Plans for new swimming pool in Goodmayes divide community

PUBLISHED: 16:33 18 December 2014 | UPDATED: 16:33 18 December 2014

Residents at the former Mecca Bingo in Chadwell Heath, previously The Top Rank Club

Residents at the former Mecca Bingo in Chadwell Heath, previously The Top Rank Club


The proposed swimming pool at Mayfield School has sparked off opposition from some corners of the community, with objectors arguing the council has selected the wrong location.

Residents have spoken out over plans to build a £3.25million pool and gym in Pedley Road, Goodmayes.

Mesbah Sunny, 45, and his neighbours have attempted for months to persuade the council to consider their idea of a pool in the old Mecca Bingo building in Chadwell Heath.

Mr Sunny, who lives opposite, in Cedar Park Gardens, said: “We are disappointed. We all want the bingo to be a pool and leisure centre and think it would be the best place.

“The hall is perfect and has a massive car park as well.

“We don’t want a pool in a school; I think that is going to be odd.

“It is also going to be far for us and hard for older people to get there.”

Chadwell councillor Aziz Choudhury has put forward the group’s views to the council.

But Cllr Wes Streeting, deputy leader and cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “It is a complete non-starter, both in terms of cost – it is not council land – and the building.

“A pool is a very different structure to a bingo hall.”

The borough’s Ilford pool closed in 2008, leaving only the facility at Fullwell Cross Leisure Centre, Barkingside.

Keith Stanbury, chairman of Goodmayes Residents’ Association (GRASS), said: “I am delighted that the plans have come to fruition, but I do have concerns that its position is right on a very sensitive border.

“We know for a fact the Electoral Reform Society are looking at changes in boundaries and three years ago recommended that Goodmayes go into Barking and Dagenham.

“It seems to me a little bit shortsighted to put such an infrastructure in an area of Redbridge which we know is at risk of being swallowed up by another borough.”

Mr Stanbury said the Seven Kings lorry park, which was considered as a pool location by the previous administration, would be an ideal site.

Cllr Streeting said: “It will be situated in an area of high deprivation and will affect public health – swimming is one of the best forms of exercise.

“This pool is the start of our regeneration of Redbridge and I’m going to be looking very closely at the leisure needs, including additional swimming [provision], across the borough over the next four years.”

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