Why We Are Consulting
Over the summer, the Council commissioned a feasibility study to identify the options available to build a new leisure centre, six form of entry secondary school and co-located housing on the Britannia site. The study took account of the lack of central government funding to build a new leisure centre, the limited funds for building a new school, the desire for the current leisure centre to remain operational during the build period and also whether it would be beneficial to rebuild Shoreditch Primary School elsewhere on the site. All to be achieved whilst retaining the land in the Council’s ownership. This includes the outcomes of our work to date.
This questionnaire invites residents and stakeholders to feed back their thoughts on these options. As the programme progresses, residents will be able to get involved in more detailed consultations on the design options for specific elements of the scheme; for example, the facilities and layout of the leisure centre.
As well as feeding back through this consultation questionnaire, you can find out more and ask questions at a series of drop-in sessions, which are detailed on the right-hand side of this page.
The aims of the multi-use development proposal
Build a new leisure centre to replace facilities which are reaching the end of their life
Build a new secondary school with six forms of entry and a sixth form
Retain Shoreditch Park Primary School (formerly Whitmore Primary School) as part of the Britannia site and fund some improvementworks to the school
Build affordable and private sale housing. The private housing is to contribute to the cost of the leisure centre, secondary school and improvements to Shoreditch Park Primary School.
More information on the Britannia site proposal is available for download below.
1 – Residential tower
2 – Shoreditch Park Primary School
3 – Residential development
4 – Residential tower
5 – New secondary school
6 – Residential tower above school
7 – School play space
8 – New Leisure Centre
Britannia Leisure Centre
Britannia Leisure Centre was built in two stages in the late 1970s and 1980s and is now coming to the end of its life. The mechanical and electrical systems need replacing and there are leaks from the health suite into the pool circulation area and from the swimming pool tanks into the surrounding ground. Only recently we were forced to close the pool for three days after a water pipe burst, which required significant repair work.
Despite small scale refurbishments, the cost of fully refurbishing the centre would be approximately £14m, and would require it to close for a significant amount of time, about 18 to 24 months. We think it would be more effectiveto build a new leisure centre which better suits the needs of its users, is attractive, modern, more efficient to operate, and secures leisure provision in the area for the next generation and beyond. The aim would be to close Britannia Leisure Centre only when the new centre is open.
Some of the facilities we are considering in the new, state-of-the art leisure centre include: a 25 metre swimming pool, a new learner pool, an introduction to water area – which could include a flume, a children’s soft play area, squash courts, fitness studios, 6-court sports hall, a larger gym and two 5-a-side football pitches.
The new leisure centre would face onto Shoreditch Park, improving the relationship between the leisure centre and Park by allowing people to enter and exit it from the Park and Pitfield Street, and would include a café and toilets, both of which will be accessible by Park visitors.
If we go ahead with this proposal, residents would be invited to take part in further consultation events to input into design options for the new leisure centre. At this point, we would like to know your views about the idea of a new leisure centre.
City Academy Shoreditch Park
Like many London boroughs, Hackney needs more school places. Despite investing over £500m in our schools over the last decade, we need to build two new secondary schools to keep pace with demand. Current legislation does not allow the Council to choose to open a new maintained school. All new state-funded schools have to be free schools or academies. To ensure the quality of education provision for our young
people, we are working with the City of London Corporation, a trusted provider with a strong track record in the borough, to develop these schools, which would provide the high quality places we need. We need to start this work now to ensure they are ready in time.
The City of London Academy Shoreditch Park would have six classes in each year group, taking 180 students in its first year and eventually offering 900 new school places, plus a sixth form. It would open at a temporary location on Audrey Street in September 2017, before opening at its permanent site in 2020.
We already have a good relationship with the City of London Academy Trust, which sponsors the successful City Academy Hackney, which has achieved phenomenal results. Last summer, 89% of pupils achieve five or more A* to C grade GCSEs, and 42% achieved at least three A*/A grades.
The school would be designed and built to the same standard as Hackney’s award-winning Building Schools for the Future schools with its own sports hall, multi-use games area (MUGA) and play space.
Shoreditch Park Primary School
The feasibility study considered whether Shoreditch Park Primary School (formerly known as Whitmore Primary) should remain on its existing site, or be rebuilt elsewhere. The study concludes that this school, rated Outstanding by Ofsted, should remain where it is, as the quality and size of the facilities it currently has could not be replicated in a new building somewhere else on the site. It is proposed that a small area of the school site would be used for housing. The Council would seek to increase and improve the school’s remaining spaces in return for the loss of a relatively small part of its total area.
Shoreditch Park Primary School has a relatively spacious and varied external area relative to other schools in the Borough, but we are very aware that such space is precious and should only be considered for an alternative use if the benefits justify it. We have consulted with the school on these proposals and will continue to do so.
Hackney Council receives no Central Government funding to build leisure facilities and insufficient funding to build schools to match the quality of those we built under our Building Schools for the Future programme. This means that we’re having to think creatively about how to pay for them to achieve that quality. By building homes ourselves, rather than handing the site to a developer, we can ensure that every penny raised would go to fund the new leisure centre and school.
The feasibility study looked at how many units of housing would need to be built to fund these facilities. We also looked at how many affordable homes we could fund on the site. The homes are likely to be 1-3 bedroom properties. We anticipate that the housing units would be in the form of residential towers – in the range of 18 to 24 storeys.
If we go ahead with this development, residents will be invited to provide feedback on the design proposals for the residential towers.
Options not being taken forward
We have carefully considered a wide range of options and some were found to be unfeasible:
If the Council did not invest in the current leisure centre it would become increasingly difficult to keep it open, as the building deteriorated, so that ultimately it became unfit for use. If the Council did not build a new school, it would fail to meet its legal duty to provide sufficient school places, so that Hackney families would need to send their
children out of the borough. Central government might open free schools run by providers that might not wish to engage with their local community as our existing schools do.
Refurbishing the current leisure centre
Britannia Leisure Centre is approaching the end of its life and is costing too much money to operate and maintain. We considered refurbishing the leisure centre, but it was estimated that it would cost around £14m and would mean that it would close for around 18 to 24 months for the refurbishment. This option wouldn’t allow us to build a new secondary school on the site and therefore keep pace with the demand for school
A new leisure centre and school with no residential:
This option was found to be impossible due to funding restrictions: there is no central
government funding available to build a new leisure centre and not enough to build a new school. The option would require too much additional funding and is not affordable.
A new leisure centre and school with over 560 private for sale housing units:
This option would be made up of more than 560 private for sale housing units, with no affordable housing at all.
This option would be sufficient to fund all the public facilities needed without any subsidy from other sources, but we considered the housing element to be too dense for the area, which could have unacceptable impacts on the surrounding area, and not result in the design quality that we are striving to achieve.
Rebuild Shoreditch Park Primary School elsewhere on the site and bring the land into the scheme:
This would have meant a smaller school rebuilt on the site, with potentially significant loss of play space. In addition, this option would not contribute to the affordability of the scheme as any return from converting the existing primary school building to private for sale units would be offset by the cost of rebuilding the school.
Due to the constraints of the site and the funding available the number of feasible options is limited and vary around the balance of private for sale and affordable housing units, with the inclusion of affordable housing units making the development slightly more dense.
Each of the options assumes:
a level of funding from the Education Funding Agency for the school in the region of half of what would be required to deliver the quality of the BSF schools rebuilt and refurbished in the borough.
a contribution from funds generated from elsewhere across the Council’s estate to mitigate the density of the development.
housing units will be sold to meet the remaining gap in the funding for the school and part of the cost of the leisure centre.
The feasible options are:
Approximately 440 housing units, of which 40 are affordable homes
This option allows us to provide a new leisure centre, a six form of entry secondary school and 40 affordable homes, all part-funded from the sale of 400 homes.
Approximately 400 housing units, with no affordable homes on site
This option allows us to provide a new leisure centre and a six form of entry secondary school, partfunded through the sale of 400 homes. There would be no affordable housing on the site.
Approximately 480 housing units, of which 80 are affordable homes
This option allows us to provide a new leisure centre, a six form of entry secondary school and 80 affordable homes, all part-funded through the sale of 400 homes.
*We are seeking your opinion on some draft options, which will inform detailed proposals which we will consult on as part of developing our design for the scheme should it be taken forward.
Residents will be able to get involved in more detailed consultations on the design options for specific options of the scheme; for example the facilities and layout of the leisure centre and design proposals for the residential towers.