Consultation launches into future of Balaam Leisure Center

Ten months after the closure of Balaam Leisure Centre, Newham Council is consulting on four potential options for the site’s future.The Plaistow venue was shut in December last year following the discovery of a water leak through the concrete pool tank, which also forms the ceiling of the basement gym.

This made the building unsafe and Newham Council was forced to close the centre. Specialist testing took place to see if it was possible to reopen the centre and if so, what work needed to be done.

Balaam is the oldest of the council’s leisure centres, opening in 1983, and had already been earmarked in the Local Plan as a site for a housing development from 2028/29.A consultation has now been launched into four proposed options – three which would involve repairs and the other involving the demolition of the site.

Option one and two would both give an estimated lifespan of five to 10 years, with the reinstatement of the basement gym and ground floor studio, plus a refit of the changing area and the provision of a platform lift.Option one, taking around 22 months to complete at an estimated £883,000, would also see the closure of the main and training pools.

Option two would take around 24 months at a cost of around £1,099,000, and see the main pool closed and the training pool area converted to additional studio space.The third option would give the centre an estimated lifespan of more than 10 years, and include the reinstatement of the basement gym, ground floor studio and training pool, plus a refit of the changing area and the provision of the platform lift, at a cost of around £2,483,000 which would take 29 months to complete. An alternative use of the main pool space could be found but would cost an additional £670,000 to £790,000.

The final option would be the permanent closure of the leisure centre, with the building demolished and the council bringing forward the redevelopment of the site for housing.The consultation will close at midnight on Wednesday, November 27 with the responses set to be analysed before a final decision is made by cabinet members in February next year.

Thanks to the Newham Recorder for their Post:

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