We have been informed by Hackney Council that there is no place for a swimming pool in any of the three schemes to redevelop Haggerston Baths which are on the shortlist selected from bids put to the Council in 2015.
We are bitterly disappointed that this is the case, and we know that this will be deeply unpopular with residents and supporters, more than 150 of whom attended a meeting on 8th October 2015, and 384 of whom responded to a questionnaire on the future of the building. Of the 384, over 90% wanted a swimming pool on the site.
We understand that protracted negotiations with a bidder who did have plans to keep the original pool broke down. However, we would wish to draw attention to a 16 year history of failure on the part of the Council to prioritise the reopening of the pool, and to work with the community to do so, particularly when capacity and funds were available to progress the project through the community route. This will represent a community asset lost forever at a time when the local population is on the increase, the NHS is under increasing threat, and other pools in the south of the Borough are threatened.
We hope that the Council will take all possible steps to inform the community face-to-face as to the history behind all of this, and how and why we have reached the sorry position we now find ourselves in, particularly in the light of the potential threats to other pools in the Borough.