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COUNCILLORS have approved the next step towards building a new swimming pool in Pitsea.
Basildon Council’s Neighbourhoods and Public Spaces Committee last week agreed plans to spend up to £115,000 tendering for and commissioning detailed designs for the proposed facility.
A council officer told members that a consultation of local residents had found overwhelming support for the new pool, which would be build by modular construction as an extension to the existing Eversley Leisure Centre.
The pool would measure 29 metres by 9 metres. The development would also include changing facilities, a small café and extra parking.
The officer said the creation of new gym facilities and a 3G football pitch had already seen ‘huge footfall developments’ at the centre.
The eventual cost of building the new pool would be between £1million and £2million, the officer added.
Labour councillor Andrew Ansell described the plans as ‘absolutely brilliant news’.
He told the meeting: “I think I speak for everyone on the committee, and even on the council, that we are determined to deliver a pool in Pitsea.
“I think residents are looking to us to work together on this one, to deliver the best facility possible, as quickly as possible.
“The modular designs look fantastic. Not only does it look good… it looks robust. Let’s get cracking.”
Wickford Tory Don Morris said he was ‘happy to support’ the new pool as ‘something very good for the people of Pitsea’, but added: “Not sure I like the design of the place. Looks to me a bit like a main line railway station without its trains in it.”
Tory councillor Kevin Blake pointed out that the images councillors had been shown were of a 50-metre pool in Barking, built using the same construction technique. He said the Pitsea pool would not have the same design.
Cllr Blake said: “I’m going to be honest with you, Andrew – I’m extremely pleased with your comments. I genuinely am, and I hope we can work together on this.
“But it would be remiss of me not to say, when we said we were going to do this at the last budget-setting – that we were going to produce a pool for £2million – we were laughed out of the room but the now leader of the council, saying it’s impossible to do for that sort of price.”
Wickford independent David Harrison, chairing the meeting, said: “The modular construction has been looked at. It’s easier to maintain than existing pools. I think it can be done fairly quickly if people move, and I’m hoping it will be.”