Labour Report No 1:
Pool and Track site to be sold to fund leisure centre at Arcade site.
Labour Report No 2 (Just days later…)
Now land at Pool and Track or other “unidentified assets” to be sold
Labour Leader says:
Pool will be closed but not track
Labour councillor responsible for sport says:
We never suggested the track would close
“There is no confusion”.
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Users of local sports facilities have been left anxious about the future of the Pool and Track in Walthamstow after Labour Leader Chris Robbins appeared to confirm that at least part of the facility will be shut down.
Liberal Democrat councillors are fighting Labour plans to rescue the Arcade site development by borrowing millions of pounds and selling off land and council assets.
Labour’s proposals — which were published on the Council website – involved the “disposal of the Pool and Track site for a replacement facility with the Arcade development”, including a Leisure Centre “to replace the current indoor facilities at the Pool and Track”.
However after protests from Liberal Democrat councillors and residents, definitive references to the sale of the Pool and Track were quickly removed from the final Cabinet report, with mention only being made of the sale of “either land at the Pool and Track site or alternative assets to the same value that have not yet been identified”. Labour councillors forced through the report despite Liberal Democrat opposition in the Cabinet meeting.
Hopes for the future of the Pool and Track seem, however, to have been dashed after comments from Labour Leader Chris Robbins suggested that at least part of the facility will still be closed.
In trying to quell public protests at the handling of the closure, Cllr Robbins confirmed to the local press that the pool will be closed once a “replacement” leisure facility has been built. This would seem to leave the borough’s athletics track as a stand-alone facility.
Lib Dem Cllr Bob Carey, a member of the affected Chapel End ward, has now raised the issue with Cllr Geraldine Reardon, the Labour councillor responsible for sport in the borough, at a Full Council meeting. He sought clarification over the future of the pool facility, investment in the track and raised resident concerns about accessibility to a pool facility at the Arcade.
Cllr Reardon told councillors that there was “no confusion” over the future of the facility, but refused to confirm the Labour leader’s comment that the pool would be closed once a replacement was built, claiming that no decision had been made.
Local Liberal Democrat councillors will continue to seek answers over Labour’s handling of our Pool and Track.