Newham Council wants residents help to decide and shape the future of Balaam Leisure Centre in Plaistow.
Balaam Leisure Centre has been closed since December 2018 following the discovery of a serious water leak through the concrete pool tank which also forms the ceiling of the basement gym. This made the structure unsafe and the council was forced to close the centre.
The structure has now undergone specialist testing and the results have been received and evaluated. These results have been used to develop a range of options for the future of the centre, and now the council wants residents and users to give their views on what should happen next.
Balaam Leisure Centre is the oldest of the Council’s four leisure centres. It opened in 1983 and the building is now quite run down and approaching the end of its design life, as a result the site has been allocated in the council’s Local Plan for future housing development from 2028/29. The Local Plan has already been subject to extensive public consultation. So the proposals in this consultation should be considered as interim measures until the site is used for housing development.
The consultation opens on Thursday 3 October and will close at midnight on Wednesday 27 November. It can be found online at www.newham.gov.uk/Balaam and paper copies of the questionnaire are available in Newham libraries, community centres and leisure centres.
The Council is proposing four options, and each of these has an estimated timescale and budget. As the location has been designated as an area for housing development in the Local Plan, options 1-3 would be interim measures until 2028/29.
- Option 1: Concrete repairs, with estimated lifespan of 5-10 years, reinstatement of basement gym and ground floor studio only, refit of ground floor and basement changing. Provision of platform lift. Closure of main and training pool halls. Option 1 would take approximately 95 weeks (22 months) and would cost approximately £883,000
- Option 2: Concrete repairs, with estimated lifespan of 5-10 years, reinstatement of basement gym and ground floor studio, refit of ground floor and basement changing area, provision of platform lift, and conversion of existing training pool area to additional studio space, closure of main pool hall. Option 2 would take approximately 103 weeks (24 months) and would cost approximately £1,099,000
- Option 3: Concrete repairs, with estimated lifespan of 10+ years, reinstatement of basement gym, ground floor studio and training pool only, refit of ground floor and basement changing area, provision of platform lift, the closure of main pool hall. Option 3 would take approximately 125 weeks (29 months) and would cost approximately £2,483,000. If the main pool hall is closed, an alternative use could be found for this space. However, this would cost an additional £670,000 to £790,000.
- Option 4: Permanent closure – closure and demolition to ground and bring forward the redevelopment of the site for housing as soon as possible
- In addition to the survey the council will be holding two meetings at Plaistow Library were users and residents will be able give their views and ask questions. Please check the Newham Council website for details.
When the consultation closes, responses will be analysed and a recommendation made to Cabinet. Cabinet will make a decision in February 2020 taking into account the consultation responses.