A lack of crèches in the district's leisure centres has been called out as discriminatory by the Labour Party.

Led by chairwoman Angela Ayre and Women's Officer Kay Morrison, the district party has been campaigning to have baby care facilities installed in Waltham Abbey and Loughton leisure centres.

Despite one being newly built and the other recently refurbished, neither has crèche facilities.

While Epping Sports Centre does have a baby and young child care area, it is placed down a set of stairs that are difficult to navigate with a buggy.

Mrs Ayre said: "Mothers with buggies have to carry them downstairs, which is far from ideal and obviously shows that they were given little thought and no priority when the changes were planned. But at least there is a crèche.

"Incredibly, there are actually no crèches in either the newly refurbished Loughton Leisure Centre or the totally new Waltham Abbey Centre.

"This directly discriminates against women who are still the main child carers despite some advances.

"It is a retrograde step and disgraceful in the twenty-first century."

Mrs Ayre - who used a free crèche at Debden Hall when she exercised there in the 1980s - said such facilities should be more widespread in the district and free of use.

She added: "Clearly women are not seen as a priority by the Tory dominated Epping Forest Council."

The council was contacted for comment.