Bulldozers tear down former Ilford swimming pool to end faint hope of its redevelopment

Workmen have started demolishing the former pool from the rear of the building

Workmen have started demolishing the former pool from the rear of the building - Credit: Archant

The faint hope of Ilford’s derelict swimming pool being rebuilt has ended as bulldozers rip it apart this week to make way for a primary school.

Ilford Baths, High Road, has lay empty since closing in September 2008 because of fears over the safety of the building.

Almost five years on, and months after the land was earmarked for a new primary school, workmen have begun to tear it down.

Goody Demolition arrived on site last week shortly after a separate company began erecting hoarding around the building.

They were due to finish erecting the hoarding yesterday (Wednesday), with the demolition of the former pool likely to be completed in less than two weeks.

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The Recorder has been told some outbuildings on the site, including a boiler, have asbestos inside which will slow down their demolition.

Campaigners have long fought to have a replacement pool built in Ilford South, but have been told by borough politicians that there is no money for one.

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It means Fullwell Cross Leisure Centre pool, High Street, Barkingside, has been the only one in Redbridge for almost five years.

The land was subject to a series of covenants with Baron Rowallan, John Polson Cameron Corbett, who previously said he wanted a new pool on the site because it was his great grandfather’s wish.

The former Baron Rowallan entered into covenants with Ilford Urban District Council in 1914 and 1916 over the use of the land.

Last year, the council’s cabinet agreed plans to use powers, under local government and town planning acts, to appropriate the land.

No compensation was paid.

Redbridge Swimmers chairman John Sharrock said: “It’s sad that they [the council] should go contrary to the generosity of Lord Rowallan. His generosity has been torn up. There’s no legacy. Even if the money becomes available for a pool, there seems to be no obvious place to build it.”

Redbridge Council said asbestos at the site will be removed “with the utmost care and precision”.

The Health and Safety Executive will be informed before any removal.

The new primary, sponsored by ARK Schools, is set to open in September 2014.

•• We want to hear if you think one pool is enough for Redbridge. Email zjan.shirinian@ilfordrecorder.co.uk or call 020 8477 3806.

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