Redbridge Council in bid to turn former swimming pool into primary school

Redbridge Council is considering exercising powers to allow it to build a school instead of leisure facilities on the site of the disused Ilford swimming pool.

In a bid to find extra school places in a borough education system which is “bursting at the seams”, the council wants to build a three-form entry primary school on the High Road site.

The Ilford Public Baths closed in 2008 but the land is 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.

The council’s cabinet meets on Tuesday to consider plans to use powers, under local government and town planning acts, to appropriate the land and see off any potential court injunctions by providing compensation to the Baron.

John Sharrock, chairman of Redbridge Swimmers, said: “I’m bitterly disappointed that there’s not going to be a swimming pool.

“It’s not that I don’t want a school but I do want a pool.

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“It’s what Baron Rowallan’s [great] grandfather wanted and I think they ought to stick to that.”

The school, which would open in 2014, would be sponsored by Ark Schools.

It has said the site is of interest because it is next to the Isaac Newton Academy in High Road, a secondary school which it sponsors and which opens in September.

Cllr Thomas Chan, cabinet member for regeneration and property, said: “All councillors are fully aware of the need for extra school places. There’s limited school places, we’re bursting at the seams.

“We are committed to having extra leisure services as well.”

The cabinet is also asked to approve the compulsory purchase of a vacant residential building at 470 High Road.

A council spokesman said: “It is still an aspiration of the council to provide another pool in the borough, however in the current financial climate this remains unaffordable.”

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