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Multi-million pound leisure centre approaches finishing line

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Former World ice-skating champion Diane Towler-Green will mark a major milestone in the building of a new ice rink and leisure centre in Streatham on Friday March 15, 2013.

The ‘Streatham Hub’ topping out ceremony is being held to mark the completion of the outer shell of the ice rink and leisure centre. The development, which created 600 jobs, is due to open later this year and also includes a new swimming pool, 250 homes and a Tesco superstore.

When finished, it will be the first time in the world a full-sized ice rink has been built above a swimming pool.

Streatham MP Chuka Umunna and members of Lambeth council will be joined by representatives from Tesco, main contractors VINCI Construction UK and GLL – which will run the leisure centre on behalf of the council.

The topping out ceremony will be performed by Cllr Lib Peck, leader of Lambeth council and Diane Towler-Green, who has taught for 26 years at the old Streatham ice rink and won the World Championships in 1966-69 with partner Bernard Ford. They will fill in a small area of a concrete slab above the ice rink. Diane Towler-Green and Cllr Peck will each receive a ceremonial engraved silver trowel to commemorate this event.

In keeping with Lambeth council’s push to create more job opportunities for young people, builders Vinci Construction gave 30 young people three-day work placements. Of these, five were given summer work placements to work on the project in a scheme called Budding Brunels.

One talented former Budding Brunel was then recognised at the 2012 Young Builder of the Year Awards for his participation in the programme.

The topping out ceremony also coincides with the end of Lambeth council’s More Jobs Fortnight, a series of events and seminars to give residents the skills to gain employment.

Cllr Peck said: “It’s fantastic to see the Streatham Hub taking shape. In less than a year from now, top-class sports facilities will be coming back to Streatham. It’s also great news that the project has created 600 new jobs plus valuable work placement opportunities for local young people.

‘After Clapham, this will the second swimming pool to open in the borough in 12 months with more new sports facilities on the way in West Norwood. It all adds up to the biggest expansion of leisure facilities in the borough’s history.”

A Tesco spokesman said: “’We are delighted that this significant investment is nearing its final stages. Not only will our development offer a great superstore for the people of Streatham, it has already provided a new bus interchange and, in partnership with Lambeth council, will deliver world class leisure facilities for the local community.’”

A spokesman for VINCI Construction UK said: ““VINCI are proud to be part of this prestigious project working with Tesco and Lambeth to bring new and improved facilities to the community.”

Commenting, Chuka Umunna MP said:
“The Streatham Hub will be fantastic for our area. People have been waiting for the Hub for a very long time and I’m incredibly glad at the progress that has finally been made. Some people questioned whether the development of the Hub would ever happen but now it’s clear that this project will be delivered. It will make a huge difference to our area, be a great facility for local people and it should bring a lot of new trade for local businesses as well.

When finished, the ice rink will sit above the leisure centre and be run by Lambeth council – the previous rink (Streatham Ice Arena) was in private ownership. The cost of the development has been largely met by Tesco with the council’s contribution limited to £19.42m.

When finished, the Streatham Hub will consist of:
• A new 1,000-seater ice rink
• A new 25m, six-lane swimming pool – the second to open in the borough in under two years after Clapham Leisure Centre opened in February, 2012.
• A new 13m learner swimming pool.
• 250 homes – 89 run by housing association.
• Underground car parking of 438 spaces for visitors to the rink, leisure centre, superstore and residents of the new flats.
• New 60,000 sq ft, two-storey Tesco Extra – the bigger Tesco stores.
• Entrance and exit from underground car park onto Streatham High Road.
• Public works around the Grade II Listed Streatham United Reformed Church.
• A new bus interchange.

Streatham Leisure Centre was closed in November, 2009, following health and safety concerns.

A structural survey revealed it would cost more than £3million to reopen it.

March 29, 2010. Tesco scheme approved to build a new leisure centre, a new rink, as well as a temporary rink in Brixton to ensure continuity of ice rink in the borough, the supermarket and flats.

Work begins in August, 2011.
Topping out ceremony March, 2013.
Show flat available autumn 2013.
Rink and leisure centre due to open late 2013.
Tesco store to open later 2013.
Flats completed spring 2014.

In May last year, the council began work on a new £16.5million leisure centre and swimming pool at the former Norwood Hall site, Knight’s Hill, West Norwood. It is due to open in spring 2014.

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