The Old Hospital
Address line 2:
Field Stile Road
Modece Architects Ltd
Architect contact number:
Hastoe Housing Association, SouthGen.
Wellington Construction Ltd
East Suffolk Council
Date of Completion:
Schedule of Accommodation:
5 x 2 bed flats, 1 x 2 bed bungalow, 3 x 3 bed houses
4 affordable and 5 shared ownership properties
Total number of homes:
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Size of principal unit (sq m):
Smallest Unit (sq m):
Largest unit (sq m):
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This project arose from a grassroots campaign to save Southwold Hospital from demolition and redevelopment as second homes. The site’s uses were decided by a community-led feasibility study which resulted in a partnership with Hastoe Housing Association to buy the site. Hastoe was able to make the site all affordable housing through grant funding from the Community Housing Fund and Homes England. With overwhelming support from the local community, the scheme’s aim has always been to retain the original Arts and Crafts façade. A community share offer raised nearly £.5 million which has helped to pay for high-quality detailing.
The design focus has been the retention of as much of the original Arts and Crafts building as possible, together with the reinstatement and restoration of elements of the building that had been less than sympathetically added to over the decades it had been a hospital.
The redesign of the main hospital building includes two of four first-floor flats, a crèche and a farm to fork café. Particular attention has been paid to the façade, roof design and the prominent chimneys. Aside from these main elements, consideration has also focused on windows, plain tiles, and the reinstatement of the original Flemish brickwork bond.
The design, removal and rebuilding of the rear 20th-century additions to the hospital site have required careful consideration to maximise new residential and community space whilst being sympatric to the original building. The redesign of these elements has provided a further two first-floor flats, the new Southwold library and business space. In addition, a modest three-bedroom house and fully DDA compliant bungalow have been included.
The removal of further 20th-century additions to the existing building has allowed the inclusion of a pair of stand-alone 3 bedroom semi-detached houses and a new-build flat over the entrance to the site
The key to achieving the density of development on the site, allowing as many affordable housing units as possible, has been a highly efficient special design. Parking and driveways are kept to a minimum. One of the flats is lifted-up and built over the access to the site whereas another has a roof form that is precisely designed to allow building up to the site boundary while still protecting the neighbouring rights to light. The result is a scheme in which the final product is highly unique, and one that is fully conceived from its context.
This is the first time a community has purchased a hospital back from the NHS to return it to local use. The project has inspired an amazing community spirit; volunteers have been involved from the initial bid to buy the site right through to fitting out the spaces. And community vision has helped shape the design in a brief for the scheme that is not only in keeping with the original hospital but also sympathetic to the local setting, which is a mix of Edwardian terrace houses and 1950s social housing.