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Two new swimming pools promised for Redbridge, but plans slammed as ‘electioneering’

PUBLISHED: 18:00 20 November 2013 | UPDATED: 18:02 20 November 2013

Lorraine Dawes is one of many campaigners who took to the site of the old swimming pool in September to call for a replacement to be built

Lorraine Dawes is one of many campaigners who took to the site of the old swimming pool in September to call for a replacement to be built

Archant

Two swimming pools are being promised for Redbridge in response to years of campaigning – but the pledge has been rubbished by sceptics.

Council leader Cllr Keith Prince revealed in a statement yesterday that a new leisure centre – including a 25m pool, a fitness studio and a library – will be built in south Redbridge in 2014.

But a site has yet to be decided and formal proposals have yet to be lodged with the council’s planning department.

He has also announced a 12m “Boris pool” – part of the London 2012 legacy project “Make a Splash” – will be coming to Wanstead in January, though its exact location has not been finalised.

London Mayor Boris Johnson is subsidising the placing of ex-Olympic training pools in schools for 12 weeks at a time.

Redbridge Council would pay £30,000 towards the cost but Cllr Prince said he is in talks to keep the pool for 24 weeks.

Despite scepticism from the Labour opposition, Cllr Prince insisted the 25m pool was a certainty when he spoke to the Recorder yesterday (Weds).

“We are looking at three sites to carry out feasibility studies before drawing up detailed plans,” he said.

“It would be built in partnership with a construction firm and cost us £1.1m. The centre would be run by the Vision charitable leisure trust.

“The plan is at an embryonic stage but if you don’t dream you don’t get.

‘Reeks’

“However, I can safely say that this project is going to happen.”

But Labour leader Cllr Jas Athwal said: “There must be an election coming up as this reeks of electioneering.

“Two years ago we put forward a fully-costed proposal for a new pool but it was voted down.

“The Conservatives are clutching at straws by announcing this after 11 years of council leadership. Building a 12m paddling pool in the middle of winter is not the way to go about things either.”

Ilford Baths, High Road, closed in 2008, leaving the borough with one pool in Barkingside.


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