10:00AM Wates signs £20m contract to build Chelsea pensioner care home

Wates Construction is to sign the contract to build a £20m care home for the Royal Hospital Chelsea this week.

Demolition of the old infirmary in west London began earlier this year, and work is expected to start on the 125-bed care home, designed by Quinlan Terry, next month.

The American practice Steffian Bradley Architects has designed the interior and Capital Symonds is the project manager.

Controversy hit the scheme last year after Lord Rogers objected to Terry’s neo-classical designs on aesthetic grounds, despite the plans receiving approval from Kensington and Chelsea’s planning office. At one point the ODPM threatened to hold a public inquiry into the plans and Terry reacted by accusing Rogers of using his political influence to impede the project.

The hospital, home to the famous red-coated Chelsea pensioners, was originally designed by Christopher Wren and opened in 1692 for injured soldiers. A new infirmary was added after the second world war. The latest project was commissioned after legislation changes governing the bed-to-bathroom ratio for residents meant that the post-war extension had to be replaced.