Haggerston Baths: Hackney Council signs off plan to turn historic building into shops, offices and community space
PUBLISHED: 09:22 28 November 2017 | UPDATED: 09:29 28 November 2017
Hackney Council has rubber stamped a plan to refurbish and redevelop the Haggerston Baths building into shops, community spaces and offices.
The decision, made at a cabinet meeting last night, follows the results of a public consultation that showed 54 per cent support for the scheme, compared with a third who backed a rival programme to turn it into a hotel.
None of the options on the table included a pool, something campaigners were bitterly disappointed about. The town hall said it couldn’t find the right contractor for the job despite having spent a year negotiating with a bidder.
Haggerston Baths, in Whiston Road, has slowly fallen into disrepair over the course of 17 years since it shut for repairs that never ended up happening.
Mayor of Hackney Phil Glanville said: “I am particularly happy that designating the pool hall for uses accessible to the community will ensure that Hackney residents will once again have access to this much loved historic building.
“The scheme will provide a considerable amount of work space – something which is missed in this part of the borough – and we will work with [developer] Castleforge to make sure as many jobs as possible are created for local people.”
He admitted: “I know local residents were keen to restore the swimming pool, so the council spent the best part of a year negotiating with a bidder whose proposals included a pool.
“As I said when we consulted on the shortlist, we could not get the reassurances we needed that the scheme with a pool would actually be delivered.
“Before we started this process the Victorian Society named Haggerston Baths as one of the country’s top 10 most endangered buildings. I hope this project will guarantee a long-term and self-sustaining future for the building and secure jobs for Hackney residents.”
The consultation ran for eight weeks from March to May to find out which option people would rather have.
More than 300 people from Hackney took part.
The baths have been costing Hackney Council £100,000 a year to keep shut, but that dwarfs the estimated renovation cost of £20million. Leasing the building means the council will still receive rent payments while keeping ownership of the building, without having to make an enormous upfront payment.
Castleforge will now have to get approval from Historic England to ensure its plans are consistent with the historic character of the building.