* UPDATE Monday 271117: the bid for the 250-year lease by Castleforge Partners, a private equity firm, was today considered by Hackney council, which Loving Dalston has learnt will decide next week whether to accept it. Meanwhile, it has used an obscure secrecy clause to avoid telling anyone that publicly
* UPDATE March 2017: Only London and Regional Properties and Castleforge are now left on the list of bidders for the lease. Neither proposes restoring the pool
HAGGERSTON BATHS will be closed to swimmers for ever. Owner Hackney council has given up on its attempt to save the bijou pool, part of a complex of grand Edwardian chambers that has been falling into decay since 2000.
Unwilling to take the London Fields Lido option, where the council closed the 50m baths, for 20 years, then reopened after public pressure, Hackney decided to sell the property’s 250-year lease to a private developer.
Only one of the best 10 bids included “retaining the pool”. In the council’s defence, it should be noted that it says it spent most of 2016 negotiating with that developer.
Eventually, however, Hackney, not convinced the firm could implement its pro-pool proposal, settled on a list of three finalist bids.
They will go on show for public consultation “in the new year”, says the council, and a final decision is “likely to be made in spring 2017”.
The three finalist bids, briefly:
* London and Regional Properties — workspace for tech. businesses; art gallery; screening room and function room in a multifunction space; café and — probably most contentious of all — private members’ club;
* Seaforth Land — workspace for creatives; arts venue; design hub; café; retail; office space; live-work space.
Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville says the council “will work with the winning developer to make sure the final proposals bring this much-loved building back to use”.
The pool complex is considered one of the most endangered buildings in the land. Despite the council’s spending £100,000pa on maintenance and security, vandalism has wreaked the usual kind of damage.
At time of publication, no comment had reached Loving Dalston from campaign group Save Haggerston Pool.
David Altheer 051216
* Backstory, Hackney pulls plug on Haggy Baths hopes; Hiring a lido contractor is not going swimmingly; Hackney flooded with enquiries; Could the Haggy become a pub?; Hackney washes its hands of heritage site; Sell Haggerston pool says Hackney
* All pictures on this page © DavidAltheer [at] gmail.com — apart from old pic of pool interior, courtesy Hakney Archives — and all are for sale for reproduction. Most photographs are available in bigger formats