Planning permission has been granted to convert the former Royal London Hospital building in Whitechapel into a new Tower Hamlets town hall.
The decision is subject to approval by the Mayor of London over the coming weeks.
The Grade II listed 18th century building was used as a maternity hospital for much of the 20th century. It has been vacant for several years.
Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs said: “This is a key milestone in delivering our new town hall, which will be a landmark building. By bringing the council together with our partners, like healthcare and housing, it will be somewhere where residents can access a range of public services in one place. We also want to encourage local people to feel this is a building for them to use.
“And compared to other options it demonstrates the best value for money. We want a town hall that is worthy of the name but will press down on costs.”
The estimated total cost of the new town hall is £105m but it is expected to save the £5m a year that the council spends renting its current accommodation at Mulberry Place. In addition, an estimated £78m will be recouped from the sale of old council buildings that will no longer be needed once staff have moved into the new town hall. Those redundant sites could be used to provide new housing.
Construction of the new town hall, designed by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM), will start later this year, with an expected completion date in 2022. The new design retains and restores the Georgian façade of the original hospital building, which dates back to 1757.
AHMM associate Sam Scott said: “Achieving planning consent for this exciting proposal is an important milestone for such a sensitive and complex project. AHMM and Tower Hamlets Council have engaged extensively with the public and amenity societies to conserve the character of a building which occupies such a significant place in the collective memory of the East End.”