Go-ahead for 481-home mixed-use revamp of Hackney leisure centre

Plans have been approved for the redevelopment of a north London leisure centre into a 481-home mixed-use scheme, after planners advised that the loss of designated open space was outweighed by other 'significant material considerations'.

A visualisation of the finished development
A visualisation of the finished development

The London Borough of Hackney last week approved a hybrid application for the redevelopment of the Britannia Leisure Centre near Shoreditch Park.

The application sought outline consent for the site's existing buildings to be demolished and replaced with eight new buildings to provide a maximum overall floorspace of up to 83,989 square metres. These would provide 481 homes within six separate residential blocks, commercial floorspace, an early years centre, a school, and a new leisure centre.

Full consent was sought for 93 homes, the early years centre, school and public realm improvements.

A planning report said the scheme would result in the loss of designated open space (DOS), contrary to local planning policy.

But planners advised that the DOS area "currently comprises poor quality, accessible only by pre-booking, tarmac fenced, outdoor sports courts", which would be replaced with a "sport and leisure facility for the existing centre that currently sits outside of the DOS".

Officers said that, "whilst there would be a small quantitative loss of open space overall, the new open space would be of a high quality and the existing surrounding open space enhanced to help compensate for this loss".

On affordable housing, the report said that the application proposes that about 17 per cent of the proposed residential units would be affordable, contrary to a 50 per cent rate set out in local planning policy.

But the reason for the shortfall, the report said, "is that the development is conceived as an enabling development with the private residential cross subsidising the provision of other social infrastructure i.e. the school and leisure centre. Given the significant scale of social infrastructure proposed in the form of the school and leisure centre, this approach is accepted".

Recommending approval, officers said the proposals would deliver "a significant amount of social infrastructure in the form of a new and improved leisure centre which meets required standards, and a new secondary school which will significantly assist in meeting Hackney’s projected demand for pupil spaces".

The application will be referred to the mayor of London for consideration.

Consultancy Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design advised the London Borough of Hackney. 

Last week, plans were approved for up to 505 homes on a former telephone exchange site in north London.

In October, plans were approved for a 1,150-home development up to 48 storeys high on industrial land off London's Old Kent Road. 

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