SCRAPPING plans for an £8.4million youth zone will allow Pitsea swimming pool to open a full 12 months ahead of schedule, council bosses have revealed.

The new Tory administration immediately announced plans to ditch the youth zone project following last month’s election.

With the saved cash, Tory bosses are now hoping the £2million swimming pool, at Eversley Leisure Centre, will open early next year.

The plan has been hit by several delays since it was approved two years ago, including being “shelved” in the middle of the Covid pandemic.


Craig Rimmer, councillor in charge of leisure and the environment, said: “The previous administration delayed the swimming pool with political point scoring until 2023.

“It could have been built by 2020, but with the games played, and then with Covid, it was delayed.

“Priority was then given to the town centre, rather than projects that could have actually been delivered.”

Basildon Council would have spent £4.1million on the youth zone, which was given planning permission for the car park opposite Trafford House and off Ashdon Way.

The additional £4.3million for the youth zone was set to be provide by charity On Side.

The youth zone, would have featured a 4-court indoor sports hall, an indoor climbing wall, a fitness suite, and educational facilities.

Mr Rimmer added: “Residents really want this pool, they’re always telling us how important it will be, both as a social hub and as a place to exercise and improve their wellbeing.

“There’s a cafe too, and the nearby gym.

“It will be a great place for the community to go.

“I can’t wait for it to open.”

Council bosses insisted “great progress” was being made by officers before the second lockdown was announced last autumn.

The new swimming pool at the leisure centre will be operated by Everyone Active.

The rest of the council’s funding for the youth zone could be invested into parks, the Echo understands.

Further detail on the investment plans will be confirmed later this week.