Hackney Council is seeking “expressions of interest” for the re-development of Haggerston Baths but has given no assurance that it will remain a swimming pool.
Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney, said: “We will only consider working with an appropriate partner, such as someone who is prepared to use the building for the benefit of the community or to revitalise the local area. We would particularly welcome someone with viable, sustainable plans to re-establish use of the barrel-vaulted pool hall.
“We would love to be able to invest in the building but unfortunately, with ever-shrinking resources; we simply cannot prioritise this project.”
The council estimates that it would cost £25m to fully restore the pool. It seeks to grant a long lease of “250 years” in the property, subject to bringing it into repair. Expressions of interest must be submitted before June 19.
The site currently costs the council around £100,000 every year in maintenance and security.
The baths are included in the Victorian Society’s top ten list of the most endangered Victorian and Edwardian buildings in England and Wales due to its cultural and architectural significance.
Sarah Caradec, Conservation Adviser at the Victorian Society, said: “Haggerston Baths are in a state of disrepair. Given this, we welcome the news that the baths are up for sale – redevelopment is preferable to losing the building entirely.”
“However, the fact that interested parties have only until June 19 to register their interest was surprising. Local groups such as Save Haggerston Pool will sure find it harder than developers to respond in this tight time frame.
“Hackney Council should ensure that its statement, that it will only work with someone who will use the building for the benefit of the community or to revitalise the local area, translates into ensuring public access to the pool. The popularity of local venues such as London Fields Lido shows the potential success of a restored Haggerston Baths.”
The pool opened in 1904 and was closed in 2000. Since then there have been several attempts to attract funding and open the re-facilities.
In June 2009 the building was given a £5m grant from the Department for Children, Schools and Families towards a renovation plan. However, due to the recession the council was forced to abandon the project and withdraw the funding.
In 2013 the Save Haggerston Pool campaign tried unsuccessfully to have the pool listed as an Asset of Community Value.