Britannia Leisure Centre to reopen after fire

Fire engines at the Britannia Leisure Centre. Picture: Polly Hancock

Fire engines at the Britannia Leisure Centre. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Hoxton’s Britannia Leisure Centre will reopen tomorrow after a fire closed it for 10 days – but the health suite that went up in flames will remain closed.

Town hall health and safety officers, along with forensic investigators, are still working to determine the cause of the blaze that saw 100 plus people evacuated from the building on Monday evening last week.

But testing and repairs on the pools, gym, studio, squash courts and sports hall have now been done and it will open its doors at 8am tomorrow.

Hackney Council’s leisure chief Cllr Jon Burke said: We’ve been determined to get Britannia Leisure Centre open again as quickly as possible so the community can start using its facilities again, and I’m delighted to say that from 8am on Saturday, it will reopen.

“I’d like to thank customers for their patience over the last 10 days while we’ve been carrying out this essential work, as well as staff from Better Leisure, the council and our contractors for their hard work in getting the building reopened as quickly as possible.”

Cllr Burke has also asked Better, which manages the centre, to investigate claims made by one regular who told the Gazette the blaze was “to be expected” as there had been a “long history of massive neglect” to the sauna.

The user said: “As a regular user of this sauna I have been very clear in repeatedly bringing the issues and its potential risks to the attention of centre staff.

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“Only last week I attempted to meet with the centre manager to discuss these issues but staff could not locate him.”

The problems, the user said, began last year when the temperature spiralled out of control and the internal thermometer and hygrometer broke and the heater became exposed.

“Nothing was done about this and lately the temperature has gotten much too high again, giving a sensation of burning to the skin and leading to most people avoiding this room.

“Despite this issue being repeatedly pointed out to staff no one seemed to understand the issue. In the last month the plastic surround of the sauna emergency alarm had melted and more planks of wood fell out.”

The centre underwent a controversial £300,000 facelift in 2016 despite plans, now approved, to flatten it and build homes, a school and a new leisure facility in Shoreditch Park.