Swimmers Not Sold On Pools Promise

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 129 months ago
Swimmers Not Sold On Pools Promise

Swimmers in Redbridge have stroked their collective chins and yelled "Reckon?" at plans to offer free access to swimming baths under the 2012 legacy plan.

Front-crawlers in the Redbridge Swimmers Association don't quite believe the government's claim that, in four years time, pools won't cost a penny. Their skeptism is given weight by the planned closure this December of Ilford Swimming Baths, which dates from 1931 and has been deemed "too expensive to repair". This leaves just a single public pool for the borough's 250,000 residents.

While the 2012 plan supports free swimming for all Londoners, it doesn't oblige councils to actually provide leisure facilities where none exist. A multi-million pound new leisure centre has been mooted, but as Redbridge is not an official Olympic borough, there is no guarantee it will actually go ahead. As the Association's spokesperson puts it: "It's fine and dandy saying 'free swimming', but where?".

Supporting their argument, another of London's lost swimming pools - Uxbridge Lido - has just been placed on the 'at risk' register by British Heritage. 'At risk' is something of an understatement - since closing in 1998 the thing's been left to crumble. Plans for a refurb have been batted about by Hillingdon Council for years, with nothing actually happening, although this spiffy looking website does have an encouraging artist's rendering on it and, er, not much else in the way of useful information.

Still, the rescue of London Fields lido in 2006 does offer hope that Uxbridgers will one day enjoy the joys of al fresco paddling. Folk in Redbridge, unfortunately, might not be so lucky.

Image courtesy of Pesterussa's Flickrstream under the Creative Commons license

Last Updated 16 June 2008