Purley campaigners fear their pool is “under attack”

Campaigners supporting Purley Pool are concerned that a council consultation process is laying the groundwork for redevelopment of the pool, car park and the former Sainsbury’s store.

Purley Pool: under constant threat of redevelopment

The council’s “spatial” planning team has issued a circular inviting submissions from developers and residents with suggestions of how best to use council-owned buildings and sites.

The council letter says: “Croydon Council is inviting land owners, developers and other bodies to put forward sites in the London Borough of Croydon that they think should be allocated for development in the Council’s Joint Detailed Policies and Proposals Development Plan Document. However, it’s not just about development sites.

“The Council also wants to know if you think there are sites where the buildings should be kept but used for something different. Or perhaps there are sites that you think should be protected from development? What about space to accommodate the various uses that serve the borough’s growing population? Are there sites that could help provide open space and play space etc?”

Ken Whittick, of the Purley Pool campaign, said, “You will see from the letter that it is possible that our pool and car park could come under attack with suggestions that this site should be developed.

“The defence is in our own hands for we can argue that the pool and car park should be protected.

“The way you can help to do that is to fill in the form nominating the pool and car park as sites to be protected. You could say, as I will, that the Sainsbury store site should be developed and put in your own proposals for its development.”

In 2010, Purley Pool was given an undertaking by the council leader, Mike Fisher, that it will stay open until 2014. Its future thereafter seems uncertain: with new leisure centres to be opened in Waddon and Coulsdon, the facilities at Purley seem likely to be closed by Croydon Council on the grounds that it cannot afford the maintenance and running costs of three centres. The Purley site, in the centre of the town and close to the railway station, would seem to be attractive to developers, though the global economic downturn deterred bids in 2009-2010.

Anyone wishing to obtain a submission form for the Purley Pool site, or others within the borough, should contact the council’s Plan Making Team on 020 8407 1385 or email ldf@croydon.gov.uk. Forms need to be returned by April 2.

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4 Responses to Purley campaigners fear their pool is “under attack”

  1. Is there really a problem at Purley pool?

    As a regular swimmer there, my understanding of its future is the same as yours. The pool will close when the two replacements – at Coulsdon and Waddon – come into service in 2014.

    I’m looking forward to the change. I’m hoping the new facilities will be better than the ones now on offer – and that won’t be difficult. The pool at Purley is pleasant enough with its modern deck-level design, but the smelly and gloomy changing rooms leave a great deal to be desired. The gym, something of an afterthought, is positively depressing.

    Purley pool and the car park were built as municipal sweeteners by Sainsbury’s – hence the brown tiling that reflects the company’s then corporate colour – but I don’t think either the grocer or the council gave much thought to the finer points of design: Beckenham Spa it ain’t! Nor is it as good as the more recently built pool at Thornton Heath.

    I think Mr Whittick and his colleagues are trying to re-open a tedious battle that the council has already won – unless of course, you or they have some reason to believe that either of the new pools is in jeopardy.

    Otherwise, roll on 2014, say I.

    • All good points, David.

      But if we can overcome problems with the cosmetics of the decor at Purley, it is worth considering that the council’s planning for health, sport and leisure facilities is entirely predicated on a managed neglect of the existing pool, with the “jam tomorrow” prospects of Waddon and Coulsdon.

      That assumes that all goes swimmingly with the new centres.

      It also overlooks an anticipated increase in demand for all sports facilities as a result of the inspirational effect of the 2012 London Olympics.

      And above all, it ignores the council’s own plans to increase vastly the number of people living in the borough over the coming decade. More people will need more facilities, not fewer. The pressure on primary school places is already demonstrating a failure to plan ahead.

      When fitness is recommended to maintain long-term health, and obesity acknowledged as a growing problem (no pun intended), might it just be a little short-sighted of our council not to look to try to maintain a 30-year-old facility, in addition to the promised new centres, for the borough’s growing population?

    • Fred Wallis says:

      What David does not seem to understand is that he is very much alone in his thoughts.

      Purley Pool has a very strong following and although we would like the council to upgrade and spend some money we all know that the belt has been tightened and we may have to wait. Croydon Council has built the pool in Waddon for the Waddon community and the centre of Croydon. They deserve a good facility, as did Thornton Heath. What the people of Purley,Sanderstead, Kenley and coulsdon need when the money can be planned is a good facility in Purley. They deserve it as is shown by the increased attendance of young and old.

      Let’s support a facility for the south of the borough. What David wants to do is go to Thornton Heath because he likes it there. We like Purley and we want it to stay. I hope I have the opportunity to say hello to our David soon.

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