The closure of Purley Pool has finally been rubber stamped by Croydon council.
After strong local opposition, with thousands signing a petition against the plans, the swimming pool on the high street will not reopen.
It has been closed since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
Now, after a six-week consultation, the final decision to close the leisure centre for good has been made.
At a cabinet meeting on Monday, January 25, Councillor Oliver Lewis said it would cost too much to keep the pool running.
The cabinet member for culture and regeneration said: “Whilst we understand that people are disappointed at the closure of Purley, we cannot continue to subsidise this operation and put hundreds of thousands of pounds of tax-payers money into a pool that was losing money every year.”
And he confirmed fears that the site would be redeveloped.
He added: “What we need in Purley is a new modern pool as part of the redevelopment of that site.
“In the meantime we will take steps to improve access to more modern centres in the borough, this includes Waddon, New Addington and Monks Hill.”
But shadow cabinet member Jeet Bains called the consultation a “sham”.
More than half of the 1,132 responses to the consultation asked for the pool to be re-opened.
This is on top of more than 3,000 people who signed a petition to save Purley Pool.
Access to other pools in the borough was the reason many wanted to see Purley Pool saved.
One resident wrote: “My children are no longer swimming at present- my eldest would have been able to get the bus independently to Purley but Waddon is too far to let them do this.
“They were swimming for fitness. My youngest was having weekly lessons – they are not having lessons now as we don’t have any other pools as close and convenient as Purley was.”
From Kenley, Purley Leisure Centre was a 20-minute walk away or 12-minute bus ride.
The quickest journey to another Croydon centre would be a 26-minute train to Thornton Heath Leisure Centre six miles away, or it would take an hour to walk to Monks Hill Leisure Centre in South Croydon, or 45 minutes on public transport.
Cllr Bains said: “The overwhelming response to the consultation is that people want Purley Pool to remain open and that the alternative pools are not feasible for transport and location reasons.
“This consultation was a sham and a waste of money wasn’t it?”
But Oliver Lewis hit back saying it would cost several million pounds to keep the pool running which he described as an “expensive sticking plaster”.