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Britannia Leisure Centre in Hoxton to be replaced by flats, school and new sports hub as plans signed off

PUBLISHED: 11:47 21 April 2017 | UPDATED: 14:24 21 April 2017

A computer generated image of what the new Britannia Leisure centre site development will look like.

A computer generated image of what the new Britannia Leisure centre site development will look like.

Archant

Hoxton’s Britannia Leisure Centre will be knocked down and rebuilt after plans for a school, flats and new sports hub were given the go-ahead.

A delegation of Save the Britannia Leisure Centre campaigners outside Hackney Learning Trust on Tuesday evening. A delegation of Save the Britannia Leisure Centre campaigners outside Hackney Learning Trust on Tuesday evening.

As well as providing the Hyde Road centre with “state-of-the-art” new leisure facilities, plans include a 900-place secondary school, 480 new homes – 80 of which will be affordable – and a new cafe and toilets accessible from Shoreditch Park.

The council expects the new centre to include a 25-metre swimming pool, a learners’ pool, a “confidence pool” for young children with a flume, a soft play area, squash courts, a 180-station fitness centre, a spin cycling studio, two exercise studios, a sports hall and a multi-use games area.

Campaigners handed in a petition signed by 2,962 people to the council earlier this year in support of saving the existing centre, which was built in two stages in the 1970s and 1980s – but mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville argued it was unfit for purpose and needed to be knocked down and replaced with a new facility.

The group presented to cabinet members on Tuesday night and expressed several reservations – including replacing a green corner of Hackney with a dense concentration of buildings.

Philip Glanville has argued throughout the consultation process that the current leisure centre will soon become unfit for purpose unless it is replaced. (Photo: Adrian Pope) Philip Glanville has argued throughout the consultation process that the current leisure centre will soon become unfit for purpose unless it is replaced. (Photo: Adrian Pope)

Throughout the consultation process between December and February, Mr Glanville had stressed that the cost of fully refurbishing the old centre would be £14million and would have required it to close for 18 to 24 months.

He said of this week’s decision: “This is an exciting project which will enable us to invest in vital local facilities; a new secondary school to ensure there are high quality school places for local children, a brand new leisure centre to replace the outdated existing one, a café and toilets for the park and new housing – including affordable homes.

“Given the scale of this project, I’m very pleased that we’ve been able to include affordable homes in the proposal. The sale of the other housing will directly fund these homes and the new community facilities.

“We look forward to continuing to share our ideas with residents and leisure centre users as the plans progress, and will fully involve them in shaping the future of the site.”

"This is an exciting project which will enable us to invest in vital local facilities; a new secondary school to ensure there are high quality school places for local children, a brand new leisure centre to replace the outdated existing one, a café and toilets for the park and new housing – including affordable homes."

Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville

Funds for the development have not been forthcoming from central government, according to the council. They will instead be raised by the sale of the private housing built on the site.

Mr Glanville told the Gazette in January that the percentage of affordable housing is as low as 17 per cent because a higher quantity of private housing is needed to finance the new school and leisure centre.

The Shoreditch Park secondary school will be taken on by the City of London Academy Trust, which had plans for a temporary school in Haggerston Park approved in November.

The new academy will have six classes in each year group, taking 180 students in its first year and eventually offering 900 school places.

At the same meeting, cabinet members approved plans for another new secondary school on the site of Benthal Primary School, which will move to the site currently occupied by Nightingale Primary, following Nightingale’s move to its brand new facility at Tiger Way.

The existing leisure centre will close when the new centre is ready to open.

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