Developer defying council appeal to save 'Mother Levy's' buildings

By Jessica Elgot, December 1, 2011
Follow Jessica on Twitter
The former hospital site is not protected from demolition

The former hospital site is not protected from demolition

Housing developer Peabody will defy a Tower Hamlets Council plea not to demolish the former Jewish Maternity Hospital in Tower Hamlets - and will tear down the premises this month.

On Tuesday, the council voted unanimously for Mayor Lutfur Rahman to start urgent negotiations with Peabody. It also urged the company to reconsider its plans for flats on the site to preserve the cottages at the front of the hospital, which was known as "Mother Levy's". However, it acknowledged that there was no formal protection from demolition.

It subsequently pointed out that "since 2008, our planning officers have maintained that any redevelopment of the site should include the retention of the two cottages and this advice has been reiterated to Peabody during pre-application meetings".

In a statement on Wednesday, Peabody reiterated that it had "planning permission to demolish the existing buildings on the Underwood Road site and demolition works will begin in December.

Historian Tom Ridge has attacked the developer's intransigence

Historian Tom Ridge has attacked the developer's intransigence

"Peabody plans to build a new high quality residential development on the site that will provide much-needed affordable homes for people in Tower Hamlets. The new building will also recognise and commemorate the history of the site. If we retain the two cottages, we will lose seven units."

More than 500 people signed an online petition to save the cottages and campaigners gave a presentation to the council meeting.

Local historian Tom Ridge claimed Peabody's actions were "unscrupulous and undemocratic". The campaigners have also requested an urgent meeting with Peabody.

    Last updated: 4:03pm, December 1 2011