A plan for a new state-of-the-art leisure centre and swimming pool has been announced by the district council.

During Epping Forest District Council’s (EFDC) cabinet meeting on Thursday, April 11, the estimated £18 million facility will be built on St John’s Road, Epping.

A sports hall, café, physiotherapy room, sauna, steam room and car park has been part of a development proposal for over ten years.

A cinema, shopping units and 32 new homes are also being considered to be added to the site.

Epping Forest District Council’s chairman, Cllr Chris Whitbread, said: “This is a really positive news story for local residents and something I have been looking forward to bringing forward for a good period of time.

“It will bring to life again part of Epping that has been crying out for a bit of redeveloping for some time. We can now deliver on a brilliant project for the town.

“This has opened up a whole new opportunity for us to provide a brand-new centre for Epping. I am really delighted that we are pressing forward.”

On the Thursday, December 10 2018, the Cabinet decided to proceed with an alternative scheme after failing to reach a mutual agreement with development partner Frontier Estates.

Plans for a new leisure centre to be built in North Weald had also been considered.

“We were looking at the future of the current Epping Sports Centre because currently it doesn’t meet the standards we expect,” explained Cllr Whitbread. “If you can see what we have recently achieved with the centre in Waltham Abbey with a new sports centre, you’ll see why.

“Leisure never used to be like this. We want to live in a healthy society.”

Speaking in response to the news, Cllr Holly Whitbread said: “I am delighted that scheme has been brought forward by the conservative led council. I know that this is something that local residents want in Epping.

“After 10 years it is really exciting to see these regeneration plans which will have a hugely positive impact on the town.”

Councillor Nigel Bedford, expressed concerns of having a major leisure centre amongst three establishments, particular Ongar, within a five mile radius would detract businesses profits.

“The residents of Ongar will be really annoyed if this goes ahead. They (Ongar Lesiure Centre) cover a larger area which goes out as far as the borders of Chelmsford and Brentwood.

“I do not have a problem with a new leisure centre being expanded at Epping, but I do feel that the pool should remain at Ongar to the cover the far side of the district.”

Cllr Whitbread responded saying: “We have been with consultants at Sport England looking at the preferential site for a new centre. It has been carefully thought through. We will look at everything at the future.”

Cllr Anne Grigg also welcomed the news saying: “This is a much better scheme than the first one where things have fallen into place. It will provide something residents will be really keen to have.”

“Even when we just want to get into the car to go the gym, travelling a few miles wouldn’t have made much difference unless when they got to an exceptional centre, which is what it (the centre) is going to be.”

Construction dates of when the leisure centre will begin and be completed is yet to be confirmed.