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Camden gets set to demolish Spence's Swiss Cottage pool

Camden Council is rethinking its scruffy hinterland of Swiss Cottage by asking key architects, engineers and landscape architects to come up with ideas for a new leisure centre and open space alongside the refurbishment of Basil Spence's famous listed library. And all four developers unveiling their competition entries for the leisure proposals this week have chosen to demolish Spence's next-door swimming pool and start again.

The leisure centre redevelopment covers an area of 0.6ha and is to cost upwards of £30 million. FaulknerBrowns and prp have proposed a community centre, cafe, 39 affordable homes and 117 apartments for sale surrounding a leisure and sports facility linked to the Grade II library. Camden-based Sheppard Robson, meanwhile, has chosen a different approach in a team including William Saunders Partnership, the Manhattan Loft Corporation, Mace, bt and Urban Catalyst. It has proposed The Alpha - a leisure and residential complex, including roof gardens stepping down the roof line and a public landscape area sweeping over the leisure-centre roof mound. bt's involvement extends to smart-card access to the new leisure centre and on-line access for apartments. The final two teams include Terry Farrell and Partners in the Dawnay Day consortium and hok + lobb with Galliard Homes. The former replaces the existing leisure centre with a mixed-use complex under a unifying roof, whilst the latter includes 190 residential units. The competition entries are out for public consultation until February, and Camden will select a winner in March.

Camden has also asked Gustafson Porter, Desvigne & Dalnoky, Derek Lovejoy Partnership and Land Use Consultants to design a £1.25 million new open space for relaxation and safe recreation with improved pedestrian routes, a play area and floodlit sports courts. The Camden make-over will be completed by a £3.5 million refurbishment of the Swiss Cottage library by John McAslan and Partners and a new facility for Hampstead Theatre to be built on the northern part of the site. Bennetts Associates has designed the scheme and the Arts Council is set to decide on an application for £10 million for the project next week.

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