New public swimming pool planned for Wanstead

The temporary pool installed in Wanstead during the 2012 Olympics. Councillors now want to build a p

The temporary pool installed in Wanstead during the 2012 Olympics. Councillors now want to build a permanent one in the area. Photos by: Ellie Hoskins - Credit: Archant

Residents have reacted with excitement to the news that Redbridge Council is planning to build a new public swimming pool in Wanstead.

The proposals, part of the upcoming budget, were revealed today, with the council estimating a cost of £5.5million.

Most residents expressed their delight at the news. Nicola Calabrese, secretary of Wanstead Playground Association, said it was “brilliant”.

“Everyone seems to be excited about it,” she added.

Cllr Sue Nolan (Con, Snaresbrook) told the Recorder: “It would be very welcome for our residents.

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“It’s the one thing that we always get asked on the doorstep, are we going to get a swimming pool for Wanstead?

“We’ve had two new pools in Ilford South, so it would be a great addition to the area. I know a lot of residents currently use pools in Waltham Forest.”

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There have been no specific details on sites for the pool yet, but Cllr Nolan suggested Wanstead Leisure Centre, in Redbridge Lane West, or an addition to one of the schools.

But council leader Cllr Jas Athwal did reveal it could form part of a gym complex.

He said: “I can confirm there will be a pool in the Wanstead area. We are doing feasibility checks and we will be coming out with a site shortly.

“The pools in the south of the borough are currently at capacity, and we want to make sure residents across Redbridge are able to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.”

Cllr Athwal said the aim was to make the project cost neutral, with the £5.5m borrowed to fund the pool being paid back as it is used by customers.

“We can all look at the tangible costs of £5.5m, but we don’t look at the intangible benefits of healthy living – less people being rushed to hospitals,” he explained.

Both Cllr Athwal and Cllr Nolan cited the popularity of a temporary pool installed in Wanstead during the 2012 Olympics.

But not everyone was excited about a new pool, with Scott Wilding, of the Wanstead Society, describing the plans as a “white elephant”.

“Labour need to find £40m of savings. We already have two swimming pools in the borough, do we really need this,” he said.

“We want new street lights, we want our grass cut, we want our potholes fixed. We cannot afford this.”

The budget proposals will be discussed at cabinet on Tuesday.

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