A plan to build a 'cheap and cheerful' temporary swimming pool has been rushed through in an attempt to secure votes, it has been claimed.
Labour's Wes Streeting criticised Redbridge Council's leadership for failing to find a long-term solution after proposing to purchase a second-hand Olympic training pool at a cost of up to £2million.
Redbridge currently has only one permanent swimming pool at Fullwell Cross Leisure Centre in Ilford, although a temporary pool has been set up in the grounds of Wanstead Leisure Centre in Redbridge Lane West for 12 weeks.
The new facility would be larger and in place for five years under the proposal, but Labour called for it to be withdrawn at a meeting of the full council last night, saying it did not represent value for money for taxpayers.
Cllr Wes Streeting, deputy leader of the Labour group, said: "If this proposal goes through we could be getting a short-term solution at the expense of something long-term which could be better.
“This has become an election issue and this proposal has been rushed out.”
But the council coalition leadership defended the proposal, saying a permanent solution, which would cost an initial £8million and £1million to maintain, was not affordable.
Deputy council leader, Liberal Democrat Ian Bond, said: "The proposal is what it is – cheap and cheerful – that is the whole point. It is cheap and we can afford it.
“I am pleased we have come up with something affordable.”
The report considered last night proposed an intial investment of £40,000 to find a site and create designs for the new pool.
Lib Dem Richard Hoskins called for cross-party unity on the issue in order to deliver the facility as soon as possible.
He said: “We need to put aside our differences and provide a swimming pool – we must come to a decision.
“Don’t worry about who will get the credit for it. We need a swimming pool – let’s combine together to get it.”
The Labour amendment was voted down by 36 votes to 20.
There are currently 1,000 children and adults on the waiting list for swimming lessons at Fullwell Cross.