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"Staggering" support for campaign to Save Haggerston Pool

PUBLISHED: 09:00 09 February 2014

Haggerston Baths

Haggerston Baths

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A petition to save a derelict Victorian swimming pool has gathered over 900 signatures within just five days.

Haggerston BathsHaggerston Baths

Haggerston Baths in Whiston Road which has been boarded up for the past 13 years was named one of the nation’s 10 most threatened buildings Victorian and Edwardian buildings in England and Wales by the Victorian Society last xxx.

But now residents from the Save Haggerston Pool campaign are mounting a bid to turn Grade-II listed pool complex which opened in 1904 into an ‘asset of community value’.

The Community Right to Bid – introduced by in 2012 - is intended to help community groups to pause sale of buildings or land they care about which are listed as ‘assets of community value’.

If the council – which owns Haggerston Pool – then decided to sell it, a six-month moratorium on the sale could be invoked, providing the campaign group with a better chance to bid for it.

To register the council-owned Haggerson Pool as an ‘asset of community value’ at least 21 signatures were needed.

But many more people signed the Change.org online petition demonstrating overwhelming support for its re-opening.

Campaigner Andrea Cooper, who lives in Kingsland Road, said: “To have got a number like that is absolutely staggering, it shows the value of digital campaigning.

“I was just really impressed when I read the comments on the petition - you can see the passion.

“Some are older residents who used to swim there every morning of their lives, while others say it would just be very practical and we just need more swimming provision.

“Everybody talks about they want this pool to come back into use because it’s such a beautiful landmark building in Haggerston.”

Refurbishment plans, set to cost around £25 million, were scrapped in 2011 when the recession hit.

“The original business plan was mothballed, but since then lots of schools have moved into the area,” said Ms Cooper.

Every pool needs to be subsidised, it actually costs £10 to go for a swim but people might pay a lot less than that, so there needs to be an entrepreneurial business plan with ideas such as finding anchor tenants like a GP surgery or a social enterprise to pay rent, and to find out if any of the local schools could become majority stake holders.

“There is a sense to saying let’s refresh the business plan now that things have moved on a bit and then we work out the options for bringing it alive again.”

To sign the petition go to www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/haggerston-pool-supporter-network-support-the-application-for-haggerston-pool-to-become-an-asset-of-community-value-an-important-step-on-the-road-to-saving-haggerston-pool.

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