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Highbury Leisure Centre: Fire damaged facilities to re-open early next year after plans and contractor approved

PUBLISHED: 10:34 20 February 2020 | UPDATED: 10:43 20 February 2020

Highbury Leisure Centre_Exterior: (Left to right) Tyron Fuller, Partnership Manager, GLL; Cllr Janet Burgess, Islington Council’s executive member for health and social care; Mark Leslie, General Manager, Highbury Leisure Centre. Picture: Steve Bainbridge

Highbury Leisure Centre_Exterior: (Left to right) Tyron Fuller, Partnership Manager, GLL; Cllr Janet Burgess, Islington Council’s executive member for health and social care; Mark Leslie, General Manager, Highbury Leisure Centre. Picture: Steve Bainbridge

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Repair works on the fire-ravaged Highbury Leisure Centre should finish early next year, after planning approval and a contractor were secured.

The remains of the Highbury Leisure Centre roof this afternoon. Picture: Alan DavisonThe remains of the Highbury Leisure Centre roof this afternoon. Picture: Alan Davison

Islington Council planners waved through proposals to restore the Highbury Crescent facility run by GLL on January 24, and work has already started on patching up the hall, including the roof, pools and poolside area and changing rooms. KJ Evans has been appointed as the main contractor.

The council-owned leisure centre was refurbished to the tune of £2.5million in February 2017, only to go up in flames 18-months later on September 25.

The day after the blaze, the London Fire Brigade confirmed it was started by contractors working on the roof.

Talks are ongoing as to whose insurance provider will cover the costs.

Damage to Highbury Leisure Centre. Picture: @LFBTowerHamlets/London Fire BrigadeDamage to Highbury Leisure Centre. Picture: @LFBTowerHamlets/London Fire Brigade

A hundred people, including schoolchildren, were evacuated as the fire took hold but fortunately no one was hurt.

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Paul Lister, head of service at GLL said: "This latest development is a huge step forward in the reinstatement works at Highbury Leisure Centre, as we enter the final and most significant phase of the programme.

"We continue to work closely with Islington Council to ensure that we can return outstanding leisure facilities to the community as quickly and safely as possible.

Damage to Highbury Leisure Centre. Picture: @LFBTowerHamlets/London Fire BrigadeDamage to Highbury Leisure Centre. Picture: @LFBTowerHamlets/London Fire Brigade

"We are extremely grateful to our customers for their continued patience. We appreciate the centre is an important community facility and we are extremely excited to welcome them to the new and improved centre."

Isilngton's health and social care chief Cllr Janet Burgess said: "With work now under way on reinstating the pool and health and fitness areas, I am looking forward to seeing the wonderful results."

A gym area was reopened 10-weeks after fire and a spin studio was unveiled last month.

Following the fire, the site was surveyed to assess the damage and how much of the remaining infrastructure could be reused, while also making it safe for rebuilding work to begin.

The damage to the roof at Highbury Leisure Centre.The damage to the roof at Highbury Leisure Centre.

This was followed by the clearance of the pool hall, including the draining of pool tanks, clearing debris, removing damaged items and stripping out the existing electrical, plumbing, heating and ventilation systems.

Workers also reinforced the remaining roof structure, as well as installing a shrink wrap system to protect the structure from the elements.


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