Plans for a £17.5m council-run leisure centre in New Addington have finally been unveiled – as part of a wider scheme to revitalise the town’s Central Parade that has been plagued by delays.
The new centre, which includes a new pool, sports hall, gym equipment, improved community space and eight houses is only the first part of a multi-million-pound plan to inject new life into the area – one of the most deprived in the capital.
An overhaul of the land has been on the agenda for around 10 years, with various schemes being proposed and rejected.
Residents welcomed the plans but expressed concerns over the delays. Marion Burchell, chair of local community group New Addington Pathfinders said: “The plans for the leisure centre are amazing. The building on the whole looks functional, modern and fit-for-purpose. We don’t feel there are many residents who can say it is not sorely overdue.”
She also pointed out that the leisure centre was only the first phase of a wider regeneration scheme on the Central Parade in New Addington, but that residents were in the dark about the overall plans.
She said: “Why were there were no complete plans for this whole site? As residents we could question why anyone would place a £17m building on a plot of land when they tell us they do not know at this point what they will do with the rest of the space.”
Councillor Simon Hall, Cabinet Member for Finance and Treasury at Croydon Council acknowledged that the development plans had been hampered by setbacks.
He told ELL: “We’ve been trying to do a regeneration for many years, but there have been all sorts of problems: lots of consultations, lots of plans – nothing delivered.
“Trying to deliver everything in one go with all of its complications is why nothing has happened as yet. We’ve decided to split the regeneration of the area into phases. That way they become deliverable.”
Oliver Lewis, councillor for New Addington, said there has been an outcry for new facilities in the community for the past 10 years.
He told ELL: “Over the years there’s been a number of schemes that should’ve been on the table that haven’t come through and people feel very let down by that. There’s a bit of trust that needs to be rebuilt.”
Residents of the area were invited to view and comment on the plans for the new multi-level community and leisure centre over the course of two days last weekend.
Lewis said: “It’s important that we get a scheme that everyone’s happy with as there is a lot of money going into this. £17.5m shows that the council believes in New Addington and we’re proud that we’ve been able to win that investment for a community that really deserves it.”
The council aims to put in a planning application in May and meet with the planning committee in July in hopes to start work on the site in January 2017. The new leisure and community centre in Central Parade is hoped to open in the summer of 2018.