Children's court fight

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A group of children who were promised a new swimming pool for their neighbourhood and then learned that plans had been scrapped, are taking their local council to court over the matter.

Children and their families in Merton, south London, were looking forward to the new pool which was to be built in conjunction with a supermarket development for Sainsbury's, which owns the land.

The plans which were first published in 1988, promised "something for everyone" but the pool was never built.

A Sainsbury's spokeswoman said last night that the development was destined to be a small leisure complex. Planning consent was put in place nine years ago. The idea was to sweeten the impact of a shopping centre with benefits for the local residents. The pool was to be one of the amenities.

"In the intervening period, Merton waived the part of the consent," said the spokeswoman, which meant the pool did not have to be built after all.

The site is not to remain unused however. A bingo hall and a fast food restaurant are scheduled to be built.

The children, through their solicitor, Richard Stein, have got legal aid for their fight. Merton council could not be contacted last night but one councillor admitted to BBC's Nine O'Clock News that the original plans had not been well thought-through.