The new Wanstead pool mystery

The news that Wanstead is to get a new public swimming pool, revealed in the Redbridge budget plans for next year, has been welcomed but is causing a bit of headscratching.

The council announced the £5.5m plan on Tuesday, saying that is has yet to decide on a venue for the pool. The leader of the council, Cllr Jas Athwal, 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.”

He told the Ilford Recorder that the costs of the pool would be recouped by charging users. He also pointed to intangible benefits deriving from people being healthier.

But the news has led some to wonder how the council can afford to make the investment when it has had to reduce spending by tens of millions of pounds. Scott Wilding of the Wanstead Society doubted the value of a new pool, telling the paper: “We want new street lights, we want our grass cut, we want our potholes fixed. We cannot afford this.”

In 2014 there was a temporary pool at Wanstead Leisure Centre which was hugely popular and well-used, and the desire for a pool is a regular demand from residents.

The plan will be discussed as part of the budget proposals by the council next week.

6 thoughts on “The new Wanstead pool mystery”

  1. On the face of it a material leisure improvement in Wanstead sounds like good news ( although I don’t get landlocked LBR’s obsession with swimming pools.)

    If it is strictly self funding then I can live with the fact I just dipped into my pocket to pay for a playground that LBR wouldn’t fund.

    However there are likely to be some big ‘buts’ to any pool scheme;

    Looking at form elsewhere in the borough, any pool will likely be built at a school, which will significantly reduce accessibility and usability for Joe Public. Wanstead Leisure Centre already exhibits the shortcomings and compromises of this approach.

    In Wanstead proper there are limited sites with space; Wanstead High, Nightingale Primary / Elmcroft Youth Centre come to mind. Can’t see the Council buying land, so loss of scare green amenity space a possible unwanted impact of any scheme.

    And then there are concerns about whether LBR can run the pool properly once built. Current delivery at Wanstead Leisure Centre would support those concerns.

    Talking of the Evergreen Field, a much better proposal for I&K Brown redevelopment has just been submitted.

  2. This is great news for the future of Wanstead families/children.
    To say traffic will increase is not true. How many wanstead folk travel outside the area to go to pools, now they don’t need to.

    Fortunately the decision has been made and I have a feeling the majority of people are for this.

    This is great.

  3. With the extensive parklands and forest Wanstead is blessed with, there’s plenty of opportunities for improved health from a thing called taking a good long walk. It’s one of the best and most beautiful places in London for walking for fitness.

    Seems to me five million could be better spent in a borough that has made nasty cuts to general upkeep and wouldn’t even fund a playground update and a Christmas tree one year, and also has an affordable housing crisis. . . .

  4. Fantastic news and a sensible investment that should pay for itself in the long term. Finding a site will be the hard part.

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