Highbury Leisure Centre pool ready to reopen after fire

Highbury Leisure Centre 

The main Highbury Leisure Centre pool. - Credit: Islington Council/GLL

The pool in an Islington leisure centre is now ready to reopen following a devastating fire.

Highbury Leisure Centre was badly damaged by a blaze in 2018, with its roof "completely gutted", according to an eyewitness, just 18 months after it was given a £2.5million refurbishment.

Soon after the incident, the London Fire Brigade confirmed the flames were started by contractors working on the roof of the GLL-run facility.

The site was surveyed to assess the damage and how much of the remaining infrastructure could be reused, and in January last year, Islington Council approved plans to restore the Highbury Crescent facility and appointed KJ Evans as the main contractor.

It has now announced that the pool is ready to reopen when coronavirus restrictions allow. 

There is a main 25-metre pool with six lanes, alongside a 10.44m by 9.47m teaching pool and glazed spectator gallery.

Highbury Leisure Centre

The new Highbury Leisure Centre teaching pool. - Credit: Islington Council/GLL

Islington Council said all the new facilities are fully accessible, with disabled changing areas and pool hoists to help everyone get access.

Highbury Leisure Centre 

The gym area at Highbury Leisure Centre. - Credit: Islington Council/GLL

Highbury Leisure Centre 

Highbury Leisure Centre facilities. - Credit: Islington Council/GLL

Other facilities on-site, including a gym, opened just 10 weeks after the fire.

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Cllr Nurullah Turan, Islington Council’s executive member for health and social care, said: “As part of our commitment to creating a fairer borough for everyone, Islington Council is determined to do all it can to ensure that local people are able to enjoy active, healthy lifestyles.   

“Highbury is one of the busiest leisure centres in London, and we know the devastating impact and disruption that the fire of 2018 caused. Since then, the council and GLL have been working tirelessly together to fully restore the building to the highest possible standard."

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Cllr Turan said an "enormous amount of effort" has gone into rebuilding an "even better pool than before".   

He added: “Although this has now been achieved - along with an improved gym and functional fitness area - lockdown restrictions are currently preventing us from reopening the facility.

"We look forward to welcoming everyone to the new and improved facility as soon as the restrictions are lifted and it is safe to do so.” 


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