Kings Hall Leisure Centre

Closes 28 Mar 2025

Opened 28 Mar 2024


What we’re doing

We’ve appointed a design team, led by Faulkner Brown Architects, to develop the initial proposal to refurbish and improve Kings Hall Leisure Centre. The plans are not yet funded but we are working to secure and improve the building for the community. 

The current proposal includes: 

  • a convenient level access entrance for users with disabilities
  • refurbishing the existing pool 
  • a new teaching pool
  • a new sauna and steam room
  • new changing facilities
  • a new fitness suite, including a spin studio and activity studios
  • a new 2-court Sports Hall suitable for community play

Why we’re doing it

Kings Hall Leisure Centre has been at Hackney’s heart for generations - with thousands of you learning to swim, going to classes or using the gym in this historic building. 

It’s an important social and historical landmark, reflected in its Grade II listing, but the condition of the building continues to deteriorate, which means that repair costs are rising and your experience of the centre is getting worse. 

Over the past few years, we’ve been developing plans to ensure that the leisure centre continues to meet the needs of the community. We’re determined, despite significant financial challenges facing the Council, to secure this much-loved building for generations to come. 

How we’re doing it

We've progressed with the project and have proposals ready to be shared with the public. These proposals will also be presented to the Council’s Cabinet in the summer of 2024. 

Below are the information boards and presentation that were available at our public drop-in sessions (in-person and online). Throughout the consultation, a number of questions were raised by attendees. Please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section below that contains the responses to these questions. 

You can also provide feedback by completing this form

In-person information boards

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Online presentation

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Q: Why does Kings Hall Leisure Centre (KHLC) need to be refurbished?
A: Kings Hall Leisure Centre has been at Hackney’s heart for generations. It’s an important social and historical landmark, reflected in its Grade II listing, but the condition of the building continues to deteriorate, which means that repair costs are rising and your experience of the centre is getting worse. We’re determined, despite significant financial challenges facing the Council, to find a way to improve this much-loved building and secure it for generations to come. 

Q: What is the potential timeline for the refurbishment project?
A: It's anticipated that the project will go to the Council’s Cabinet in the summer of 2024. If approval for the business case is granted, we'll proceed with submitting for planning and Listed Building approval shortly after, and continue our procurement process for a main contractor. Based on the current programme, the earliest start on site is expected to be in the summer of 2025, with the new facility becoming operational in the winter of 2027/2028. 

Q: If a decision is made to refurbish KHLC, how long will it be closed for?
A: The duration of the closure depends on various factors such as project timelines, funding approval, detailed design and contractor due diligence. However, based on our estimates, we would expect a closure to last between 2 to 2.5 years.

Q: Why is the refurbishment not being done in stages? 
A: The current building is at the end of its life, and in order to ensure that structural repairs, and upgrades to the building services and fabric are able to be efficiently and safely carried out, this requires the whole building to be shut during the construction works. Unfortunately, a phased approach to the refurbishment is not possible.

Q: Why is the refurbishment taking longer compared to other centres in the area?
A:  The construction work and process are complicated compared to other Hackney projects. As significant parts of the building are Grade II listed, the refurbishment has to integrate new builds within existing buildings. This has impacted the programme length. 

Q: What alternative provisions will be available for users if KHLC is closed for refurbishment?
A: Unfortunately, the facility will need to be closed completely for the period of refurbishment and renewal. This is to ensure the facility is under construction for the shortest period of time, and to ensure a safe environment for all. Kings Hall users will be able to access other leisure facilities in the borough while any work takes place.

Q: How has equal access been built into the design?
A: With the existing 19 th century entrance to Lower Clapton Road being raised with stepped access from the footpath, it is inaccessible for those with mobility difficulties. Moving the building entrance to Clapton Square will provide a level, at grade access to the building. This will ensure everyone, irrespective of physical ability, will be able to access the building. This will remove any barriers to participation at Kings Hall Leisure Centre. Internally, design considerations have been made to ensure easily navigable circulation routes, with lift access between floors for members.

Q: How has equal access been built into the pool design?
A:  The pools will be fully accessible via a Pool Pod (, hoists, and a moving floor in the teaching pool. The moving floor allows the floor to rise flush to the ground and be lowered to specified depth as needed. 

Q: Why is the current entrance on Lower Clapton Road not being converted to an accessible building entrance given its heritage significance? 
A: The frontage on Lower Clapton Road is of high heritage significance and has a presence to the street that would typically be recognised as an “entrance”. However, in the early stages of the project, the team carried out extensive studies on the ability to adapt the existing entrance. The project team also commissioned an access audit which was undertaken in line with Historic England’s “Easy Access to Historic Buildings” advice. Due to the entrance being stepped, there is no access for people who are wheelchair users via the main entrance. Both sets of steps to the entrance are dimensionally inconsistent and steep. Steps which vary in height and depth present a risk of trips and falls particularly for ambulant disabled people, blind and partially sighted people, people with dyspraxia, and older people, which can be a barrier to access the facilities. 

The space between the front of the building and the road is too narrow to support a ramped access into the facility. The design team tested the use of a ’stepless’ platform lift solution. Whilst this option provides a common entrance for all users, with the stairs converting into a platform for access to Kings Hall Leisure Centre, the proposal still disadvantages disabled user groups, which is neither acceptable nor inclusive for a community focused leisure centre. Additionally, during busy periods this entrance design would not be able to deal with the high volume of users coming in and out of the building.

The design team also tested more considerable levels of intervention to enable the introduction of a 20m ramp. This would require removing portions of the historic external façade and floor. The loss of this floor area had a detrimental impact on the facilities which could be delivered and was unviable in cost terms. The proposed solution preserves the facility's heritage significance whilst meeting the needs of its users and operational requirements as a leisure facility.

Q: Why are you not maintaining the current entrance and also creating a separate accessible entrance?
A: The concept of having two entrances could work if they were next to one another, i.e., not being discriminatory to a specific user group by having them use a separate entrance. Unfortunately, this is not an option for KHLC given the nature of the site. 

Having two entrances at the front and  side of the building poses significant operational challenges. Two entrances would require twice as many staff members to control user access in and out of the facility, putting pressure on the operational viability of the centre.This would also mean that there was less space for leisure facilities to be provided within the building.

Q: What is happening to the space currently used as the entrance at KHLC?
A: The space currently used as the entrance (via Lower Clapton Road) is designed to become a separately programmable health and fitness area. This new space will add approximately 21 fitness stations, addressing the growing demand for fitness facilities and ensuring the newly designed space is well used.

Q: Will there be individual showers and changing spaces?
A: The project team are currently exploring options to maximise individual showers and changing spaces following input from the community. 

Q: Will the centre have new equipment post-refurbishment?
A: The current intention is to provide new equipment for the centre when it reopens to the public.

Q: How will the centre address the swimming pool odour? 
A: The new facility will provide much better air circulation throughout all spaces, but most importantly ponding water will not stagnate into the current structure of the building, which currently makes it virtually impossible for operatives to clean, remove the said odours. 

Q: Will Better manage the facilities post-refurbishment?
A: The Council's Leisure Management Contract with GLL / Better runs to 31 March 2029. The procurement process typically begins 3 years before the end of the contract and the procurement business case will be brought before the Cabinet Procurement and Insourcing Committee for consideration. 

Q: Will there be any changes to membership fees or access arrangements during the refurbishment?
A: Whilst the centre will be closed for any refurbishment, members will have access to other Council / GLL operated facilities in the Borough. Since there's a Borough-wide pricing strategy in place, membership fees will remain unchanged. Ample notice of the planned closure will be provided to allow members to plan accordingly.

Q: How will any refurbishment impact local businesses and residents nearby?
A: We're committed to engaging with neighbours and businesses that share boundaries with the centre. Through discussions and agreements, we'll address any potential impacts from the refurbishment plans. 

The refurbishment could lead to an increase in footfall, presenting an opportunity for nearby businesses to thrive. Moreover, a new accessible entrance will be a significant outcome of the scheme, enhancing accessibility for all. Whilst the improvements to the public realm will also prioritise safety for pedestrians and cyclists, contributing to a safer environment for the local community.

Q: How will any refurbishment project be funded?
A: A financial business case will be brought to the Council’s Cabinet in the summer, which will set out the funding approach and investment case for the project.

Q: How can the community provide feedback or raise concerns about the refurbishment proposals?
A: Community members can share their feedback or raise concerns during engagement sessions where staff will be present to record their input. You can also provide feedback by completing this form

Previous public events: 

  • Drop-in Session (in-person) - Thursday 11 April 2024, 5:00-8:00 pm at the Kings Hall Leisure Centre
  • Drop-in Session (online) - Saturday 13 April, 3:00-4:30 pm 

We’ll keep you informed about these plans, and the opportunities to help inform the changes that take place. 

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