Leisure ambitions for south of the borough announced as Chafford funding ceases

Published: Thursday, 14 March 2019

Havering’s Cabinet has agreed that the funding for the Chafford Sports Complex, will stop from 1 June 2019.

The costs to keep the centre open in Rainham, which is over 40 years old, are no longer viable due to its condition, age and limited use it offers to residents.

The complex is owned by the Harris Academy Rainham, but is currently run by the Council’s Leisure contractor, Everyone Active. The centre is only open to the public outside of school hours.

The council is looking into providing new leisure facilities in the south of the borough as part of the regeneration planned for the Rainham area.

This new leisure centre would offer better facilities and longer opening hours.

While the decision has been made to stop the funding for Chafford, work has already started on the new Hornchurch Sports Centre, in Harrow Lodge Park, with the current centre still open until that work completes in 2020.

There is also Abbs Cross Health and Fitness in Hornchurch.

Sapphire Ice and Leisure in Romford recently celebrated its first birthday and has had over half a million visitors in its first 12 months.

To help those schools that currently use the centre, the Council is looking at funding transport costs for two primary schools that currently walk to Chafford Sports Complex for swimming lessons, to use Sapphire Ice and Leisure until the end of the current school academic year.

Councillor Viddy Persaud, Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, said: “This is a difficult but prudent decision which we think will be of benefit for the local community in the long-run.

“Chafford is no longer fit for purpose and requires significant repairs for it to be safe and usable for residents and schools beyond June.

Further investment in the site does not offer good value for money when we can look to provide a new and better facility instead for our local communities in the south of the borough.

“Local residents can also use our other facilities like those in Hornchurch or Sapphire until a new leisure centre is built in the south of the borough.”