Residents fear Haggerston Baths consultation will be hindered by Covid-19 lockdown
- Credit: Lottie Maynard Fry
A long-awaited planning application to renovate Haggerston Baths and add a new 800 person office block has been submitted – but neighbours say the coronavirus lockdown will affect the community consultation process.
They have set up their own online survey to gather opinions and concerns about the proposed development in the hope it will reach more people in the borough.
Residents welcome restoration of the historic building but think the council could have “taken more steps” to inform the public about the recent application.
One neighbour who lives near Haggerston Baths told the Gazette: “Notices have gone up but, with the lockdown, nobody’s going to see them.”
The application was registered on March 31 and residents are invited to comment on it until May 3 but she and several of her neighbours say consultation letters have only been sent to people living in the immediate vicinity of the building despite it being a Hackney asset.
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The neighbour said: “We’ve raised the issues with Hackney council and, normally, I would expect them to take steps to make sure the community was aware especially in this kind of situation like publishing things online more or sending the notice to a much wider catchment.”
Hackney council owns the building and put a statutory notice in the Hackney Gazette’s print and e-editions on April 9 but the distribution of newspapers during the epidemic has also been affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.
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The residents’ survey has already received 39 responses, four more than one carried out by the council’s chosen developer Castleforge Partners which was sent to 9,000 addresses.
Castleforge won approval for plans to transform the historic building into shops, community space and offices in 2017.
It says the plans will enhance the much-valued site and that they remain sensitive to its unique history and the strong community feeling about its long-term future use.
The company asserts it has been “committed to an open and wide-ranging consultation with the local community over the past 15 months.”
It has had five public consultations and held nine public meetings with immediate neighbours of the building and key interest groups.
A spokesperson from Castleforge Partners said: “The proposed redevelopment of this site is a really exciting opportunity both for Castleforge and for the local community. We will continue to work with residents over the coming months to discuss our plans and look forward to delivering the next chapter in the building’s history.”
Hackney Council has been contacted for comment.
To share your thoughts and concerns about the future of Haggerston Baths and complete the residents’ survey click here.
To add your comments to Hackney council’s planning application click here.
To read about Hackney Council and Castleforge’s plans to restore Haggerston Baths click here.
Or to find more groups, networks and organisations like this in Hackney providing support during the Coronavirus lockdown visit our There With You Essential List.