Haggerston Baths: Council considers 10 bids for building’s future... of which just two involve restoring pool
PUBLISHED: 09:25 05 February 2016 | UPDATED: 09:44 28 November 2017
Just two of the 10 formal bids submitted to Hackney Council to develop Haggerston Baths will bring the derelict Victorian swimming pool back to life.
The council is currently making a shortlist of three options from the bids – some of which are purely residential. Others have a mix of uses including a workspace, bar, restaurant, gallery and general community use.
The Save Haggerston Pool campaign has urged the council to ensure at least one in the shortlist includes a public swimming pool in the Grade-II listed barrel-vaulted pool hall in Whiston Road, Haggerston.
Campaign co-ordinator Liz Hughes told the Gazette: “There are three bids with a swimming pool, two are in the pool hall and one is elsewhere in the building. Our concern is there should be at least one swimming pool in the final shortlist, and obviously our preference is the pool in the pool hall.
“We have seen no details of any of the bids, so we don’t know what they look like.”
The group is also concerned about an update to the Local Government Act stating councils cannot decide to accept a bid that is more that £2m less than the highest offer without referring the process to the government.
“Obviously someone putting in for a lot of flats can pay more for the lease than someone who wants to build a public swimming pool,” said Ms Hughes.
The group has written to Mayor of Hackney Jules Pipe asking him to make sure there is a public meeting and consultation once the shortlist has been drawn up, which is expected in the next fortnight.
A spokesman for the council said: “We will begin shortlisting the proposals in the coming weeks. While this remains ongoing we cannot comment on any likely uses or next steps.”
The bathhouse, which opened in 1904 and 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 two years ago.
The council, which is forking out about £100,000 a year on basic building maintenance and security measures, decided to put it on the market for a 250-year lease last May, because it could not afford the £25m needed to restore it. By June they had received 29 bids including a brewery, a theatre and a hotel.