colchester


Key Highlights of the Project:

Preservation of Heritage: Our design ensures the safeguarding of the site’s historic Grade II listed structures, including the main hospital building, former Nurses’ Home, and other heritage assets. This commitment to heritage preservation extends to the entire campus setting and the retention of the historic, perimeter wall.

Placemaking: The Lexden Gardens project revolves around the conservation and restoration of listed and locally listed buildings, as well the creation of a masterplan which will cultivate a vibrant and sustainable community, emphasising community and high-quality amenity provision. Residents at Lexden Gardens will enjoy access to a variety of outdoor spaces. Balconies, patios, roof terraces, and landscaped courtyards offer opportunities for relaxation, recreation, and connection with nature.

Protected and Distinctive Setting: The site is enclosed by a perimeter wall, with carefully designed courtyards facing its edges, creating a sense of security and distinctiveness. These courtyards are thoughtfully integrated as communal spaces, serving as meeting points and areas for relaxation and play.

Enhanced Ecological Value: The project enhances the ecological value of the site through the addition of green spaces. Prioritising walking and cycling, sustainability measures include car charging points integrated throughout the site.

Collaborative Partnership: We collaborated closely with the local authority for over two and a half years, using cutting-edge digital tools such as 3D modelling and virtual reality to communicate the project’s evolution. This collaborative approach resulted in unanimous approval of the planning application by the Colchester Borough Council Planning Committee.

Completion of the Lexden Gardens project is anticipated in 2026.

We have wide ranging experience and skills in the residential sector, from mixed-use masterplans to large scale regeneration developments and to individual homes. We support our clients in balancing the complex challenges of affordability, social housing, public realm, sustainability and investor value so they can maximise a site’s community, environmental and commercial potential.

We consider each project using a unique holistic process that aligns RIBA’s Work Stages with the three elements of Chetwoods philosophy – Studio, Thrive and Works. Studio puts the human nature, imagination, and instinct into our designs. Thrive ensures that they are ethical, environmental and healthy. Works makes them into exemplars of construction and technological performance


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