Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum submitted by Haggerston Pool, Hackney

  Shoreditch has one of the most socially excluded communities in the country. This is recognised in being given pathfinder New Deal for Communities status:

    —  33 per cent of households are on Income Support (21 per cent UK);

    —  62 per cent of housing stock is high rise (19 per cent UK);

    —  the premature death rate (SMR for aged 15-64) is 176 (UK 100);

    —  crime 256 offences are per 1,000 population (UK: 100); and

    —  only 32 per cent of households own a car (69 per cent UK).

  In an area that does not have much, Haggerston Pool is one of the few assets available to local people. The pool is well-loved and valued by Shoreditch people. Built in 1904, it is a listed building and survived World War II bombing. It is a flagship project—for example, the pool's weather vane is the Haggerston SRB logo. But. . . . :

    —  it was closed for health and safety reasons in February 2000. Estimated cost to re-open £3-400,000;

    —  co-incidentally at the same time as Clissold Pool overspend by at least £10 million;

    —  this met strong local opposition—Haggerston Pool Action Group formed; and

    —  Hackney has now confirmed closure for financial reasons—both capital and revenue are now not available.

  The community disbenefits include:

    —  eight schools have removed swimming from the curriculum;

    —  the Boat Club has closed its books because it cannot water-train new members;

    —  20 swimming clubs are adversely affected;

    —  young people have even less to do at same time as youth provision is being cut back; and

    —  health suffers as regular and occasional users can't afford elsewhere.

  Strategic disbenefits include:

    —  Shoreditch is a pathfinder NDC area—closure runs counter to regeneration investment;

    —  the pool is also the hub of successful NOF Health Living Centre bid, thus jeopardising our whole programme re healthy living;

    —  business plan prepared in August 2000 for community takeover ignored; and

    —  new rescue package is being prepared, but can only work if the audience receptive.

  There is a real danger that current asset stripping by London Borough of Hackney will lose this heritage facility forever, unless our practical solution is adopted or funding is made available to re-open.

4 December 2001

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