Seven Kings site once earmarked for new swimming pool to have its future decided

A piece of land which was once eyed up for a swimming pool and as the new home of Redbridge College could have its future secured on Thursday.

Since January 2011, the former Seven Kings Lorry Park site in High Road, Seven Kings has been the temporary home of the The John Barker Centre, a pupil referral unit for 11 to 14 year olds who have been excluded from mainstream school or who are at risk of being excluded.

But now that move could be made permanent after council chiefs failed to find a site which was “suitable or appropriate”.

In 2009, the Recorder reported how council chiefs had earmarked the site as an ideal location for a new multi-million pound leisure complex, which was to plug the hole caused by the closure of the nearby Ilford Baths in 2008.

A year later, we learned of a radical plan to relocate Redbridge College to a multi-storey building on the same site as the proposed new swimming pool, but talks ultimately broke down.

The John Barker Centre was previously on part of the land that has now been developed into the Isaac Newton Academy, which opened in September in Cricklefield Place, Ilford.

Councillors on the children’s, leisure and youth service committee will meet in Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford on Thursday to give the thumbs up to its permanent location at the former lorry park site if planning approval is granted.

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The council estimates the land would be worth £2.5-£3million today, compared to £10.7million in 2007/08 when a deal fell through.

It is not known how much it will cost to permanently locate The John Barker Centre on the site, with pupils currently being taught inside temporary structures.

An advertising hoarding in front of the unit may be relocated if planning approval is given.

Centre headteacher Frances Fitzgerald said she could not comment adding: “I do have my views but I’m not going to share them at this time.”