THE council has flatly denied reports that it is secretly negotiating to relocate facilities from the Pool and Track leisure centre to Walthamstow Stadium.

The Save Our Stow (SOS) group, which is fighting for the return of dog racing to the Chingford Road venue, claims town hall sources say there have been attempts to thrash out a deal between the authority and site owners London & Quadrant.

In an open letter to residents earlier this week, SOS challenged the council on the rumours.

Pool and Track in Chingford Road, Walthamstow, was listed on a secret council list of council-owned sites which could be sold off to raise money.

Millionaire dog racing fan Bob Morton failed in a recent bid to buy Walthamstow Stadium and reintroduce dog racing alongside housing.

Cllr Marie Pye, cabinet member for housing, and L&Q have both denied any negotiations about replacing Pool & Track facilities have taken place.

Cllr Pye said: "That has never even crossed my mind. I have not talked to anyone about that and no-one has approached me to talk about putting housing on the Pool and Track site either.

"My concern is that I want to see L&Q and Bob Morton to get together and have a conversation about the future of the stadium.

"We need to stop this soap opera of rival press releases and claims in public like this. With the imagination that some of these people have they should write a book."

Cllr Pye added that she was not aware of any immediate plans to close Pool and Track.

An L&Q spokeswoman said: "With regards to the Walthamstow Stadium site L&Q is not specifically considering a pool and/or track.

"We are considering a range of leisure uses and will be consulting residents on these proposals to ensure they meet local demand."

Barrie Clegg, of SOS, said: "Our sources are very well placed so somebody's not telling the truth.

"We sent Cllr Pye a letter of five simple questions and she has refused to answer any of them to us. Why refuse to answer if you haven't got anything to hide?

"Our concern is that the council is doing things behind the community's back with L&Q."

SOS asked Cllr Pye if she backed a bid to buy the stadium and return dog racing to it and whether the council had any discussions with L&Q prior to their purchase of the site.

The stadium closed in 2008 following a decline in visitor numbers.

Campaigners claim the decrease was due to a lack of investment.

L&Q has said that dog racing will not return to the site while the housing association owns it.

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