Friday, September 26, 2008

Over and Out

a pair of eyes in the darkYesterday evening [Thursday 26th September], the Leisure, Culture and Olympics Scrutiny Committee voted in favour of closing the Ilford Swimming Pool immediately, rather than wait until December, due to the unsatisfactory safety survey. A final decision is awaited. Ilford Recorder report.

At the meeting John Sharrock, Chairman of B21 and the Swimmers Users Group said "This will result in Redbridge having the worst swimming facilities in any London borough, and London is among the worst in Europe. What a Christmas gift for your residents, what a poor way to start 2009." He went on, "What is a surprise to us is that you ever got into this sorry situation, so much for progressive Redbridge. Yet in this report there is no word of apology; no regrets, no sorry to residents. Is it too much for us to hear you admit that you got it wrong?"
"The Leader of the Council has given an estimate of 5 years before a replacement pool is built and we see no urgency to reduce this long period – some of us may not live that long. But to many people regular swimming is essential to maintaining their quality of life."

It is worth noting here that the Olympics comes to London in 2012, one year before the earliest estimate of a new pool. It would appear that this Committee, and the Cabinet member they scrutinise, is inaccurately named. Unless of course the IOC has admitted a new sport of procrastination, delay, ineptitude and wasting taxpayer’s money on frivolities.

Olympic-sized swimming pool for Ilford: Note the date.

UPDATE, Sunday 28th September: We are informed that the Ilford Pool closed at 3pm on Saturday 27th. What now?


  1. from the south wales argus

    "Iain Varah, head of continuing learning and leisure, has been instrumental in sourcing over £28 million of inward investment for the city. Mr Varah, 42, joined the council eight years ago and led the teams that secured funding for many of Newport's flagship projects.

    He will take over as head of leisure and culture with the London borough of Redbridge.

    The £16.5m Riverfront theatre opened to widespread acclaim last Friday and was backed by a Arts Council for Wales grant of £8.5m.

    When the medieval ship was discovered, Mr Varah helped secure an extra £3.5m for the Assembly to protect the ship.

    Mr Varah also helped get funding for the Newport International Sports Village, where the £7.5m velodrome opened a year ago and a 25m competition pool costing £4.5m is set to open in 2006.

    He said the three landmark facilities were the highlights of his time in management and added: "We're now probably the strongest culture and leisure centre in Wales and are comparable to the rest of the UK."

    one might be excused for thinking that a small thing like keeping a swimming pool open would be a mere bagatelle to such a man as described above.


  2. One might be excused for thinking who wrote it.

  3. What is puzzling, is that Mr varah managed to get a 25m pool in 2006 for £4.5 million, now it costs £25 million,thats some inflation.


  4. Now I understand, cheap out of work miners to dig a big hole, if only we had something similar in Redbridge.


  5. About 5 years ago Redbridge Council had consent from the government to enter into a PFI agreement to build a new 25 metre pool. A year later a "power coup" at the Town Hall not only decided not to proceed with that scheme, but also proposed to build a 50 metre pool.

    I supported the proposal not to proceed with the PFI scheme - it is a proverbial "Trojan horse" arrangement that provides an apparently cheap solution, but is extremely expensive in the long term.

    I supported the proposal to investigate a 50 metre pool so that comparisons could be made between the two - 25 metres and 50 metres. I did NOT support more than 3 years delay on the part of Redbridge Council's cabinet, leading to an inevitable closure without replacement, and the ritual shedding of crocodile tears by the current Cabinet member. The grandiose scheme gives the clear impression that it was advanced primarily to massage somebody's personal vanity. One wonders too whether such an inordinate would have happened had the scheme been in either Clayhall or Monkhams wards.

    So delete "In unity progress", and insert "Procrastination rules".

  6. The problem comes in having the will to do something, the council obviously did not have the will to do anything with the existing pool, despite numerous examples of old pools(some much older than this one) being renovated around the country. But did have the will, but not the finance, for a much more grandiose scheme, result - one pool for 250,000 people, perhaps we should consider bussing them all to Newport.


  7. It turns out that the boiler to be able to collapse into the the pool would have to take "A Leap of Faith" from the car park