St. George’s Baths – A Leisure Services Solution?

Time to get real about St. George’s Baths and other sports facilities in the borough. The tweet below from Cllr Andrew Wood (Independent, Canary Wharf) is the most pragmatic and detailed plan we have seen and think it is so good it deserves its own post.

Take it away Andrew!

Rebuild St Georges pool in Shadwell or expand John Orwell center in Wapping
Crudely that seems to be the choice in the leisure services consultation that started yesterday even if the questions are less clear
Read the 2 docs in the document library not

just the main consultation document which is less clear
The feasibility study options show what the Council is really thinking about
The consultation I suspect is really between that choice:
St Georges or John Orwell
Somehow I doubt the Council has the ambition to do both

The leisure consultation is not really about leisure services at all
But what to do with the now closed St Georges pool
It has been allowed to deteriorate to the extent that the costs are now:
£9.9 million just to re-open it
20 years more life would cost c. £23.4m incl £9.9m

Council can rebuild St Georges as a pool with extra facilities + some new homes
or replace pool solely with new homes
at John Orwell build new pool + new homes + other facilities as has more space (western section unused for years was meant to be a pool since LDDC days)

I think reading between the lines Council preference will be to
Knockdown St Georges only build homes
Build new homes + pool + some other facilities at John Orwell
Cheapest option + delivering most new homes
But not an increase in leisure provision + a long delay to deliver

The problem with John Orwell Sports Centre is that is not that well connected to public transport
St Georges Public Transport Accessibility Level 6a – where 1 is worst and 6b best
John Orwell is 3 by contrast & therefore less accessible
This is a big issue for schools

My concern is that focus on this means Council will be diverted from other leisure centre issues
Tiller leisure is 53 years old (St Georges 52) and is also not in great condition (which is why still closed until January)
We should not allow that to deteriorate + population of

Isle of Dogs is quadrupling to quote the Mayor, facilities have not quadrupled
We need to expand leisure facilities in the E14 area to match population growth
For example

I would:
Rebuild St Georges with a swimming focus + extra gym & sports space + new homes away from Highway
Expand John Orwell with a extra sports focus + new homes by using land to west & south
Rebuild Tiller bigger & better
Put floating lido by Billingsgate Fish Market

more & better sports facilities into Millwall Park i.e. cricket pitch, fix pitch drainage problems, better showers etc etc
More outdoor exercise tracks / gyms in Mudchute Farm/Victoria park
We have s106 & CIL money + income from new homes to help pay
Time for a change

Originally tweeted by Andrew Wood (@Andrewwood17) on November 16, 2021.