Ilford pool demolition raises fears for children who can’t swim

Redbridge will only have one swimming pool for the “foreseeable future” causing concern over the standards of swimming among children.

As the Recorder revealed last week, the Ilford Public Baths is to be turned into a school as the council tries to find enough places for the growing number of children in the borough.

The pool closed in 2008 and the council want to build a three-form primary on the site in High Road, Ilford.

Chairman of Redbridge Swimmers John Sharrock, speaking at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting in Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford, said: “Redbridge was fourth from the bottom of national tables for primary school children able to swim a length, 37 percent of students achieved this and that number is getting less because of lack of facilities for swimming.” The site is subject to an agreement with Baron Rowallan who previously stated he wanted a pool there as it was the wish of his great grandfather.

Mr Sharrock said: “It’s not my intention to speak school versus pool, there must be other sites suitable for this.”

The number of children being born in Redbridge has been putting increasing pressure on schools.

Cllr Alan Weinberg said: “Every child in the borough of Redbridge has to be offered a school place. Our numbers are rising and they will continue to rise – there’s no plateau in sight. Parents want their children to be educated.” The school would be sponsored by Ark Schools which also sponsors the next door secondary Isaac Newton Academy, due to open in September.

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Cllr Weinberg said: “We will have a state of the art secondary and primary school, while a new pool is still an aspiration.”