This week 30 years ago: Hackney Council climbs down over £80m town hall redevelopment

The Gazette 30 years ago

The Gazette 30 years ago - Credit: Archant

In a U-turn Hackney Council decided to scrap its £80m plan to build offices for 2,500 staff on land behind the town hall. Instead it was going ahead with a much smaller £31m development to house just 600 staff.

Council leader John McCafferty admitted public opinion was the major factor in persuading councillors to abandon the original project.

Under the original plan the George Sylvester Sports Centre was due to be replaced by a new leisure complex in Mare Street. Instead the council decided to spend £2m refurbishing Clapton Baths.

“We have listened to what people had to say and we have rethought,” said Cllr McCafferty.

Both the Lib Dems and the Tories welcomed the climbdown.

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“This white elephant was a liability to Labour’s chances of success in the council elections in May,” said Tory leader Joe Lobenstein.

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