Neighbours concerned about Finsbury Leisure Centre plans tell council: ‘Listen to us’
PUBLISHED: 10:56 10 August 2017 | UPDATED: 12:12 10 August 2017
Neighbours of Finsbury Leisure Centre fear their concerns over its flagship redevelopment project will be ignored.
Campaigners were given just four days’ notice of a June exhibition revealing plans for the new sports facility, which will also see more than 100 homes and an energy centre built.
They had already had their say on early designs by Pollard Thomas Edwards last year after the architects won the contract – and were assured then they would be given the opportunity to help shape the project.
So they turned up to the exhibition expecting to see modified plans that had taken their concerns into consideration, so were angry to be shown almost identical proposals. They are now pleading for their voices to be heard before it’s too late.
“It appeared to be no different to the competition scheme,” said Carey Godwin, of Central Street. “We feel let down by them and the council.
“I’ve now written to the council to tell them to come out into the community. We are not unreasonable – we want the architects to understand how we live and care about the spaces around us. Our comments are not totally without consideration and thought.”
Carey and her neighbours are concerned the development as currently planned is isolating and blocks out the surrounding area.
“It is supposed to be a space for the people, not a private gated space,” she said. “The development should be opening up the area for the community, not closing it down.”
Carey also said the proposed building would block off light and space to Mitchell Street, casting a shadow over St Luke’s Gardens, Central Street and Norman Street – and dwarfing the St Luke’s Church spire.
The town hall maintains the plans are still in their early stages and that neighbours will have a chance to influence the design during a full public consultation in the autumn.
Health and social care boss Cllr Janet Burgess said: “This is an exciting project to build much needed new council homes and a new leisure centre.
“We want to work with the local community to build this ambitious new facility.
“Residents have had a chance to look at initial design ideas and give us their views, and there is still plenty of time for residents to help influence the design.”