Basildon Council gives residents two weeks to share views on planned new Pitsea swimming pool

RESIDENTS have been asked to give their views on a proposed new swimming pool in Pitsea.

Basildon Council is considering installing a new pool at the Eversley Leisure Centre and has given the public two weeks to have its say on the idea.

Conservatives announced in November 2018 that they were investigating the possibility of constructing new pools in Pitsea and Laindon.

A former Tory regime had torn Pitsea’s previous swimming pool down in 2013, to make way for a Morrisons superstore that never materialised. The Range eventually leased the building.

In May 2019, the Conservatives lost control of Basildon Council to the ‘Basildon Borough Alliance’ – a collection of Labour, UKIP and independent councillors.

The swimming pool report commissioned by the Tories was completed and published last month. It said that installing a pool in Laindon had been ruled impossible.

The same report said a pool in Pitsea remained possible, but could prove difficult because the proposed site was already allocated for housing in the Local Plan, which designates land for development between now and 2034 in order to hit Government housing targets.

External firm The Sports Consultancy was asked by Basildon Council to investigate the possibility of a £2million, 20-metre by 10-metre training pool at the Eversley Leisure Centre.

But the land on which the sports centre sits is allocated for development, which could force the ‘closure of the total facility at Eversley’ within ‘at the most, 12 years’.

The existing plan had been to create a brand-new leisure facility – including both a training pool and a 25-metre competition pool – between 2028 and 2030, after Eversley was lost.

So the report said the council now had a choice. The first option was to not build a new pool in Pitsea, resulting in a shortfall of swimming provision until the new facility was built in a decade’s time.

The second option was build the training pool ‘to remain in-situ in perpetuity’. That option might preclude the addition of the planned competition pool. It would mean the land would ‘under-deliver on housing numbers’, meaning new homes may have to be built more densely to fit them into the surrounding area.

Councillors voted last month to take the issue to a public consultation and ask residents what they would like the council to do.

Independent councillor David Harrison, chairman of the Neighbourhoods and Public Spaces Committee, said: “The borough needs additional swimming pool provision to meet the needs of our growing population.

“The addition of a swimming pool to Eversley Leisure Centre would complete the centre’s status as the sports hub for Pitsea and could be a very exciting development for the area, which has been deprived of a local pool for some time now.

“I would like to encourage members of the public to give us their views on the proposal.”

*The council’s consultation will end at midnight on Sunday, October 27.

To complete the questionnaire, visit: https://www.basildon.gov.uk/article/7717/Public-Consultation-a-new-swimming-pool-for-Pitsea

Charles Thomson

Chief ReporterEmail: [email protected]