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Havering Council makes 'difficult decision' to close Rainham's Chafford Sports Complex

PUBLISHED: 12:02 18 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:02 18 March 2019

The swimming pool at Chafford sports centre in Rainham

The swimming pool at Chafford sports centre in Rainham

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Funding for the Chafford Sports Complex will end in June following a decision by Havering Council.

Swimming pool at Chafford sports centre in RainhamSwimming pool at Chafford sports centre in Rainham

Havering’s cabinet has agreed that the funding for the leisure centre will stop from June 1.

It is owned by the Harris Academy Rainham but is run by Everyone Active and is only open to the public outside of school hours.

Havering is looking at funding transport costs for two primary schools who currently walk to Chafford Sports Complex for swimming lessons, to use the Sapphire Ice and Leisure centre in Western Road, Romford, until the end of the academic year.

Despite a petition compiled by the Independent Residents’ Group with signatures from residents campaigning to keep the centre open, the council insists that the costs are no longer viable due its condition, age and limited use.

But Councillor David Durant said: “After spending £28.8m upfront on the new Romford Leisure Centre and millions more on new centres and facilities in Hornchurch and Harold Hill, their claim Chafford requires an ‘unaffordable’ £232,287 subsidy is nonsense.

“Chafford Sports Complex should remain open until a new centre is built in the south of the borough or at least until the new Hornchurch centre is built in 18 months time.”

The council explained that the sports centre is in need of updating if it is to continue to be used by the public and estimated the cost of this at around £1million.

Councillor Viddy Persaud, cabinet member for culture and leisure, said: “This is a difficult but prudent decision which we think will be of benefit for the local community in the long run.

“Chafford is no longer fit for purpose and requires significant repairs for it to be safe and usable for residents and schools beyond June. Further investment in the site does not offer good value for money when we can look to provide a new and better facility instead for our local communities in the south of the borough.

“Local residents can also use our other facilities like those in Hornchurch or Sapphire until a new leisure centre is built in the south of the borough.”

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