Response from Hackney Mayor

Subject: Haggerston Baths consultation process

 

Dear Mr Coysh
 
Thank you for your email regarding the above matter, which was received on 11 January 2016.
 
As I know you are well aware, this is a sensitive matter given the strength of feeling expressed by those who wish to see the Baths restored to their former use, and of course the necessity that the site must be put to a self-sustaining use, and the Council’s view that the expenditure of public funds of the size required by this project on pursuing the reinstatement of a public swimming pool is not possible.
 
Council officers are currently assessing the formal proposals, and whilst I would not like to second guess the results of those deliberations, I understand there is a strong possibility that from the ten submissions a shortlist of candidates will emerge. Until the extent of that shortlist is known it is difficult to say exactly how any future consultation may look, although I am advised that if it is reasonably practical then some form of public exhibition with an opportunity to comment can proceed, subject to the agreement of the bidders concerned.  One would hope that bidders would be keen to project their ideas to an interested community.
 
I also agree that some form of explanation as to the legal and financial constraints that the Council is under may help people understand that its decision-making sits within a legal framework and that the Council is not entirely free to do as it pleases.  That said, we are hopeful that evaluation and selection can be relatively straight forward in terms of due process, and the principles of evaluation remain the same: as has been the case since the Council began discussing this process with you, each scheme must be evaluated on its merits, starting with deliverability of a self-sustaining use, or set of uses. Officers have not forgotten the desire for a scheme to include a pool.
 
By way of update, I am told the 10 bids include varied proposals, and some fundamental clarifications must be obtained before officers can be confident in the relative deliverability, sustainability of proposed uses, and financial benefits associated with each one.  I know that officers are keen to report back as soon as they practically can, and they will want to do this once equipped with all the available facts, so that interested parties can readily appreciate what is on offer.
 
I hope that this response is helpful. If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact Chris Pritchard, Assistant Director of Strategic Property Services, by email: chris.pritchard@hackney.gov.uk. 
 
Yours sincerely
 
Jules Pipe
Mayor of Hackney