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Demolition fear over £30m pool

Defects so severe at Clissold Leisure Centre it could have to be torn down and rebuilt

THE TROUBLE-torn Clissold Leisure Centre in north London may have to be bulldozed and rebuilt.

The crumbling £30 million swimming pool complex was only opened in March 2002 but has stood empty since last autumn after a catalogue of faults forced Hackney Borough Council to close it down.

Now council officials have revealed that the cost of repairs may be so high it could be cheaper to start again from scratch.

Speaking at a meeting of the scrutiny panel set up to look into the problems at the centre, Guy Nicholson, the council's cabinet member for regeneration and culture, said: 'If the costs are roughly equivalent to rebuilding then that will be brought into public discussion with a view to making a decision as to whether to go forward with repairs or whether we would, quite literally, start again.'

He added: 'It is the mayor's view that there will be a Clissold Leisure Centre on this site, whether or not it is this centre.'

Quizzed about the extent of the problems, Kim Wright, director of community and leisure with the council, said:

'It is a lot more complex and significant than just a leaking roof.'

A team of specialist consultants began a detailed study of the defects at the centre last week and is due to report to the council in September.

Hackney is working to reach a settlement with architect Hodder Associates and cost consultant Davis Langdon & Everest after initiating legal proceedings last September.The current legal case revolves around cost overruns of £13 million and delays in the scheme's completion.

But in a move that may concern Gleeson, which built the centre, Councillor Nicholson raised the spectre of future legal action, drawing in other firms.

nFrom page 1 consultant Davis Langdon after initiating legal proceedings last September.

The current legal case revolves around cost overruns of £13 million and delays in the scheme's completion.

But in a move that may concern Gleeson, which built the centre, Councillor Nicholson raised the spectre of future legal action, drawing in other firms.

He said: 'It may well be there are other people that we are pursuing litigation against.'

The meeting also revealed that the costs of the legal action and investigating the extent of problems have already hit £600,000 and are expected to top out at more than double this figure.

Defects already identified in an initial survey include missing waterproof membranes under wet areas, gaps in the roof and cracks in the squash court walls.