In 2010 The Conservative Council closed Yiewsley swimming pool, in Otterfield Road, just adjacent to Yiewsley recreation ground. A pool had been on that site since 1934. So after 76 years, the people of Yiewsley and West Drayton, lost their local swimming pool. The pool was subsequently demolished, and the land has laid empty ever since.
The Council have proposed a couple of development, one for a doctor’s surgery and another for low cost affordable and sheltered housing, but neither have come to fruition. However now, their current plans are to use the site for housing to be sold at market value, with the council gaining a substantial capital receipt.
The development proposed would be yet more blocks of flats, in an area where every piece of available land is being used to build yet more flats that no-one living locally can realistically afford to buy and live in. Meanwhile there is scant regard given to the community infrastructure needed to support all of the extra housing units.
Whilst I would like to see more affordable and social housing, I am a firm believer in the council’s role being one of maintaining, enhancing and creating homes and communities, rather than blocks of investment opportunities, that local people cant afford to live in. This means working in partnership with local residents and enabling the community infrastructure.
The land that the old Yiewsley pool sat on benefits from restrictive covenants, placed on the land by the old Yiewsley and West Drayton Urban District Council in the early 1920s. This restricts the use of the land to recreational uses only. Therefore, in order to build the investment opportunity housing, to generate a capital receipt for the council, the Conservative council are attempting to get those covenants removed.
I consider this to be wrong on many levels, and it is a very personal issue for me. My family has strong roots in the Yiewsley and West Drayton area. My grandfather was born in Stockley, my grandmother was born in Yiewsley and My dad was born in Pear Tree Avenue, Yiewsley. I was born in Hillingdon Hospital and have lived in Uxbridge all my life, so I am not just an elected Councillor, I am very much a local resident from a local family.
The councillors of the 1920s wanted to ensure that the land was used for the recreational benefit of the residents of Yiewsley, for ever, and I firmly believe that the current council should honour the covenants, rather than try to remove them. I therefore pledge my support to the campaigners that are campaigning against the removal of the covenants and the development of the site. If I were Leader of the council, I would be working in partnership with the residents to ensure that the land was put to an appropriate recreational use.