Croydon council takes step towards long anticipated Purley Pool redevelopment

By Harrison Galliven, Local Democracy Reporter

The Purley Pool saga has moved on to its next chapter, as Croydon council announced that developers have submitted a planning application for the eventual redevelopment of the site.

The new plans will see the site demolished and replaced with a state-of-the-art complex containing a new swimming pool, café and about 250 new homes for older people.

The leisure centre, which has been closed to the public since March 2020, has been a key priority for Mayor Jason Perry since taking office nearly two years ago. He also featured the plans to reopen the pool as a key promise on his campaign flyers.

The old Purely Pool site has been closed since March 2020 (Picture: Harrison Galliven/LDRS)

In his manifesto, Mayor Perry said the reopening plans had “been fully costed and will come from unallocated community infrastructure levy monies and will not impact on any other services.”

However, in June last year, Mr Perry admitted that he could not reopen the pool in its existing state, citing cost concerns. Before closure, the leisure centre was running at a loss of £150,000 a year and would have cost more than £3million to refurbish.

Following this, it was revealed that a new developer and leaseholder, Polaska, would take over the complete redevelopment of the site while leaving ownership and management of the facility with the council.

To assuage fears over cost, the Mayor has insisted the cost of construction will be funded through the development. On its website, Polaska says the leisure centre will be built before work starts on the residential units.

Emerging plans for the redevelopment of Purley Leisure Centre and old Sainsbury’s supermarket (Picture: Polaska)

The British Virgin Islands-registered Polaska held a public consultation in June 2023, to gauge public opinion on the emerging proposals.

The consultation saw residents raise issues around parking at the new facility. In response, Polaska pointed to research that found there were on average 607 parking spots available per day in the town centre, which they believed to be a “significant over provision of parking in Purley town centre.”

The site includes the existing leisure centre, multi-storey car park and the old Sainsbury’s, which closed in 2001. The plans include 245 ‘later living’ flats across four buildings between four and 12-storeys tall.

Emerging plans for the redevelopment of Purley Leisure Centre and old Sainsbury\’s supermarket (Picture: Polaska)

Alongside the pool, the new plans will feature a gym, public square, café, ground-floor retail, parking and a new walking route from the station to the facility, which will now be reviewed by the council and the Greater London Authority.

In a statement following the announcement of the new plans, Perry said: “ know that Purley Pool has been much missed by residents and a new leisure centre will help make it easier for local people of all ages to enjoy healthy, active lifestyles.

“While this is a welcome step, there is still a long way to go – we need to make sure that the proposals are right.”

The application is currently being validated and will be available to view on the council’s website in the next few days.

Pictured top: Campaigners are concerned that Purley Leisure Centre will not reopen (Picture: Save Purley Pool)

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