Dagenham swimmers set to lose out as pool is closed off for the summer

A mum has warned that young swimmers could suffer as sports bosses prepare to shut the only leisure pool in Barking and Dagenham.

Sueli Bimbato is angry about the upcoming closure of Goresbrook Leisure Centre on June 10 to allow Olympic boxers to train at the venue before the Games.

The mum-of-two said the pool, in Ripple Road, Dagenham, is often packed during the summer and fears that many children will be lost without it.

Mrs Bimbato, of Gale Street, Dagenham, said: “The holidays last six weeks. Children have nothing to do. They could get up to some mischief. During the summer holidays you get people there because it’s a fun pool and they have a toboggan.

“In the summer the pool is packed with children.”

Mrs Bimbato added there was some “confusion” as to where swimmers, including her son Vitorio, eight, would now be transferred for their weekly lessons.

She said a letter given to her son indicated he would not be able to swim at the 25m pool inside the new �23million Becontree Heath Leisure Centre in Wood Lane, Dagenham, which is over-subscribed.

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Her son would, instead, have to go to the pool at Abbey Sports Centre in Axe Street, Barking.

However, another letter handed to swimmers a week later suggested they may be able to transfer to Becontree Heath Leisure Centre after all, she said.

Ms Bimbato explained: “Now I don’t know if he’s got a place. It’s just a mess.”

Barking and Dagenham Council said Goresbrook and Abbey Sports Centre, also to be closed, are “no longer fit for purpose” and will be replaced with a new leisure centre.

A council spokesman said: “The centre is being closed because the council has decided to build a new leisure centre to replace both Abbey Sports Centre and Goresbrook Leisure Centre.

“This will repeat the success of the new Becontree Heath Leisure Centre in the north of the borough, which replaced two old, inefficient leisure centres that were no longer fit for purpose. Becontree Heath Leisure Centre is cheaper to run than the two leisure centres it has replaced but is also more popular, generating a far higher number of visits.

“The site that Goresbrook Leisure Centre sits on will be sold; the new centre is only affordable because of the capital receipt (cash) that it is expected will be received from the sale and it is considered prudent to try to secure this income as early as possible.”

She added that letters were sent to parents asking for their preference in transferring their children’s swimming lessons to either Abbey or Becontree but said there were limited spaces at Becontree.

Council staff will contact people shortly to confirm the places that are available, she said.