Plans for a £17.5 million leisure centre in New Addington are finally set to be approved by Croydon Council this week.

The long-awaited proposals, which have been years in the pipeline, include a 25-metre swimming pool, a community centre, an arts space, a sports hall and eight two-storey family homes.

Full plans to redevelop an existing community centre on land between Central Parade West and Chertsey Crescent were first unveiled in February.

At the time, some locals claimed the centre could be a “smokescreen” for new housing. But during a five-month consultation period the council received just two objections.

Respondents said new homes were not needed in New Addington and feared the impact of the closure of the existing community centre during the work.

RELATED: Plans for £17.5m New Addington leisure centre in Central Parade West unveiled - but locals fears it could be a smokescreen for new homes

But Cllr Alison Butler, cabinet member for homes and regeneration, said: “It is a potential to bring forward a very small number of homes with their own utility space so that families can live at them.

“They fit very well, and I think improve the street theme where people would be looking at the back of a very flat leisure centre wall but it now makes it into a proper street with those homes there.”

She said the council would work with contractors to keep the community centre open during the development.

Cllr Butler added: “We have to go through the official procedures to get the contractors who will deliver the new centre and until we do that we can’t have the conversation about how much of the current community centre can stay open.

“But we do hope that part of it will remain open giving access to some of the groups that want to use it.”

Marion Burchell, who co-manages community group New Addington Pathfinders, said the group had previously worked with the council to ensure no housing was built on the site and was disappointed to see it included in the final plans.

She added: “We are excited about the new leisure centre and community space as these are much-needed and we believe will be well-received.

“However, Pathfinders worked with many local residents who believed the documentation from the council confirmed that there would be no housing connected to the regeneration on this site.

“Sadly the council have changed their minds.”

Ms Burchell added: “Once the building contractors have been selected we hope that the community centre and its users will still be able to access the main building while the demolition and rebuild continues.

“All provisions for young and old need to be protected and a break of up to two years will see some groups unable to re-start. Happily some of the groups affected have been found new homes.”

The plans will go before the planning committee on Thursday night and have been recommended for approval.