Plans long in the works for a £35m revamp of West Wickham Leisure Centre have taken steps forward.

The current site would cost millions to bring up to scratch, councillors were told at a meeting on May 7.

If these plans got the go ahead, the current leisure centre  would be redeveloped to include the relocated library, a gym, a car park and 90 flats spread over two buildings.

The flats would be used to fund the new leisure and library building, with the council trying to make the development “cost neutral”.

At a meeting on May 7, councillors wanted assurances that 35 per cent of the new houses would be classed as affordable.

Councillor Robert Evans said: “I am a little concerned about the comments on mixed tenure and affordable housing. One of the things we need to look at is the absolute need to build affordable housing.


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“It seems to me that as a council we should be making some sort of example and if we are taking the cheap developers way out of saying we can’t afford to build any then I think that’s terrible. I would like to see a commitment.”

Council officers said that all options – including 100 per cent affordable housing or private ownership – were being considered at this stage.

Councillors recommended that an option for 90 flats with the expectation of 35 per cent affordable housing be taken to the council’s top executive team later this year.

Ward councillor Nicholas Bennett said the development is long overdue.

He said: “The existing centre isn’t fit for purpose. It was built in 1966, it would require several million pounds worth of repairs just to keep it going. We’ve had complaints about the quality of the centre itself.

“We certainly wouldn’t want to see no leisure centre in West Wickham. We accept there has to be a new leisure centre and these things don’t come without a price.

“It is only going to work if the price to the public purse is kept at a minimum with a return on it through housing.


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“For young people to get on the housing ladder it is becoming incredibly difficult.

“This is a superb location for young people wanting to commute to London.

“The big issue we will have with some residents is the height of the building – we welcome the inclusion of a green wall.

“It is probably going to the highest building in West Wickham but we do have a policy of tall buildings by railway centres.”

The current library site would be freed up for a future housing scheme.