Stratford leisure centre to shut due to repair costs
PUBLISHED: 16:30 01 October 2011
Spiralling repairs costs have forced Newham Council to decide to close a leisure centre - and build a new one on the same site.
Newham Council is to consult with residents over what they would want in a new leisure facility, complete with swimming pool, on the site of the Atherton Centre in Romford Road, Stratford.
Mayor Sir Robin Wales and Cabinet colleagues agreed this week to close the centre on December 31 but are committed to a replacement on the site.
Spiralling costs for the repair of the ceiling over the centre’s main pool and an estimated maintenance requirement of more than £2.2million over the next ten years means keeping it open is not the best use of Council Tax payers’ money and it is better to replace the building.
Mayor Sir Robin Wales said: “We are committed to providing a new facility with a pool as quickly as possible and we want people to have a say in what else might go in it.
“We would like to have kept the centre open while we look at all the options but we simply cannot afford to do that. It would be foolish and a complete waste of money. We need to replace the leisure facility. Doing repairs is money down the drain.
“It is right that the local community help us with developing the proposals. We will consult widely on the designs. I think our residents deserve a completely new fully accessible facility complete with pool.”
The main pool at the centre has been closed since May for repairs. However unforeseen issues in the ceiling has seen the cost of repairs rise from £85,000 to £250,000.
Continuing maintenance is considered uneconomic because of the building’s age, condition and complexity. The new centre would need to be included in the council’s budget strategy and would be built to maximise environmental sustainability and be at least carbon neutral.
After the closure many of the activities and clubs that currently take place in the centre will transfer to others across the borough.
Added the Mayor: “Newham Council believes in investing in what matters to residents. We want people to have access to quality leisure facilities that encourage them to get active.”
The council is now working on a full timetable for consultation, closure and replacement, which will be published as quickly as possible. For further information visit www.newham.gov.uk
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