IN THE next couple of months Taylor Wimpey will submit a fresh planning application for the Royal Alex. But this is one that the MCHA hopes to be able to support. Following a series of structural tests on the much-loved main building, Taylor Wimpey now intends to develop the building’s roofspace. The most likely plan is to create a mezzanine floor for the the top floor flats extending them into the eves. This won’t create any extra flats but it will make the top-floor flats much larger. Ever since the first planning application on this site the MCHA has been arguing that extra floor space could be found in the conversion by extending into the roof. So in principle this is a plan that we should be able to welcome.
Demolition work finished on the Royal Alex site at the end of February 2011. The Victorian villa, and the other turn-of-the-century buildings have all been reduced to rubble and removed.
The main building, which was the focus of the MCHA’s campaign to save the Alex, remains. It is now shrouded by sheeting and the 1920s wing on Dyke Road has been removed as the first step to restoring the building to its former glory.
A temporary marketing suite has now been built on the junction of Clifton Hill and Dyke Road with two show flats. Most of the flats in the two blocks that form the first phase of the development have now been sold. Taylor Wimpey has already received a number of serious enquiries about flats in the conversion of the main, but these will not be finished until 2014.
Taylor Wimpey has dubbed the new development the Royal Alexandra Quarter as part of its marketing strategy. Taylor Wimpey plans to name the new blocks after the old
hospital wards. The main building will be called the Lainson Building, after Thomas Lainson the local architect who designed it.