Haggerston Pool Trust ‘determined’ to move forward

Haggerston Baths. Pic: Malcolm Edwards

Haggerston Baths. Pic: Malcolm Edwards

Haggerston Pool Community Trust are “determined” to move forward with plans to reopen the swimming baths it was revealed this week.

Over 50 residents, architects, council members and technology specialists attended the meeting on March 7 to voice their opinions and ideas concerning the Grade II listed building, which was first opened in 1904.

Haggerston Pool closed in February 2000 for health and safety reasons. The council had planned to sell the land  to allow for a housing development, but were halted by extensive campaigning from the Haggerston Pool Action Group and the local community.

A feasibility study carried out in 2006 determined that £21 million would be needed to reopen the pool as a wellness centre complete with gym, GP, dentist and hydrotherapy.

The Department of Children, Schools and Families awarded £5.1 million towards the refurbishment of the pool, but the recession prevented any further action and the project was abandoned.

Mike Coysh, chairman of Haggerston Pool Community Trust said: “We want some kind of partnership with the council.”

Coysh described the evening’s events as: “incredibly encouraging”.

Jonathan McShane, Councillor for Haggerston ward and Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture said that a good way to bring life back to the building would be to open it temporarily as something more cost effective to raise money in the short term.

Aaron Turner, managing director of the Play Date Group, a local development company, agreed with McShane and called for a bottom up approach to developing the pool. He said to the Trust: “you’re not just building a building – you’re building a community”.

However, the evening was not all plain sailing, with some residents voicing frustration that the building was inaccessible.

One local resident asked: “How are we supposed to plan without seeing what we have to work with?”

Councilor Kim Wright, Corporate Director of Community Services became the target of these concerns, repeatedly explaining that the building was unsafe to enter. It is estimated that more than £400,000 is needed to prevent the building from falling into furtherdisrepair.

A second meeting has been planned to decide the intermediate uses of the building. No date has been confirmed.

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