Cabinet gives Britannia project the go-ahead

Hackney Town Hall

Plans for a brand new leisure centre, a new secondary school and housing - including around 80 affordable homes - were approved by Hackney Council’s Cabinet last night.

The redevelopment of the Britannia Leisure Centre site, in Hyde Road, Shoreditch, will provide 900 much-needed secondary school places plus a sixth form, state-of-the-art new leisure facilities – including a café and toilets accessible from Shoreditch Park, as well as around 480 new homes, approximately 80 of which will be affordable, to part fund the community facilities.

This is an exciting project which will enable us to invest in vital local facilities; a new secondary school to ensure there are high quality school places for local children, a brand new leisure centre to replace the outdated existing one, a café and toilets for the park and new housing – including affordable homes.

Given the scale of this project, I’m very pleased that we’ve been able to include affordable homes in the proposal. The sale of the other housing will directly fund these homes and the new community facilities.

We look forward to continuing to share our ideas with residents and leisure centre users as the plans progress, and will fully involve them in shaping the future of the site.
Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney

The existing Britannia Leisure Centre was built in two stages in the 1970s and 1980s and is now coming to the end of its life. Despite small scale refurbishments, the cost of fully refurbishing the centre would be approximately £14m and would require it to close for 18-24 months.

The design of the new leisure centre will be developed in consultation with users, but the Council expects it to include, as a minimum, a 25-metre swimming pool, a new learner pool, a confidence pool (aimed at 0-5 year-olds) with a flume, a children’s soft play area, squash courts, a 180-station fitness centre, a spinning studio, two exercise studios, a sports hall, and a multi-use games area.

The existing leisure centre will only close when the new one is ready to open.

Current legislation does not allow councils to open new maintained schools, so the Council is working with the City of London Academy Trust to provide a mixed-sex, comprehensive school and sixth form.

At the same meeting, Cabinet approved plans for another new secondary school on the site of Benthal Primary School, which will move to the site currently occupied by Nightingale Primary, following Nightingale’s move to its brand new facility at Tiger Way.

During a consultation, which ran from 5 December-12 February, respondents indicated a preference for greater density of housing if that meant that more affordable homes could be built on the site. As a result, the Council plans to build approximately 400 homes for sale, in order to raise the funds for the leisure centre and school, and around 80 affordable homes.

Nearly 60 per cent of consultation respondents either strongly agreed or agreed with proposals to replace the existing leisure centre - 14 per cent neither agreed nor disagreed. Over 72 per cent said the Council should continue to provide secondary school places in line with increasing parental demand, and 62 per cent said they wanted to see affordable housing on the site.

The full results of the public consultation are available here.