The well-being of children would be impacted by the permanent closure of Purley swimming pool, a Croydon teacher has said.
The closure of the facility is on the cards as the council is in the midst of a financial crisis.
Purley Leisure Centre has been closed since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It was the only swimming pool in the borough not to reopen when the Government allowed.
Theresa Paull, deputy head teacher at St Aidan’s Primary School in Coulsdon, urged councillors not to close the facility at a council meeting on Monday night.
The school has been taking children to swim at Purley for the past six years, with a 94 per cent success rate of getting children to swim 25 metres by the end of Year 6.
Mrs Paull said: “Currently our journey to Purley Pool takes 32 minutes one-way on public transport, if we are no longer able to go there the next closest is Waddon, which would entail a 52 minute one-way journey and involve crossing three busy roads.
“I would like all local residents to have access to a pool without having to travel an hour.
“It will not just affect schools but local residents. Their well-being will be affected if they are not able to access facilities as regularly as they currently do.
“I like so many others am keen for swimming facilities to be available now and in the future as a key element in the education of every child and as a much-needed facility for every adult.”
But cabinet member for culture, councillor Oliver Lewis, said that the closure of Purley Leisure Centre is currently being looked at as part of money saving measures.
He said: “We are having to consider the sustainability of the leisure contract as a whole and we need to consider it in the round and not just a site specific way.
“Some facilities produce a surplus while others require subsidy to operate. At the beginning of the year the contract was in pretty good shape with New Addington recently opened and others making a surplus.
“The loss-making facilities, including Purley, could be subsidised by facilities elsewhere. The impact of Covid on the contract and the council’s financial position means I will be able to give no assurances on Purley Leisure Centre.”
He said that the council would speak to residents about the future of the facility and ambitions for a new leisure centre in the south of the borough.
Cllr Lewis added: “I do sympathise with residents that this will mean change to routines and present challenges to them.”
Back in 2014 the leisure centre was under threat of closure due to it being in poor condition and having high maintenance costs.
In January 2015, following a campaign from locals, the council decided to keep the centre open ‘until it could no longer be used’.
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