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First images released of new leisure centre planned for Shoreditch Park - as row rages over Britannia demolition

PUBLISHED: 17:00 01 December 2017 | UPDATED: 17:19 01 December 2017

What the proposed new Britannia leisure centre might look like. Picture: Hackney Council

What the proposed new Britannia leisure centre might look like. Picture: Hackney Council

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The first pictures of the new leisure centre planned for Shoreditch Park have been revealed, along with more detail about the tower blocks and school set to be built beside it.

An artist's impression of the 25m pool at the proposed new Britannia leisure centre. Picture: Hackney CouncilAn artist's impression of the 25m pool at the proposed new Britannia leisure centre. Picture: Hackney Council

The information is in a pre-planning application that has been lodged for the site this week.

It says there is an urgent need to press on with the scheme, which will flatten the Britannia and build a permanent home for the City of London Academy Shoreditch Park – because the school is currently stuck using a temporary building up the road in Haggerston Park.

But campaigners are furious that the academy’s fortunes are being used to justify the project as a whole, saying the temporary school should never have been signed off in the first place without objections to the Britannia project being considered.

An artist's impression of the 25m pool at the proposed new Britannia leisure centre. Picture: Hackney CouncilAn artist's impression of the 25m pool at the proposed new Britannia leisure centre. Picture: Hackney Council

The town hall assured Save Britannia that signing off the temporary school would not influence the result of any applications to build a permanent home for the students – an assurance that seemed faintly ridiculous to protester Pat Turnbull, who said the two were inextricably linked.

Pat told the Gazette: “When they proposed the temporary building I asked at the planning meeting if they were not deciding in advance the permanent building that would be on the Britannia site, which is contested and hasn’t been to planning yet.

“They said: ‘No – it doesn’t predetermine the situation regarding Britannia at all.’

What the new Britannia leisure centre might look like. Picture: Hackney Council What the new Britannia leisure centre might look like. Picture: Hackney Council

“It wasn’t convincing. Now they are saying there’s a pressing need for a school because of the temporary building.”

Details of the scheme, which includes just 80 “affordable” flats out of 480, have become clearer in the plans. A school would be built in the car park of the leisure centre while Britannia is still operating, and should open in 2020. The new leisure centre would be delivered next, by 2021, before the Britannia is knocked down and two 21- and 24-storey tower blocks built there.

An 18-storey block will also go up in the grounds of the former Whitmore School, which was renamed Shoreditch Park Primary a year ago.

An artist's impression of the pool at the proposed new Britannia leisure centre. Picture: Hackney CouncilAn artist's impression of the pool at the proposed new Britannia leisure centre. Picture: Hackney Council

Deputy mayor Cllr Anntoinette Bramble said: “We need a new secondary school for local children whether the Britannia project goes ahead or not.

“However, as we have explained throughout this process, the funds raised from the wider project will help deliver the school as well as the new leisure centre and council housing.”

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