Construction of a new leisure centre in Rainham has been delayed due to the impact of Covid-19.

Intended to begin this summer, Havering Council confirmed construction of the new Rainham Leisure Centre will now begin “early next year”.

Plans for the facility - to be built on the site of Rainham Recreation Ground in Viking Way - were approved in February this year.

Following complaints from residents eagerly awaiting the start of construction, the council confirmed a deferral due to "impacts caused by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Leader Damian White said: “I am disappointed that the events of the last year-and-a-half have meant the original opening date for the new site has had to be pushed back.”

The leader added: “After a very difficult period – it is great to be able set a date for building works to begin on our much-anticipated new leisure centre for Rainham.”

An annoyed resident, who wishes not to be named, questioned why the council claim the centre will open in Spring 2022 when “nothing has happened on site”.

Cllr White responded: “While other councils are having to close leisure facilities, we are doing our best to provide even more.

“The new Rainham Leisure Centre will follow the recently opened Harrow Lodge Leisure Centre in Hornchurch, which is already seeing so many residents benefiting from the brilliant facilities on offer there.”

An alternative to the original 2021 opening date has not yet been announced.

Once built the centre will offer a range of facilities including a dance and spinning studio, 72-station fitness suite and six-lane swimming pool.

“This past year, more than ever, has been a reminder of just how important health and wellbeing is.

“As we continue our recovery from the pandemic, the council remains committed to delivering the best leisure facilities right across the borough to help our residents live happy and healthy lives,” added Cllr White.