More than a year after Croydon’s mayor promised to reopen Purley Pool, he has admitted it would cost too much to do so.

Jason Perry has instead said the site will be redeveloped to build a new leisure centre as well as new homes, shops and a public square.

During his mayoral campaign leading up to the May 2022 elections, the reopening of the existing pool was a key pledge made by Mayor Perry.

The pool has been closed since March 2020 and thousands signed a petition to save it from permanent closure.

Before the election, the previous Labour administration agreed it would not reopen the pool, claiming it would cost £3million and instead said it would redevelop the site to include a new pool.

Before its closure the pool was running at a £150,000 a year loss, according to the council.

On Wednesday (June 14), Mayor Perry said long-term leaseholder of the site, Polaska, is preparing to submit plans for the regeneration of 50 Purley High Street.

Early plans include flats for older people and space for new shops.

The leisure centre would include a six-lane main pool, training pool, fitness studio and gym, as well as a soft play area and a café.

Polaska is also expected to include plans for a revamp of a neighbouring former Sainsbury’s building, a new public square and walkway to Purley Station.

Croydon Council said the construction of the new leisure centre would be funded by the rest of the development and the authority would run and operate the new facility.

Earlier this year, the council’s cabinet heard reopening the existing pool would cost £3.4m.

Leader of the Labour opposition, Councillor Stuart King said: “This is exactly the plan that Val Shawcross [Labour’s 2022 mayoral candidate] put forward.

"Mayor Perry’s pledge was very clear. He was going to open up the existing pool but he didn’t because he hadn’t properly thought through what was needed.

“We have said all along that the solution was a new facility as part of a wider redevelopment of the area which might take longer but would develop a much better facility.”

Mayor Perry said he has been “working hard” to bring back Purley Pool after its closure more than three years ago.

However, he admitted: “It is now clear that reopening the former pool would not be sustainable due to the extensive disrepair allowed by the previous administration.

"So we have been looking at different options.

"These are exciting proposals for modern leisure facilities, housing and a new public square in the heart of Purley town centre, which will help to revive the high street for everyone locally to enjoy.”

Public exhibitions on the emerging plans will be held on Tuesday, June 20 from 5-8pm, and Friday, June 23, from 4-7pm, at Christ Church in Purley.

There will also be a stall at Purley Fete on Saturday, June 24 from 12pm to 4pm.

For more information see the consultation website.