Work due to start at Romford’s leisure centre, Western Road

Romford leisure centre artwork by Saunders Boston architects

Romford leisure centre artwork by Saunders Boston architects - Credit: Archant

Work to prepare the site of Romford’s long-awaited leisure centre will start next week bringing the four-year saga closer to conclusion.

Supermarket chain Morrisons handed the site to Havering Council after completing the demolition of Chaucer House, Western Road, Romford, before the April deadline.

The land will be prepared from next week and the first bricks are expected to be laid in early May.

Leader of the council Cllr Roger Ramsey said: “I am very pleased to say that Morrisons has upheld its contract and we are at last preparing to start the construction of the leisure centre.

“This is an important moment for residents, who have been waiting a long time for this development.

“I thank residents and the ice hockey club for their patience and parents, who are taking their children outside of the borough to get to an ice-rink.”

The new leisure centre will include an ice rink, an eight lane, 25m swimming pool, sauna, steam room and fitness studios.

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The project is due to be completed by 2018.

The multi-million pound plans were first announced in May 2012, when Havering Council agreed a land-swap deal with Morissons, exchanging the Western Road site with the former home of Romford Ice Arena, Rom Valley Way.

In September last year, both parties signed a contract agreeing the land swap would take place by April.

Plans for a new supermarket, which could create up to 300 new jobs, along with 65 houses and a petrol station on the Rom Way Valley site were agreed as part of the deal.

Morrisons has been contacted for comment but was not able to confirm whether the plans will still go ahead.

The London Raiders ice hockey team, formerly known as the Romford Raiders, has been based in Lee Valley since the town’s former rink closed in 2013.

But the team hoped to return to the borough for the 2018-2019 season.

John Scott, chief executive of the Fans Management Committee, previously said there was “no place like home” and the team was looking forward to the move.