Campaigners appeal to Khan to stop Britannia plan

Digital representation of the future Britannia new leisure centre Pic: Hackney Council

Campaigners have appealed to Sadiq Khan to stop redevelopment plans for the Britannia Leisure Centre in Hackney.

In an email sent to the Mayor of London and other officials, the Save Britannia Leisure Centre campaign said the Hackney Council proposal for the centre will breach planning guidelines in several respects. The Mayor is currently considering the plans which were approved by Hackney Council last week.

Current view of the Britannia Leisure Centre in Hackney. Pic: Weidong Lin

One of the main points of contention is the housing developments that will be built on the grounds. The majority of houses built will be private for market sale, leaving only 17 per cent for social rent and shared ownership.

This contravenes the planning guidelines as half of the houses built on public land are required to be affordable.

Another issue highlighted was the height and bulk of the buildings. According to campaigners, the development plans include buildings more than 10 storeys tall. This will be out of character with the area and therefore “sticking out like a sore thumb, and out of all proportion to neighbouring buildings”.

Concept plans of the new buildings in Hackney. Pic: Hackney Council

Pat Turnbull, 71, the campaign’s spearhead and local resident said: “The council has deliberately played down the 400 luxury flats, the fact that of the 481 dwellings in the plan only 48 would be council social rented (ten per cent), the three towers, 25, 20 and 16 storeys high, and the fact that the replacement leisure centre would be built on Shoreditch Park.”

The project also includes refurbishment plans for the leisure centre, as well as building a new secondary and sixth form school, which the campaigners deem unnecessary.

The leisure centre, campaigners say, is less than 40 years old and still functioning. Building a new one would cost twice as much as refurbishing the current centre would cost.

City Academy Shoreditch Park school is also believed not to be necessary. The area where the school will be built has the lowest percentage of under 18-year-olds in Hackney and already has three secondary schools nearby.

Artists impression of the new school in Hackney. Pic: Hackney Council

Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville said: “It’s taken us years of planning, consultations and public meetings to get to this stage, and we’ve listened to residents and taken on board their feedback throughout. We’ve tried to include as many elements of what people have told us they want as possible.”

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