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Conservatives replace temporary pool with permanent centre in shock last-minute amendment

Cllr Ali Hai with Redbridge Council leader Cllr Keith Prince, councillors and residents promoting their previous plans at the Seven Kings lorry park site last year. Cllr Ali Hai with Redbridge Council leader Cllr Keith Prince, councillors and residents promoting their previous plans at the Seven Kings lorry park site last year.

Friday, March 7, 2014
9:47 AM

Controversial proposals for a temporary pool in Seven Kings were sensationally scrapped yesterday evening and replaced with plans for a permanent £2.8million complex.

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Campaigners at the site of the old baths in IlfordCampaigners at the site of the old baths in Ilford

Redbridge Council’s Conservative and Liberal Democrat administration tabled a last minute amendment to their own capital budget, which was passed.

It proposed selling Seven Kings car park, in High Road, to fund a new leisure centre built on Barley Lane Recreation Ground, Valentines Park or South Park. The complex, including a library, would take three years to build.

The Labour group was furious that the Conservatives had usurped their own plans for a permanent swimming pool that they released last month.

Cllr Jas Athwal had opposed the temporary pool, which had a life span of two to five years, and costed a permanent facility for little extra cost in Seven Kings.

“Politics in Redbridge has sunk to new depths deeper than a swimming pool any administration would build,” he said.

“It is in our core strategy to regenerate Seven Kings and building a leisure centre there would have brought so many people to the town centre.”

The Conservatives’ shock announcement followed controversy earlier in the budget meeting when they were accused of copying Labour’s revenue budget proposals.

Cllr Keith Prince argued his proposal was better because it did not commit to a particular place or supplier.

He added: “We will be holding a consultation on the proposals.

“At the end of the day, you can propose an amendment at any time.”

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