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Highbury Leisure Centre to partially reopen but pool building set for demolition

PUBLISHED: 17:32 06 December 2018 | UPDATED: 17:37 06 December 2018

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

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

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Highbury Leisure Centre is to be partially reopened on Monday – but the building that went up in flames is to be demolished and it’s unknown who will foot the bill for repairs.

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

The centre, in Highbury Crescent, will reopen its gym and fitness classes to the public 12 weeks on from the blaze that took 80 firefighters to quell and left a smog on the north London skyline.

But the swimming pool hall, which was refurbished for £2.5million last February, remains out of use.

On the website of operator Better, it says the next stage will involve “the demolition and reconstruction of the pool which remains closed”.

Cllr Janet Burgess, Islington Council’s health chief, said: “The reopening is great news for Islington.

“For the large and vibrant community of regular users of the leisure centre, the fire was a real blow.

“But I have been impressed with the determination of staff to get so many activities up and running less than three months on, and very pleased to see what they have achieved with the studio and gym.”

Neither Islington Council, which owns the centre, or Better, could tell the Gazette who will pay for it to be knocked down and rebuilt.

The Gazette also asked when work will start and how long the process will take. But neither party is able to answer at this time.

Work was being carried out on the pool hall roof the week it caught fire, which is believed to be related to a leak.

Mark Sesnan, managing director of GLL, the company that runs Better, said: “We’d like to thank customers for their patience and for supporting Highbury Leisure Centre and its staff as we get your facilities back up and running. It’s a tribute to the experience and commitment of the local staff that we have been able to re-open the centre within 12 weeks of the fire.”

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