Finsbury Leisure Centre site proposals

    Transforming the Finsbury Leisure Centre Site

    Welcome to our public exhibition, where you’ll be able to view our updated plans to transform the Finsbury Leisure Centre site.

    Islington Council is bringing forward these plans to deliver: 

    • 100 council homes with 98 more homes for sale to help pay for them. 
    • A brand-new leisure centre including four rooftop 5/6-a-side football pitches. 
    • A modern, purpose-built home for the NHS City Road Medical Centre
    • New and improved public spaces including a publicly accessible courtyard garden, safer, greener streets and ‘play on the way’ features for children.

    Timeline of engagement

    We’ve been engaging with the community since 2017 to make sure we get this important project right. 

    • 2013 Site allocated for redevelopment 
    • 2017 Engagement with local people about the future of the centre 
    • July 2022 Public engagement on outline masterplan 
    • January 2024 Public engagement on draft proposals Summer 2024 Public engagement on updated proposals
    • Spring 2024 Engagement with schools, community and accessibility groups 
    • Summer 2024 Public engagement on updated proposals

    Our most recent engagement:

    In January 2024, we shared our proposals with the community at a series of engagement events.

    209 stakeholders written to 

    244 attendees across seven public events 

    370 responses to our survey 

    3,800 visitors to our engagement webpage 

    13,700 homes and businesses sent a flyer 

    300,000+ views of our posts on social media

    During this engagement, we received lots of useful feedback that has been used to inform our updated plans.

    You said in JanuaryOur response – look out for purple boxes on the boards for more information
    Height: The 20-storey building is too tall and we are worried about the daylight impact to neighbouring buildingsOur tallest building has been carefully located to minimise the impact on neighbouring properties. Without the taller building it is not possible to deliver the 100 council homes, homes for sale to help pay for them, a brand-new leisure centre and NHS GP surgery.
    Leisure facilities: We support investment in better facilities, but where will we play when you are building the new centre?We have created a list of alternative leisure facilities which existing users may be able to book while we are building the new leisure centre. You can see this on our website or later in this exhibition.
    Football pitches: We value our pitches. Moving them to the roof might make them harder to access for players and spectators and less suitable for larger games (7-a-side plus.)We explored options to increase the size of the pitches but none would have allowed us to replace all four pitches. While the new pitches will be smaller, they will meet Football Association standards for 5/6-a-side football, will have a much better playing surface and a dedicated spectator viewing area. They will be part of a new first class leisure centre, with much better changing rooms, equipment and sports facilities for everyone who uses it.
    Open space: The new courtyard garden should be open to all, not just new residents.The new courtyard will now be open to everyone during the daytime.
    Café: We don’t need another café here, the one at St Luke’s Community Centre recently closed.We have removed the ground floor café to make space for a larger 3-bedroom family council home.

     

    Why we want to transform this site

    Tackling Islington’s housing crisis 

    There are more than 15,000 households waiting for a council home in Islington. Families who urgently need a safe, decent and genuinely affordable place to call home. 

    For every council home we build, we can move several households into the right home for them, meaning the new homes we build here will change hundreds of lives. 

    Residents tell us housing is one of the biggest challenges they face, so we’ve set ourselves a mission to change this. This project is a key part of that mission. 


    What we are doing

    • Built or started work on 743 new council homes since 2009, across 40+ locations. 
    • Planning to build 750 more council homes across the borough, including this project.
    • Investing in the safety and comfort of existing council homes, to protect them now and for future generations. 
    • Buying back ex-council homes on Islington estates to use as safe, decent temporary accommodation. 
    • Our planning policies push private developers to deliver 50% on-site affordable homes in housing developments in Islington.

    We’ve been in our new flat a year now and it’s made such a difference for me and the kids. Our new flat is much more spacious and there’s a lot of light."

    “I’ve lived in Islington my whole life so being able to stay nearby was important, and it meant we could keep the routine that works for us with school and my job. I think it’s really important to build more council homes for people and their families in Islington.”

    Elizabeth, Bunhill resident and mum of three.

    Finsbury Leisure Centre is in urgent need of investment

    As it is, the leisure centre is no longer fit for purpose and needs urgent investment and fundamental changes to make it fit for the future.

    • The facilities are old and in poor condition, for example the sports hall floor is damaged and not properly spring-loaded for sports like basketball or badminton.
    • It is not welcoming and inviting, with tired interiors, poor visibility from the street, confusing routes inside and accessibility challenges.
    • It is not sustainable, with inefficient energy systems and high carbon emissions. 

    This project is an opportunity to create a modern building, with great services that complement the offer at neighbouring Ironmonger Row Baths, giving users a fantastic range of sports and leisure activities across the two facilities.


    The new homes in context

    To deliver the many benefits of the scheme we need to include taller buildings in the designs.

    Islington’s local plan earmarks this site for development to help tackle the housing crisis and any development of the site will have some impact on neighbouring buildings. 

    We have looked at different ways of organising the buildings on the site to minimise the impact on our neighbours. For example, earlier plans included more mid-height buildings instead of one taller one. 

    However, sunlight and daylight analysis found that having just one taller building and removing buildings that would enclose the north and south ends of the courtyard improves the amount of light to both neighbours and the new homes.

    "You told us"

    While there is support for new affordable housing, some people expressed concern about the impact of tall residential buildings on existing homes. 

    The layout of the scheme and the location of our tallest building has been carefully considered to maximise the amount of sunlight and daylight to both neighbours and the new homes.

    We have refined our designs to optimise the daylight and sunlight to both new homes and neighbours by:

    1. Opening up the courtyard space to the north and south, allowing views and light through this landscaped space and to neighbours.
    2. Widening the courtyard, allowing more light into the new buildings and neighbouring buildings. 
    3. Carefully positioning the tallest building (20 storeys) on Central Street, in the middle of the site.
    4. Pulling back our building frontage on Paton Street to allow more space and light for neighbours.
    5. Carefully designing the leisure centre to maximise daylight and sunlight to the new homes and neighbours. The new leisure centre design is around 9 metres higher than the existing building, lower than earlier design proposals.

    High-quality, inclusive homes

    We will be building 100 council homes for social rent and 98 homes for sale to help pay for them. 

    Our local lettings policy will give secure council tenants already living in Bunhill ward, and who meet the local lettings criteria, priority for the new council homes - with a focus on those whose current homes don’t meet their needs. Twenty of the new homes will be suitable for wheelchair users, and 13 of these will be council homes.

    Homes for families

    We’re proud that most of the new council homes will be family sized. These are the most badly-needed council homes in Islington. The council homes will include:

    • 1 four-bed
    • 24 three-beds
    • 42 two-beds
    • 33 one-bed

    Our new homes will benefit from:

    • Private outdoor space with gardens on the ground floor and balconies on upper floor
    • Good internal storage
    • Space to work or study
    • Most homes will be dual or triple aspect, bringing natural light and ventilation
    • Generous cycle storage in the basement
    • Secure space for mobility scooter storage on site

    What the new homes will look like

    We’ve given a lot of thought to how the new buildings should look. We’ve taken inspiration from nearby buildings to make sure the new buildings fit in with local architecture. We also want the residential buildings to feel distinct from the leisure centre. That’s why we’ve decided to use light coloured bricks and concrete as our main materials with white and light bronze metal for details like the balconies to add texture. We’ll also be using materials that are long lasting and easy to maintain.

    We want the area to feel welcoming and active, so we’ve designed the ground floor homes to have their front doors opening onto the pedestrian street and carefully placed communal entrances on the corners of buildings. 

    Combined with the new leisure and medical facilities and landscaped areas, there will be more ‘coming and going’ at street level. This helps to discourage anti-social behaviour and makes places feel safer.


    Design and sustainability

    Our proposals are designed to high environmental standards.

    • Our new homes are designed to high energy efficiency standards, helping to keep energy demand in residents’ homes to a minimum.
    • Almost all are dual aspect (have windows on two sides) and in some cases triple, promoting good light and natural ventilation. This is good for keeping homes cool in summer without air-conditioning.
    • Solar panels and air source heat pumps will help generate clean energy for the new homes.
    • The leisure centre building is targeting the most ambitious energy efficiency standards for this kind of building.
    • The sports hall will be naturally ventilated, saving energy and money. 
    • The leisure centre will be built on the concrete basement foundations reducing carbon emissions from the development.
    • Green and blue roofs and sustainable urban drainage systems will reduce water run-off during storms and ensure resilience to climate change.

    Design in context

    The design of the new leisure centre uses similar colours and materials to nearby Ironmonger Row Baths and St Luke's Church. We have added architectural features to provide shading and texture, which change as you walk around the building. 


    Finsbury Leisure Centre – a welcoming space

    The new leisure centre will have its entrance onto tree lined St Luke’s Garden. Together with the recently refurbished Ironmonger Row Baths, the facilities will provide a fantastic range of modern facilities for local residents and workers to enjoy.

    Our new leisure centre opens out onto an improved pedestrian street benefiting from:

    • Well-lit entrance
    • Retained trees
    • Cycle parking
    • Seating for groups
    • Wayfinding signage
    • New planted areas
    • New street lighting

    The leisure centre is designed to be inviting and inclusive, with views of the activities happening inside, and passers-by able to see different uses.

    "You told us"

    At our accessibility workshop in March, you told us you wanted a well-lit entrance with seating outside, drop-off spaces, tactile paving and clear signage. We are incorporating all these features into our design.

    A transformed leisure centre

    Our proposals will deliver a brand-new, inclusive space with natural light, better accessibility and visibility throughout. The new leisure centre is being built to a high specification and all the current facilities will be re-provided, either here or in nearby Ironmonger Row Baths.

    We’ve designed the leisure centre with input from our operator, GLL Ltd, and Sport England and will include:

    • Six-court sports hall with a sprung floor suitable for sports like badminton and basketball
    • Four squash courts and viewing gallery
    • A 150 sqm flexible studio space
    • A 650 sqm health and fitness gym
    • Four 5/6-a side football pitches
    • Changing rooms and toilets, including accessible facilities and group facilities

    "You told us"

    You needed larger changing rooms for groups and schools. We’ve added two group changing rooms and located them immediately outside the sports hall for easy access.

    A new setting for the 'beautiful game'

    We have heard loud and clear that the existing pitches are well-loved and well-used. We will be providing four replacement rooftop pitches designed to FA and Sport England standards for 5-and 6-a side football, with an accessible viewing area that also offers stunning views of London’s skyline.

    "You told us"

    You like the way the existing pitches are visible and help people feel safe at night. Some people are concerned about noise and light from rooftop pitches travelling into nearby properties. Some people asked how the rooftop pitches will be accessed.

    It will be easy to access the pitches and spectators will be able to access the viewing area from the main leisure centre. We have carefully considered the design of our roof screening so it minimises light and noise impacts for existing and new residents. It will be more open to the south and east so that activity on the roof is visible and inviting to people outside the leisure centre.

    "You asked us"

    You asked us if we could create larger pitches for 7-or-9 a side games. 

    We explored the possibility of installing retractable dividers to create larger pitches. However, this would not meet our obligation  to provide four replacement pitches, and the time spent moving the dividers would reduce the time available for people to play, impacting our ability to meet the high demand for these pitches.

    A new NHS medical centre

    Our plans include a medical facility to provide a new home for the NHS City Road Medical Centre.

    Designed in consultation with the NHS and City Road Medical Centre GPs, the new facility will provide:

    • consultation, examination and treatment rooms
    • light, attractive waiting areas
    • fully accessible and welcoming entrance with automatic doors
    • offices, changing facilities and bathrooms for staff
    • sustainable, energy efficient design
    • a health and wellbeing offer alongside the new leisure centre

    Most importantly, this modern purpose-built facility includes expansion space for two additional consultation rooms to cater for the growing population in this part of the city.

    What your GP says

    “We’re proud of the care we deliver for patients but we’ve outgrown our premises, meaning we do not have enough clinical rooms for staff and patients.Moving into a brand new, purpose-built home will be amazing and allow us to become a local community health and wellbeing hub for all our patients.”

    Dr Philly O’Riordan, NHS GP and Clinical Lead, City Road Medical Centre

    Safer, greener streets

    All around our development, we are improving the streetscape to create green, safe and active streets.

    New planting will transform these public spaces into greener, healthier, more attractive spaces with new trees, shrubs and diverse planting, providing shade to keep streets cool in summer. New planting will also include sustainable urban drainage systems, reducing water run-off during storms and preventing flooding. While we do have to remove some trees, we will plant around 36 trees onsite and more offsite nearby and around the borough to replace tree canopy cover.

    1. Generous planters with retained mature trees
    2. Planting and trees along Mitchell Street
    3. Drop-off parking for medical centre and cycle parking
    4. Cycle parking, seating and planting between leisure centre and St Luke’s Gardens
    5. Change in paving material to indicate leisure centre entrance
    6. Simple, high-quality public realm along Norman Street with some retained parking, service bay and visitor cycle stands
    7. Generous planted buffer between existing blocks to the north of the site and Paton Square, with retained mature trees
    8. Courtyard garden entrance
    9. Lawn area
    10. Playground
    11. Pedestrian only route with planting, seating and natural play on the way features


    "You told us"

    You told us you didn’t feel safe walking around the existing leisure centre at night. We will be providing new street lighting and CCTV, and well lit ground floor lobby spaces for our residential and leisure buildings, creating safer streets.

    New and improved landscaping

    The courtyard garden will contain seating, natural planting and dedicated play space for children, and will be a space to relax and recharge.

    "You asked us"

    To make the courtyard accessible to the public. We have redesigned the courtyard garden and plan for it to be open to all during the day and safely locked at night for residents’ privacy.

    "You told us"

    In our January exhibition we asked where we should locate street furniture and play on the way features, inviting people to mark this up on a plan.

    You told us you thought that Paton Street and the street between the leisure centre and the new residential buildings were the best places for seating and play-on-the-way features and we have incorporated this feedback into our design.

    While we are building

    Subject to planning consent, we plan to start building in summer 2025 and construction will take two to three years.

    We have experience of managing similar developments while minimising impacts on local residents and will ensure our contractors:

    • appoint a dedicated resident liaison officer to communicate about work before it starts, answer questions and respond to concerns
    • comply with a construction management plan and the council’s strict environmental standards for controlling noise and dust
    • operate within standard daytime working hours, except for exceptional, pre-approved works
    • where possible procure some sub-contracts locally, bringing benefits to local businesses
    • review the use of off-site methods of construction to minimise necessary work on site


    Alternative sports facilities during construction

    We know it’s important to you to find somewhere to play while the new leisure centre and pitches are being built. As part of our engagement we been listening to leisure centre users and talking to local schools. We have put together a list of alternative facilities that users may wish to contact for bookings nearer the construction period.

    This list will be available and kept updated on our project webpage. Nearer the time, we will be in touch with regular users of the existing leisure centre and sports pitches (via the operator, GLL) to provide more information.

    Facilities nearby include:

    • Ironmonger Row Baths, 1 Norman Street, Islington, EC1V 3AA - Facilities include: squash, studio space plus pool and spa facilities
    • Britannia Leisure Centre, Pitfield Street, Hackney, London, N1 5FT - Facilities include: football, badminton, basketball, squash, studio space
    • Highbury Leisure Centre, Highbury Crescent, Islington, London, N5 1RR - Facilities include: studio space, gym, and pool
    • Sobell Leisure Centre, Hornsey Road, Islington, London, N7 7NY - Facilities include: football, studio space and pool
    • Market Road Football pitches, Market Road London N7 9PL - Facilities include: 2 x 11-a-side, 2 x 5-a-side, 6 x 7-a-side pitches


    Timeline and next steps

    • Summer 2024 Public engagement on the updated designs
    • Summer 2024 Submit planning application
    • Late 2024 Planning decision 
    • Spring 2025 Appoint a contractor (subject to planning approval) 
    • Summer 2025 Start on site
    • 2027 Open the new leisure and medical centre 
    • 2028 Residents move into their new homes.

    Get in touch

    Contact us at: 


Alternative facilities

    Introduction

    Subject to planning consent, we plan to start building in summer 2025. The existing leisure centre will close during construction for around two years. We know it’s important to you to find somewhere to play while the new leisure centre, including the new rooftop pitches are being built. We have put together a list of alternative facilities that users may wish to contact for bookings nearer the construction period, ordered by sport, in the table below.

    Nearer the time, we will be in touch with regular users of the existing leisure centre and sports pitches (via the operator,GLL) to provide more information.

    Football pitches

    Venue & addressFacilities

    Southgate Road 
    Islington 
    LondonN1 3JP 

    16 minutes via public transport from FLC – buses 76/141 (Downham Road – Stop XF) 

    27-minute walk

    1x – 7-a-side football pitch

    Pitfield Street 
    Hackney 
    London, N1 5FT  

    20 minutes via public transport from FLC – bus 394 (Buckland Street – Stop PN) 

    24-minute walk

    2x – 5-a-side (rooftop) football pitches

    Upper Street 
    Islington 
    London, N1 2DL  

    23 minutes via public transport from FLC – Bus 37 (Islington Town Hall – Stop R) 

    31-minute walk

    1x – 5-a-side football pitch 

    Barnard Park 
    Copenhagen Street 
    Islington 
    LondonN1 0ER 

    21 minutes via public transport from FLC – Bus 394 (Tolpuddle Street Police Station) 

    29-minute walk  

    1x – 9-a-side football pitch 

    or 

    3x – 6-a-side football pitches (9-a-side pitch bookable as thirds)

    55 Durward Street 
    Whitechapel 
    London, E1 5BA  

    26 minutes via public transport from FLC – Hammersmith and City line (Whitechapel station) 

    43-minute walk 

    1x – 7-a-side football pitch 

    Highbury Grove 
    Islington 
    LondonN5 1QP 

    26 minutes via public transport from FLC – Bus 4 (Aberdeen Park (Stop CX) 

    48-minute walk 

    1x – 7-a-side football pitch 

    Holloway Road 
    Islington 
    LondonN19 4RS 

    35 minutes via public transport from FLC – Northern line (Archway station) 

    1hr 13-minute walk 


    1x – 11-a-side football pitch 

    or 

    3x – 7-a-side football pitch (11-a-side pitch bookable as thirds) 


    Market Road 
    London, N7 9PL  

    36 minutes via public transport from FLC – buses 4/56 to 274 (York Way Estate – Stop ZD) 

    55-minute walk 


    3x – 5-a-side football pitches (standalone pitches) 

    and 

    2x – 11-a-side football pitches 

    or 

    6x – 7-a-side football pitches (both 11-a-side pitches bookable as thirds) 

    Sheringham Road 
    Islington 
    London, N7 8PF 

    38 mins via public transport from FLC – Bus 153 (Lowther Road – Stop SR) 

    48-minute walk


    1x – 5-a-side football pitch 

    Mile End Park Leisure Centre 

    190 Burdett Road 
    Mile End 
    London, E3 4HL  

    37 minutes via public transport from FLC – Hammersmith and City line (Mile End station) 

    1hr 12-minute walk 

    1x – 5-a-side football pitch 


    Squash

    Venue & address  Facilities  

    1 Norman Street 
    Islington 
    EC1V 3AA 

    1-minute walk


    2x – squash courts 

    Brittania Leisure Centre 

    Pitfield Street 
    Hackney 
    London, N1 5FT  

    20 minutes via public transport from FLC – bus 394 (Buckland Street – Stop PN) 

    24-minute walk  

    4x – squash courts

    Pitfield Street 63 Clissold Road
    Hackney 
    London, N16 9EX  

    20 minutes via public transport from FLC – Bus 141 (Green Lanes/Stoke Newington) 

    1hr walk 

    2x – squash courts

    Oasis Sports Centre  

    32 Endell Street 
    Covent Garden 
    London, WC2H 9AG   

    27 minutes via public transport from FLC – Bus 55 (Museum Street – Stop C) 

    41-minute walk  


    3x – squash courts   

    Sobell Leisure Centre 

    Hornsey Road 
    Islington 
    London, N7 7NY 

    37 minutes via public transport from FLC – Bus 4 (Sobell Centre – Stop NN) 

    1hr walk  

    6x – squash courts  

    Badminton

    Venue & address 
    Facilities 

    Brittania Leisure Centre 

    Pitfield Street 
    Hackney 
    London, N1 5FT  

    20 minutes via public transport from FLC – bus 394 (Buckland Street – Stop PN) 

    24-minute walk  


    6x – badminton courts   

    63 Clissold Road
    Hackney
    London,  N16 9EX 

    20 minutes via public transport from FLC – Bus 141 (Green Lanes/StokeNewington) 

    1hr walk


    6x – badminton courts   

    Whitechapel Sports Centre 

    55 Durward Street 
    Whitechapel 
    London, E1 5BA  

    26 minutes via public transport from FLC – Hammersmith and City line (Whitechapel station) 

    43-minute walk  


    4x – badminton courts   

    30 Holly Street 
    Hackney 
    London, E8 3XW  

    27 minutes via public transport from FLC – Bus 243 (Middleton Road – Stop KF) 

    45-minute walk


    4x – badminton courts

    190 Burdett Road 
    Mile End 
    London, E3 4HL  

    37 minutes via public transport from FLC – Hammersmith and City line (Mile End station) 

    1hr 12-minute walk


    4x – badminton courts 

    Tench Street 
    London, E1W 2QD  

    45 minutes via public transport from FLC – Bus 100 (Dundee Street – Stop C) 

    1hr walk  


    4x – badminton courts 

    Basketball 

    Venue & addressFacilities

    Brittania Leisure Centre 

    Pitfield Street 
    Hackney 
    London, N1 5FT  

    20 minutes via public transport from FLC – bus 394 (Buckland Street – Stop PN) 

    24-minute walk  

    Basketball court 

    Clissold Leisure Centre  

    Pitfield Street 63 Clissold Road
    Hackney 
    London, N16 9EX 

    20 minutes via public transport from FLC – Bus 141 (Green Lanes/Stoke Newington) 

    1hr walk 

    Basketball court 

    55 Durward Street 
    Whitechapel 
    London, E1 5BA  

    26 minutes via public transport from FLC – Hammersmith and City line (Whitechapel station) 

    43-minute walk


    Basketball court 

    Queensbridge Sports and Community Centre 

    30 Holly Street 
    Hackney 
    London, E8 3XW 

    27 minutes via public transport from FLC – Bus 243 (Middleton Road – Stop KF) 

    45-minute walk 

    Basketball court 

    Mile End Park Leisure Centre 

    190 Burdett Road 
    Mile End 
    London, E3 4HL  

    37 minutes via public transport from FLC – Hammersmith and City line (Mile End station) 

    1hr 12-minute walk 

    Basketball court 

    Tench Street 
    London, E1W 2QD  

    45 minutes via public transport from FLC – Bus 100 (Dundee Street – Stop C) 

    1hr walk

    Basketball court 

    Studios

    Venue & address 
    Facilities

    Ironmonger Row Baths  

    1 Norman Street 
    Islington 
    EC1V 3AA 

    1-minute walk

    2x – studio spaces  

    St Luke's Community Centre 

    90 Central Street 
    Islington  
    London, EC1V 8AJ  

    3-minute walk

    1x – studio space 

    Moreland Primary School  

    Moreland Street 
    Islington 
    London, EC1V 8BB 

    8-minute walk

    1x – studio space 

    Brittania Leisure Centre 

    Pitfield Street 
    Hackney 
    London, N1 5FT  

    20 minutes via public transport from FLC – bus 394 (Buckland Street – Stop PN) 

    24-minute walk

    3x – studio spaces 

    Clissold Leisure Centre 

    Clissold Road
    Hackney 
    London, N16 9EX

    20 minutes via public transport from FLC – Bus 141 (Green Lanes/Stoke Newington) 

    1hr walk 


    2x – studio spaces  

    Whitechapel Sports Centre 

    55 Durward Street 
    Whitechapel 
    London, E1 5BA  

    26 minutes via public transport from FLC – Hammersmith and City line (Whitechapel station) 

    43-minute walk  

    1x – studio space  

    Oasis Sports Centre  

    32 Endell Street 
    Covent Garden 
    London, WC2H 9AG   

    27 minutes via public transport from FLC – Bus 55 (Museum Street – Stop C) 

    41-minute walk 

    2x – studio spaces  

    Queensbridge Sports and Community Centre 

    30 Holly Street 
    Hackney 
    London, E8 3XW  

    27 minutes via public transport from FLC – Bus 243 (Middleton Road – Stop KF) 

    45-minute walk 


    1x – studio space  

    John Orwell Sports Centre 

    Tench Street 
    London, E1W 2QD  

    45 minutes via public transport from FLC – Bus 100 (Dundee Street – Stop C) 

    1hr walk 

    1x – studio space