Plans to create a brand new leisure facility, state of the art youth centre and much needed council homes can now be progressed, following a ‘Contract Close’ last week (1 March).
Poplar Baths – a Grade II listed building that was once home to a well-used swimming pool – sits opposite Chrisp Street Market, Poplar and has fallen into disrepair since the pool was closed in 1988.
In the run up to his election in 2010, Mayor Lutfur Rahman pledged to restore Poplar Baths to their former glory, and to create additional homes and a new youth centre on the nearby site where the former Dame Colet House and Haileybury youth centre currently sit.
Marking stage one of the £36 million scheme, the ‘contract close’ means Tower Hamlets Council has entered a development agreement with developer Guildmore Ltd, and detailed design and planning applications can be drawn up and submitted for approval. Stage 2 of the scheme, ‘Financial Close’, will then take place pending planning permission, before construction work can start on site.
Lutfur Rahman , Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: “Bringing Poplar Baths to its former glory for the community is something I’ve been committed to for a long time. I’m delighted that we’ve signed this agreement to kick-start the transformation. This scheme will provide something for everyone – 100 new homes, state of the art leisure and youth facilities in an accessible location for residents, and training and employments opportunities for local people.”
Councillor Rabina Khan , Cabinet Member for Housing, said: ‘’I’m pleased we have taken the first steps to bring back this much loved community asset back into use for the benefit of families, residents and the wider community. The scheme will also go some way in addressing the housing shortage in the borough as it aims to provide more affordable social housing along with training, work placements and mentoring support for our residents.”
As part of the agreement, the council has negotiated for Guildmore to provide employment opportunities during the project, by using local suppliers and contractors, and providing apprenticeships, work experience and mentoring.
Engin Ertosun, Managing Director of Guildmore, said: “I look forward to providing much needed quality residential and leisure facilities in the borough, and I am committed to improving local employment prospects for the community by providing work opportunities to local people and businesses. Guildmore will also be working closely with the council to ensure that young people have the opportunity to access an apprenticeship scheme.”
Lillian Collins, chair of the Poplar Baths steering group, has been one of the residents heavily involved in the campaign to restore the Baths, said: “I’m delighted that we’re one step closer to seeing Poplar Baths brought back to life and we’ll be working with the council as the scheme progresses. The redevelopment will give the local community access to fantastic facilities and we’re thrilled that the Mayor has continued his commitment to the project.”
Notes to editors:
1. Mayor Lutfur Rahman announced the decision to redevelop Poplar Baths at a Cabinet meeting of Tower Hamlets Council on 9th January 2013 along with the planned regeneration of Dame Colet House and Haileybury Youth Centre
2. For information about this press release contact Numan Hussain , Political Advisor to the Mayor on 07508 352 023 or email firstname.lastname@example.org