Hackney Council puts Haggerston Baths on the market
- Credit: Archant
Hopes have been raised a derelict Victorian swimming pool could be put back into use after Hackney Council put it up for sale.
Haggerston Baths in Whiston Road, which has been boarded up for the past 15 years, was named one of the nation’s 10 most threatened Victorian and Edwardian buildings in England and Wales by the Victorian Society in October 2013.
The conservation group has welcomed the news that the Grade II listed bathhouse has been put on the market after what they claim is “years of inaction and neglect” by Hackney Council – but have expressed surprise that any interested party must register their interest as early as June 9.
The council announced on May 18 that it was seeking expressions of interest for the redevelopment of the baths though BNP Paribas.
It is currently forking out around £100,000 a year on basic building maintenance and security measures, and would need to find more than £25m to restore it.
Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney said: “We would love to be able to invest in the building but unfortunately, with ever- shrinking resources, we simply cannot prioritise this project. However, we are determined to identify a long-term and sustainable future for the building.
“We would particularly welcome someone with viable, sustainable plans to re-establish use of the barrel-vaulted pool hall.
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“We know through the work of the Haggerston Pools Trust the strength of feeling about the baths. For that reason, we will only consider working with an appropriate partner, such as someone who is prepared to use the building for the benefit of the community or to revitalise the local area,” he added.
But the Victorian Society urged the council to ensure that whoever the building is sold to ensures access to the pool and public areas.
Sarah Caradec, Victorian Society conservation adviser, said: “Re-development is preferable to losing the building entirely, however, the fact that interested parties have only until June 9 to register their interest was surprising.
“Local groups such as Save Haggerston Pool will sure find it harder than developers to respond in this tight time frame.
“The popularity of local venues such as London Fields Lido shows the potential success of a restored Haggerston Baths.”
Designed by architect AWS Cross, the baths opened in 1904 and contained a 60-stall wash house.