As well as being Chairman of Barkingside 21, I am also Chairman of the Redbridge Swimmers Users group. After the closure of the Ilford High Road pools at the end of September both groups plus others have been active in seeking a commitment from Redbridge Council to replace this lost amenity quickly.
This has involved a petition of 6,000 signatures, speaking and lobbying wherever possible and a march from the Ilford Recorder building to the Town Hall.
In spite of all this effort it appears that we are no further forward in getting a replacement pool. In fact, the council appears to be in denial regarding this problem. A good example of this is the front page of the November issue of Redbridge Life with the headline “Redbridge Conversation leads to borough wide improvements”.
Among the flim-flam is a photograph of young swimmers raising their hands in jubilation at what purports to be a good result as far as their sport is concerned. Who are you trying to kid, Mr Council. When in fact the words say “even if money is found for a new leisure centre work could not start for a few years”.
The residents of Barkingside should not feel complacent that we have a pool because our amenity is now under immense pressure from the displaced users from Ilford which will be at its peak in the Summer.
Our groups, however despondent at the excuse that there is “no money”, will continue our campaign with vigour. We are in for a long haul and ask supporters not to give up.