Search

Anaconda Swimming Club demands new pool – on the Holloway Prison site

PUBLISHED: 15:19 20 September 2017 | UPDATED: 15:38 20 September 2017

Islington's Anaconda Swimming Club is campaigning for a new pool at the former Holloway Prison site. Picture: Polly Hancock

Islington's Anaconda Swimming Club is campaigning for a new pool at the former Holloway Prison site. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

Islington’s sole competitive swimming club has started a last-ditch campaign to build a pool on the Holloway Prison site.

Islington's Anaconda Swimming Club is campaigning for a new pool at the former Holloway Prison site. Picture: John DonovanIslington's Anaconda Swimming Club is campaigning for a new pool at the former Holloway Prison site. Picture: John Donovan

Anaconda Swimming Club said it’s a “once in a generation” opportunity to create a swimming legacy in Islington.

The club currently has to split sessions between five pools across the borough. It claims all of these are “unfit for purpose”.

Islington Council is consulting on draft plans for the future of the site, which closed as a women’s prison in summer last year.

Among key suggestions are between 600 and 900 new homes, targeting 50 per cent as affordable. The town hall has also suggested a green space and women’s centre.

But Anaconda is making a late bid for an eight-lane pool to be part of considerations. Chiefs handed out letter templates to parents on Monday night, asking them to send signed copies to council leader Richard Watts.

Chairman Andy Iwaniec told the Gazette: “There have been a lot of good intentions at Islington on building a fully functioning swimming pool but it’s never happened. The Holloway Prison site is the perfect place for this social infrastructure.

Islington's Anaconda Swimming Club is campaigning for a new pool at the former Holloway Prison site. Picture: Polly HancockIslington's Anaconda Swimming Club is campaigning for a new pool at the former Holloway Prison site. Picture: Polly Hancock

“Why on earth wouldn’t it be given serious consideration? Any redevelopment of more than 200 units ought to have leisure facilities for it to be considered as part of Islington policy.

“We are up against a huge political agenda about social housing, which we completely understand. But why do you have to have one without the other? You could put homes on top of the pool. You could have the pool underground.”

Not-for-profit Anaconda is currently operating at full capacity, teaching 500 children but unable to expand.

“It’s a nightmare for our teachers,” Mr Iwaniec said. “The facilities are totally inadequate. Our HQ is at Cally Pool, where both ends are shallow and there is no viewing gallery.

“Some of our best competitors have to beg to get slots at the Olympic pool, or in Hackney. We are very much the poor cousins in Islington. There is nowhere for us to hold a swimming gala.

“If you look at groups like Camden Swiss Cottage Swimming Club, they are twice as big as us. So they can teach twice as many children, and get twice as many active. A big pool at Holloway would make a huge difference.”

Islington’s consultation runs until October 2. Visit islington.gov.uk/consultations

Latest Islington News Stories

A “stirring and fiercely patriotic” song about Islington has been unearthed and performed a century after its composer died in France during the First World War.

A young man has “potentially life-threatening” injuries after being stabbed in Archway last night.

11:11

Homeless and vulnerable people will be offered health checks at a festival in Finsbury Park next month.

11:02

A pilot project to tackle “holiday hunger” means 4,600 healthy lunches are being offered to kids free this summer.

Yesterday, 17:22

“Gutted” kids at a Stroud Green primary school were left empty-handed when their yearbooks failed to turn up – due to a dispute between parents and the printing company.

Yesterday, 17:02

Some “incredibly insensitive” electric car charging points will be removed from a Highbury street because they take up too much pavement space.

Yesterday, 13:52

Installation of new “fire safety” doors on a Highbury estate has been halted in the wake of government safety tests – amid links between the contractor and Grenfell.

Yesterday, 11:30

A former police office and Stoke Newington RAF cadet is now serving his country in another way – after his call handling start-up app was given permission to be contracted by the government.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Fostering older teenagers means giving them the skills for life as an adult. Here, a supportive lodgings carer with Islington Council and young adult who has left care share their stories

Newsletter Sign Up

Islington Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now