• UCLH charity’s work held up after discovery of old burial ground
  • Redevelopment profits due to be reinvested in building of cancer centre
  • Trust was due to receive £20m from charity in 2019-20

Building work being carried out by the charity of a major teaching hospital has been delayed after around 2,000 skeletons were discovered at the development site.

The University College London Hospitals Charity was redeveloping the Middlesex Hospital Annex, in central London, before an old burial ground on the site held up the work.

A spokeswoman for the trust and its charity said: “Around 2,000 skeletons have been discovered at the site. The Middlesex Hospital Annexe was built on the site of an old burial ground. The skeletons will be interred and Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) is leading this process.”

University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust sold the Middlesex Annex site to its charity for £11.9m in March 2017.

The charity was granted planning permission to redevelop the buildings the same year. The site, which was once a workhouse, will be turned into 53 homes, 40 of which will be affordable housing for social rent and key workers. It will also have some commercial space and a health hub, including clinical space and up to six MRI scanners.

The profits from the redevelopment are due to be invested in University College London Hospitals FT to support its “phase 4” building programme.

This £270m project will put an 11-storey building on Tottenham Court Road, near the hospital’s main site, which will house a proton beam therapy centre below ground. Above ground, the building will have space for 20 short-stay surgical beds and eight short-stay operating theatres, a 10-bed critical care unit, 135 inpatient beds (85 for NHS patients and 50 private), and a haematology centre.

This new cancer treatment facility is being built with funding from the Department of Health and Social Care and will be one of two NHS PBT sites in England.

However, while the DHSC has paid for the PBT facility in the basement, UCLH Charity intends to grant the trust £28m for the rest of the work. The facility is expected to treat its first patient in 2020.

UCLH FT was due to receive £20m of the grant in 2019-20 but its latest board papers noted it has been delayed because the charity has yet to dispose of the Middlesex Annex.