|Posted on Tuesday, 05 April, 2005 - 10:03 am: |
I've recently started using Forest Hill pool, does that place need some investment?? But, with some money spent on it, it could be amazing. I vaguely remember reading about a "Save the FH pool" group and wondered if anyone out there knows who they are and if there is a petition I can sign - or maybe something more proactive!?
|Posted on Tuesday, 05 April, 2005 - 12:31 pm: |
Restoring the pool in FH was one of the points made by the newly elected councillor in the recent election for FH. Hopefully something will get done soon as I agree could be a great pool as an amazing building.
|Posted on Tuesday, 05 April, 2005 - 03:02 pm: |
Actually the Pools have been under quite a lot of discussion with the current Council and Mayor for some time, well before the recent council election in FH ward. AIUI there is due to be a public consultation within the local community and pools users (schools etc) to their views. A number of ideas I have heard bound about are - investment to retain the pools as a centrepiece of the community and preserve the building. Capital investment to knock down the pools and rebuild them. Again I have only heard these things on the grapevine. So i'm sure if it does go to public consultation members on here will be able to have their say and make a difference for the community in the future. I for one think whatever happens, investment is welcome and a new state of the art gym & pools would get my backing and untimately my money (which I stupidly pay out to a private gym currently) if that be in the current building or a brand new one on that site, I am undecided upon at this stage!
Perhaps the Cllrs who view the site can give us some more info
Hope my few pence worth helps you all.Sorry if any of the stuff I have posted aint 100% right!
|Posted on Tuesday, 05 April, 2005 - 03:48 pm: |
Hi - please see below article from the South London Press, published on 29 March 05. Hope this helps.
THERE are plans for major investment in a new swimming pool and a public consultation into the future of another.
Deptford looks set to get a 25m pool alongside the existing fun pool at Wavelengths in Giffin Street.
Lewisham Mayor Steve Bullock told the South London Press: "I have been able to identify a way of doing that fairly quickly. We would fund it from the council's capital programme.
"The leisure pool gets a lot of use, but there is a whole other group of people who like to swim straight up and down in lengths.
"The new pool would be for them."
Forest Hill Pools in Dartmouth Road is to be the subject of a consultation to find out what residents and swimmers want to happen to them.
Mr Bullock said he remained committed to keeping swimming facilities in Forest Hill but it was up to the public to say what was needed.
He said: "There is a choice between refurbishing the current pool - and that will have the upside that it can be done relatively quickly and keeps the building.
"But nevertheless it's still quite an old facility and it's never going to be like a modern pool.
"Or we could replace it with a new pool but if we did that we would lose the building."
Any plan to demolish the 120-year-old pools would come up against fierce opposition from campaigners who want to see them restored to their original glory.
The idea for Wavelengths is to include it in a master plan of the Deptford town centre and Giffin Street area, and carry out a feasibility study.
The proposals for change follow a review of investment into Lewisham's leisure facilities, carried out by a private consultant.
The findings, contained in a document called Physical Activity Sports and Leisure Strategy 2005-10, will be presented to the Mayor and cabinet committee on Wednesday next week.
The Forest Hill consultation is expected to start in June and the results considered in the autumn.
Mr Bullock said a report about the development of leisure in Deptford would also be considered at that time.
|Posted on Tuesday, 05 April, 2005 - 04:44 pm: |
Adam and Rob are correct. There will be consultation on the future of the Pools as to what activities local residents would like, and how these would be best provided (eg new build or renovation). Incidentally, this will form part of an overall leisure fitness strategy in Lewisham which, leaving aside Forest HIll, includes two new all purpose leisure centres, two or three smaller leisure centres and a new pool in Deptford.
|Posted on Tuesday, 05 April, 2005 - 04:54 pm: |
Thanks for all your responses, good to see that there is so much already happening.
I'd hate for the original building to be lost as it is lovely, I'm sure it could be sympathetically restored/extended. In addition to that no doubt with the changing demograph in the area we'll be getting an over priced LA Fitness type gym quite soon (and a Pizza Express and a specialist supplier of sun-blushed tomatoes)
I'll have to ensure that I'm very vocal during the consultation, no hardship for me ;-)
|Posted on Tuesday, 05 April, 2005 - 05:13 pm: |
The building, whilst in need of much-needed renovation, is part of the community's heritage. I am therefore shocked that demolition could be even considered.
If renovation of the building does not allow the framework for an all purpose leisure centre, the only other option could be to keep the front facade, as they did in Manchester's Deansgate, and re-build behind it.
Keeping the pool on that site also ensures that much-needed investment ripples out to nearby businesses.
|Posted on Tuesday, 05 April, 2005 - 06:25 pm: |
The building is nice yes, but it all comes down to what is feasable. I think it fantastic that our local Labour Councillors and the local govt at the town hall have decided to put it out to consultation.
On a seperate note, we all agree the building is nice and needs much needed investment, but who acutally can put their name forward to being a regular user of the facilities? If it was refurbished or rebuilt who would use the facilities more than 3 times a month or use the swimming pools. I would be very interested in the responses. I suggest the number of people who use the pools is only a small minority of FH residents. And before anyone asks, I don't use the facilities at the moment, but would certainly consider it when the refurb is complete. I'd much rather give my money back to the local authority than to my private gym.
|Posted on Tuesday, 05 April, 2005 - 10:28 pm: |
I have been going to forest hill swimming since I was 6 years old now 30! and its a major part of the area, I would hate for it to ripped down. currently I am a member at Goose Green Gym and Swimming Baths in East Dulwich its run by a company called Fusion who it would appear seem to take over a lot of the old lesiure facilities, perhaps this is a possibility for Forest Hill Swimming Baths rather than knocking down a major piece of Forest Hill History?
|Posted on Wednesday, 06 April, 2005 - 08:17 am: |
AIUI Pippa, Fusion as a company have contracts in Southwark and Lambeth for leisure facilities. Same as Lewisham have Parkwood Leisure who also operate in Croydon and Bexleyheath to name but a few local authorities. Fusion have done a good job inside Goose Green, but I know there are still major headaches re the building, the other gripe is the appauling parking around there too, so I think this is probably a universal problem with older leisure centres. But thanks for commenting that you use the facilities on a regular basis, thats one so far! Which facility do you use more? Fusion or FH pools?
|Posted on Wednesday, 06 April, 2005 - 09:28 am: |
I love the pool but will freely admit I don't use them since I joined a private gym and the only reason is that the pool at my gym is bright and modern. It would be a shame to see the building torn down though if it were feasible to at least retain the facade.
The problem with the interior as it is is that it looks and feels very dingy.
|Posted on Wednesday, 06 April, 2005 - 09:46 am: |
Bosco, it would appear you echo my exact words and i'm sure we are both not alone. The private gyms have the facilites and staff, I'm more than sure the new FH pools, allbeit in a new building or the existing one will be able to match that. Would you consider swapping your LA Fitness/Holmes Place/Fitness First type membership for the local leisure centre one though?
|Posted on Wednesday, 06 April, 2005 - 09:58 am: |
I would use the place frequently but for the fatc that it is quite grotty. You have to walk along the poolside in your outdoor shoes to get to the changing.
The cynic in me fears that the council have failed to spend the money required on maintaining and updating it; numbers using the place have thus fallen and the council will then hold this up as evidence that the facility is under-used and could be closed.
|Posted on Wednesday, 06 April, 2005 - 10:44 am: |
I started using the pool about 2 years ago. At first, the grottiness did put me off, but does not really bother me now. But yes, it needs some work.
The actual size of the site I though would give many refurb possibilities. There's a lot of land on the sides that isn't really used, so why not retain the existing front and pools, and then include proper gym / changing rooms / showers by extending the sides. Perhaps the entrance could me moved so no walking along the side?
BTW, if anyone from the pool reads this, can you please start putting at least a lane in. Given that most kids have zero awareness of anyone around them, it can get a little boring doing 3/4 lengths and then having to stop.
|Posted on Wednesday, 06 April, 2005 - 11:14 am: |
I try and use the pool at least once a week but work sometimes restricts that but it is usually busy at the weekends and during the week they seem to have a large amount of time booked out for schools and clubs. Agree with Hilltop that council could use falling numbers in defense of selling site when numbers are due to poor maintenance.
|Posted on Wednesday, 06 April, 2005 - 11:28 am: |
The simple fact is, the number of people taking up swimming is falling and has done for about a decade. I remember when swimming was on the curriculum, but swimming was only offered to people in my school who could swim under 25 meters. Swimming is a fantastic way of getting fit and boosting the body, but swimming now is seen as a horse play type sport by younger generations, hence the post about kids getting in the way when people want to swim lengths.
Also facilities like the Water Palace in Croydon attracted many more people, including me, because they had lots of water slides, tidal pools, lengths pool and rubber rings, combined with lots of free parking and a restaurant made the water palace the ideal place to spend a day.
The issue goes a lot wider than SE23, it is happening to pools up and down the country!
Let’s be positive that we are going to see much needed and welcome investment into a great part of Forest Hill.
|Posted on Wednesday, 06 April, 2005 - 02:54 pm: |
As far as I can discern, the council has yet to make any commitments to investment.
|Posted on Wednesday, 06 April, 2005 - 03:16 pm: |
Well if the public opinion is as strong as it is on this site, there is a lot of local support for the pools, the council and our local councillors know that. Either way its a positive way forward.
Hilltop you said you 'would' use the facilities, does that mean you don't at present?
|Posted on Wednesday, 06 April, 2005 - 10:34 pm: |
It could be a lovely pool with regards to aesthetics but will never be attractive with regards to facilities.
Use it occasionally because it is local but
most people I know, particularly with kids go to Beckenham, Peckham or the Bridge.
Unless places are listed we don't have a culture of saving old buildings, the area being devastated particularly during 60s 70s redevelopment. But then when I grew up then we thought old buildings were ugly and should be knocked down and modernised.
I'd love it to be restored, don't know who'd pay for it that's all. This is a message of support!
|Posted on Thursday, 07 April, 2005 - 12:17 am: |
No, don't use it at the moment (as it is a it grotty) but would if it were improved. Suspect the same applies to a lot of people.
I'm not too pernickety I should add - I go to a council one near work rather than Holmes Place or whatever.
|Posted on Thursday, 07 April, 2005 - 07:37 am: |
Hilltop, it seems that this is common place. I guess in the consultation process people need to make the council aware what facilities they would like and would actually use, rather than just saying they want to preserve the building but the facilties that might be on offer dont meet their needs.
|Posted on Thursday, 07 April, 2005 - 05:23 pm: |
Hilltop, the pool isn't 'grotty'. Yes, it could do with a makeover but it has got all the basic needs for people who want to have a swim i.e an oblong shaped hole filled with chlorinated water. It's no frills and it's definitley not somewhere to go and chill-out but as a means to perform the act of swimming - it does the job just fine.
|Posted on Thursday, 07 April, 2005 - 09:14 pm: |
Swimming there looking at the rusting steel and the assortment of ugly tiles I would say it is grotty and this does affect the experience. But I tend to look at it as what it did or could look like - particularly bearing in mind the Manchester baths that were being done up by the renovation programme. I also think "how can this make any money" with only a dozen of us in the place.
|Posted on Saturday, 09 April, 2005 - 04:03 pm: |
I use the pool regularly and it is a bit dilapidated but I'd much rather see it sympathetically restored than replaced.
You sort of get used to it after a while and the pools are fine and do the job. A coat of fresh paint and some improvement to the shower facilities would make a big difference.
|Posted on Saturday, 09 April, 2005 - 07:02 pm: |
If the pools are refurbished I hope they do something with the showers. The last time I used the pool the shower area was at the poolside and the changing rooms were freezing and dirty. I also don't think walking along the pool side in outside shoes is very hygenic!
|Posted on Sunday, 10 April, 2005 - 12:04 am: |
Yes it's true they need to improve the hygiene. I'm also a regular user of Acton pool and there you have to put these plastic covers over your shoes before you enter the pool area.
|Posted on Sunday, 10 April, 2005 - 02:43 am: |
Just read through all the messages and I use FH pool 3 or 4 times a week and see plenty of other people doing the same. My experience is that it's popular and well-used by the locals.
I am also surprised that demolition could be even considered for such a historic building and I'll lend my full support for restoration.
We need more showers, a thorough internal painting and decorating job plus the toilet fixtures and fittings need an update. This is the less expensive option and shouldn't take too long to complete.
|Posted on Monday, 11 April, 2005 - 11:08 am: |
Taken from the 6 April 2005 council notes (found at http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/CouncilMeetings/Committ ees_post0502/MayorAndCabinet/documents/Apr2005/myr _cab_ag_6apr05.doc
Page 76 onwards "It is recommended that the consultation be as extensive as possible, allowing as many residents and local schools to participate as wish. A consultation plan will be drawn up and ready to commence from June, 2005, should the recommendation to move to consultation be agreed. The Council would then be able to consider long term leisure provision in Forest Hill in the Autumn of 2005."
|Posted on Monday, 11 April, 2005 - 11:30 pm: |
My small boys love it - but then they havn't been swimming anywhere else so they have nothing to compare it to. Personally I have a problem with all swimming pools - overdose of chlorine and shared wee wee - so Forest Hill is no different from any other.
As for the library next door - what a nice place that is, and you don't feel the need for plastic covers on your shoes to go in there !
|Posted on Tuesday, 12 April, 2005 - 08:34 am: |
Small note on the chlorine - if you have a quick rinse from the (conveniently located) poolside shower, there are less germs on your body when you get in the pool. That means that the staff have to put in less chlorine.
So join the dots....
|Posted on Tuesday, 12 April, 2005 - 09:47 pm: |
Who was asking about the chlorine specifically?
I always use the shower before I get in. The main problem is people bringing in dirt from outside on their shoes. See my note on Acton pool.
|Posted on Wednesday, 13 April, 2005 - 09:59 am: |
I quote from Bigjulie, "overdose of chlorine and shared wee wee."
Well done for using the shower, very very few people do. If swimmers did, then less chlorine would have to be used. And, yes, walking down the side of the pool can hardly help!
|Posted on Thursday, 14 April, 2005 - 12:26 am: |
Yes PVP, that's true...and I'm sure those elasticated plastic things you put over your shoes can't cost that much. The council could buy them in bulk.
|Posted on Thursday, 25 August, 2005 - 02:52 pm: |
What is happening about the consultation? I haven't seen anything.
I went for a swim today after a gap of several years. Unfortunately I now remember why I stopped going. It had little to do with the dilapidated state, as this can actually be charming. Look at some of the baths and spas in Eastern Europe, and the Marshall St baths in Soho.
It's because it (still) is unclean and the reception and lifeguard staff are unfailingly surly.
By unclean I mean dirty tissues and human detritus in the changing rooms. The floor was filthy . Regular wash downs would help give a sense of cleanliness instead of grot. When I was just by the side of the pool a woman just about to get in bent down and removed a sticking plaster from a cut, and left it by the side of the pool! Unbelievable.
I'd hate for a lot of money to be spent on this pool only for some people to ruin it by their unclean habits reinforced by lacksadaisical management. Other countries are sticklers for public health and would never dream of letting people walk through a pool area in shoes. They insist on everyone showering before they swim, and in Spain, Germany . Switzerland and Iceland everyone has to wear swimming caps. I was ordered out of a pool in Barcelona a few years ago for not having a cap.
This requires policing and is accepted by the public in those countries. It seems its not the British way. I'm also a member of JAGS sports club in Dulwich. and found this little better- this is an expensive private health club at a top private school. The changing rooms are just toilets. The management there seemed to think they'd upset the membership if they asked them to remove and store their shoes.
If the Forest Hill pools get a facelift, please can this be reinforced by enlightened management techniques......
|Posted on Friday, 26 August, 2005 - 12:35 pm: |
Roz, I agree but it's not all the fault of the staff. I think they do need to enforce a few more health and safety rules though. This isn't very pleasant but I recently went to use the only women's private shower cubicle at FH and it was clear that the person before me had urinated in it. Nice.
FH Pool is run down and imperfect but I used it because I don't want to give the council an excuse to shut it down. Also I experienced the Clissold Leisure centre debacle at close hand in Stoke Newington and I worry that the same thing could happen here if the FH pools is demolished. It needs a serious upgrade but after years of general neglect the problem has been made worse than was necessary.
|Posted on Friday, 26 August, 2005 - 03:47 pm: |
Roz - slightly off topic, but I'm a member of JAGS too and I have to disagree with you on a number of points - it's not an expensive private health club! Anyone who thinks that being charged approx £35 a month for the use of a gym, swimming pool, tennis, squash and a variety of other facilities is expensive is living in dream land! As far as I am aware, and I am happy to be corrected, many local authority gyms charge around that kind of money for much less - the reason JAGS is relatively cheap compared to other private gyms is because in term time you can only use it out of school hours.
While I agree that the attitude of the staff at reception leaves a lot to be desired I don't follow most of your other comments - the changing rooms being toilets - what changing room are you using?? Equally, what are you talking about in respect of shoes - I have never seen anyone walking on to the pool area wearing shoes - pool shoes, yes, but not normal shoes. many people have flip flops that they use specifically to wear at a pool so they don't pick up verucas from the pool area.
|Posted on Saturday, 27 August, 2005 - 02:44 pm: |
There is one surly member of staff at FH pools - who is easy to spot, having a permanently annoyed look. The rest of them are really nice and do a difficult job in a run-down environment. The manager seems like a really nice bloke too. It needs more than a few coats of paint in there though...would be interested to hear more about this public consultation.
|Posted on Tuesday, 30 August, 2005 - 04:15 pm: |
Have to agree with Seeformiles here. When I became a member the manager agreed to wait until 9pm and gave me a tour of the pool and gym and is always pleasant when I go in nowadays.
|Posted on Saturday, 03 September, 2005 - 12:47 am: |
Quick question about Jags: I was told it's an ozone treated pool, is this true? My skin is suffering badly from exposure to chlorine and I'm desperate to find an affordable alternative.
|Posted on Saturday, 03 September, 2005 - 06:37 am: |
Don't know, Seeformiles - suggest that you look at their website or give them a call.
It certainly doesn't smell of chlorine ( just other things) so may be thats the case.
Good luck. May see you in there, as I am thinking of going for an early swim....
|Posted on Sunday, 18 September, 2005 - 04:20 pm: |
I have fond memories of the old pools.
Learnt to swin about 1957 and went reg with schools etc.
True your clothes usually ended up as wet as you because of the close proximity of the pools of the changing huts ( not sure what you would call then ). But served us well.
|Posted on Sunday, 18 September, 2005 - 06:13 pm: |
The pools are on the agenda for the Forest Hill Steering Group meeting on 22nd September. Hope everyone who expressed comments on this site will come along to this and lend support. They are great if underutilised asset for Forest Hill.
|Posted on Wednesday, 21 September, 2005 - 07:56 pm: |
Please read the latest news about our Pools on LondonPoolsCampaign.com before tomorrow night’s Steering Group.
|Posted on Wednesday, 28 September, 2005 - 09:25 am: |
There's a link on the Lewisham Council website to the consultation about the pools and the public meeting with the Mayor on 5 October at 7.30 at Sydenham Girls School.
|Posted on Thursday, 29 September, 2005 - 02:06 pm: |
We had a thorough presentation and comprehensive discussion about the consultation process and investment plans for Forest Hill Pools from Lewisham's Executive Director of Community Services at the recent Forest Hill Steering Group meeting on 22/9/05. Both myself, as chair of the group, and Cllr Whiting spoke and received residents' views on this important local issue. If any of the posters to this site were there under their real names, thanks very much for attending. The consultation leaflet on the two investment options goes out to Forest Hill, Perry Vale and Sydenham ward residents very soon, and the Mayor has arranged two public meetings on the subject for the 5th and 27th of October at 7.30pm at Sydenham Girls' School, Dartmouth Road. Can I also urge everyone to return their consultation leaflets, as Lewisham Council will donate 5p per leaflet to the Lavender Trust,the charity that supports young women with breast cancer? Many thanks in advance for doing so.
|Posted on Thursday, 29 September, 2005 - 02:26 pm: |
So did anyone go last night and what was the general view?
|Posted on Friday, 30 September, 2005 - 12:55 pm: |
Found this article:
Push and pool Sep 28 2005
By Keely Sherbird, The Mercury
THE long-awaited consultation into the future of Forest Hill Pools has presented just TWO options to the public.
The first is to refurbish the 120-year-old Victorian baths, which Lewisham council estimates would add at least 10 years to their lifespan.
The other option is to demolish them and rebuild one of the two 25m pools, which the council said would last up to 60 years. It is said that both choices would cost £4.1million.
Next Wednesday, Lewisham Mayor Steve Bullock will chair the first of two public meetings at Sydenham Girls' School, Dartmouth Road, to hear the views of the community at 7.30pm.
But Kristine Taylor, of the Friends of Forest Hill Pools, which led a campaign in 1996 to save them from closure, said the council was trying to steer the public towards a rebuild.
She said: "No proper plans have been produced for either options."
She suggested a better option would have been to involve English Heritage and architects to draw up plans to regenerate the whole site.
Philip Peake, Lib Dem councillor for Forest Hill, said: "I'm very disappointed that there are only two options. The mayor had been saying very publicly that he had a completely open mind and it was up to the community to say what they wanted on the site."
He said he was annoyed the consultation, originally scheduled to start in June, was to be held over a shorter time than expected.
Mr Bullock said: "We want to hear whether people want to keep the building or whether they would like to see a new one. That is the big choice - there has only ever been two options."
He added that the consultation was delayed to ensure the council had all the background information. l What do you think about the proposals? Write to The Mercury at 2-4 Leigham Court Road, Streatham SW16 2PD or email firstname.lastname@example.org
|Posted on Friday, 30 September, 2005 - 04:45 pm: |
Grateful to Councillor Wise, and others, for giving this matter some coverage in the Forum.
So far the promised consultation leaflets haven't reached all potentially interested residents - at least they haven't reached Allenby Road where I live.
If nothing else the Council have narrowed down the options facing residents - re-build or renovation - thus focussing the debate.
Against that background, I think a key questions is this.
If a majority of residents favour renovation, is that the option that the Council will pursue, regardless of its own preferences?
Perhaps our Forest Hill councillors will answer the question.
|Posted on Friday, 30 September, 2005 - 07:00 pm: |
Called in at Forest Hill Pools today - no "consultation" leaflets there, and none have been delivered, although the "consultation" was due to start last weeekend.
There is a poster advertising Mayor's meeting at Sydenham School on Wednesday 5 October at 7.30pm.
Everyone interested in the future of the pools had better turn up next Wednesday evening to learn the Council's plans.
With the problems at Downham and Ladywell Leisure Centres, the Council's "options" for Forest Hill will need very close scrutiny.
|Posted on Saturday, 01 October, 2005 - 01:15 am: |
If you look at Domc's post on 11th April, it announces a consultation commencing in April, and the council minutes themselves recommend an extensive consultation process. If a decision is to be made this autumn, ( aren't we there already) it is not acceptable to start consultation in October. This is a breach of policy and probably some other things- is there not a stipulated consultation period somewhere for such things?
We have also not had any leaflets so how do we return them? This is appalling. A badly advertised meeting at a school on 5th October does not constitute adequate consultation.
The Council's decision to present two options only in this way is a clear strategic move aimed at manoeuvreing to get the decision it wants- if its even a decision - its a closed question rather than an open ended one as to what people think should be on this site- the latter is recognised as good practice in regeneration. The first is not.
Any plans for the pools should really address the issue of that whole site as someone has already said, not just the pools.
Presentation is everything. Essentially the council are saying, here we can spend £4.1 million on two options which have surprise surprise come out at exactly the same ( what a coincidence). Option A lasts 60 years, option B lasts 10. There is no real choice here in economic terms- it is not economically viable to spend £4.1 million to secure a 10 year life, nor would the Audit Commission support this. No one is realistically going to stand up and opt for option B. However, the question is still phrased oddly, as I doubt whether they ever asked a consultant to produce an estimate for a 10 year life.
Its just a tailored exercise to secure the Councils desired outcome of a rebuild whilst doing a control job on the electorate.
|Posted on Saturday, 01 October, 2005 - 01:08 pm: |
The Forest Hill pools consultation leaflets will be distributed to residents this weekend.
As my previous posting said, the Mayor will be holding TWO public meetings on this important issue.I hope that this will give all those who post on this website the opportunity to put their questions to the Mayor. If you cannot attend, then please ensure that you return your consultation leaflet.
|Posted on Saturday, 01 October, 2005 - 05:38 pm: |
I share some of Roz's concerns about the consultation process but (unusually for me) I am not entirely sceptical about the Council's intentions in presenting two options only.
Had the Council consulted on an entirely open-ended basis of "tell us what you think", with no pre-conceived view of their own, then it's pretty clear that they would have been presented with a diverse range of opinions. No clear "winner" might have emerged and in such circumstances it would be far easier for the Council, politically, to proceed with its own preferred scheme.
What we now have are two relatively straightforward options, which makes it far more likely that a clear "winner" will emerge. Having consulted on the basis of two options only then that will make it extremely difficult for the Council, especially so close to local elections, to proceed with an option that is not preferred by residents.
On a point of detail, Option 1 in the leaflet is the retain/re-furb option. Neither of the options as described in the leaflet (at least the one that I have down-loaded) have attached to to them a life span. That re-inforces my tentative view that the Council's consultation is genuine. In any case, I really don't think that the Council would be so cynical as to advance an option (retain/re-furb) that it knew would not pass muster if scrutinized by an external body such as the Audit Commission. On another point of detail, the Mercury report suggests that the retain/re-furb option would last for at least 10 years. I think the "at least", if reported correctly, is important.
I return to the question in my post of 30 September.
I address it to our Forest Hill Councillors - Councillor Susan Wise, Councillor Dave Whiting, Councillor Philip Peake -
If a majority of residents favour the retain/re-furb option will the Council adopt that option as its policy?
And an additional question. If a majority favour the retain/re-furb option, will our Forest Hill councillors support the adoption of that option by the Council ?
|Posted on Sunday, 02 October, 2005 - 05:47 pm: |
Would someone please explain something to me?
These pools, even in a neglected state have managed to last 120 years so far and are still functional. So...why would a full upgrade and renovation only add another 10 years? This sounds a bit odd to me, and makes me suspect we're going to be 'persuaded' into accepting the demolition option. Or maybe I'm just being cynical?
|Posted on Sunday, 02 October, 2005 - 07:14 pm: |
Is it just me, or does anyone else see the parallels to be drawn between this thread, and the one concerning itself with the traffic calming proposals for Perry Vale North.
Hello, is anyone from LBL listening?
|Posted on Monday, 03 October, 2005 - 07:30 am: |
A major renovation that would cost as much as a new pool and only last 10 years.
Someone is cooking the figures. This cannot make sense.
|Posted on Monday, 03 October, 2005 - 10:24 am: |
Two days before the consultation meeting and no leaflet received here yet either. What is the point of a consultation meeting that very few can be aware of and even fewer adequately briefed?
Incompetence or malevolence?
The council's record on communication does give credence to the former. I really object as a council taxpayer for having to fund consultations that do not achieve their stated aims.
I have to deal with the council often in many facets. I'm sure like other people I find some employees & councillors excellent, others adequate. But a significant number are, to put it kindly, deadwood. What surprises me is that the latter are allowed to continue spending money to no effect. They damage the credibility of the council and, in doing so, damage the work of the good people and the pockets of the residents.
Get a grip councillors - please.
|Posted on Monday, 03 October, 2005 - 02:51 pm: |
I too find it hard to believe the council's figures. Why will it cost £4 million to renovate the place while rebuilding the whole thing from scratch would cost £4.7 million? It's good that the council aren't scrapping the pool altogether but the proposals are heavily weighted towards building a new one, which I think would be a shame. The interior certainly needs some TLC, but the pools are a good size and having two under one roof means one is always open to the public The new proposal would mean we lose one of the pools. I have just been onto lewisham.gov.uk where you can vote on the proposal you want so would urge anyone else interested to give their views through the website.
|Posted on Monday, 03 October, 2005 - 03:53 pm: |
I have also not received the promised consultation details, and neither has anyone in my street.
|Posted on Monday, 03 October, 2005 - 04:12 pm: |
I use FH pool regularly, but I also use a pool in West London which has to cater for everyone in just one pool. It's bigger than the Forest Hill main pool but it struggles to cope with the demands of after school swimming clubs, scuba divers, canoeists and adult lane swimmers.
I can tell you without hesitation it is impossible to have a relaxing swim in peace and quiet there because you have to share the pool with crowds of very noisy kids and as a result, neither the children or the regular swimmers get the space they need. We must bear in mind how the loss of one of the pools will affect us. In my opinion as a regular user - we need two pools.
|Posted on Tuesday, 04 October, 2005 - 03:03 pm: |
There are TWO public meetings being held to consult on this important local issue.They are the 5th and the 27th of October 2005. Both to be held at Sydenham Girls' School Dartmouth Road and starting at 7.30pm. It is also possible to pick up feedback forms at Lewisham's libraries and leisure centres. And under the "Have your Say" section on Lewisham Council's website homepage www.lewisham.gov.uk there is the option to fill in the consultation survey online. The consultation is taking place until the 25th November 2005.
|Posted on Tuesday, 04 October, 2005 - 03:35 pm: |
I haven't been into FH Pools today, but as of yesterday afternoon there were no forms at the Leisure Centre.
Staff were vague about the consultation process but pointed to a poster advising of the 5 October meeting in one dark corner and a pile of posters on a leaflet table in another dark corner.
|Posted on Wednesday, 05 October, 2005 - 09:29 pm: |
Councillors , you are clearly paying someone to carry out a consultation exercise which is not happening! We could not attend the meeting today but will try and attend the one on 27th- however things really do need to improve vis a vis consultation, as this really is a bit of a sham.
|Posted on Thursday, 06 October, 2005 - 10:50 pm: |
I've posted a report of the meeting here:
I hope it is a fair representation of the meeting. Please do give feedback here if I have misconstrued or left out anything significant. I'm awaiting contributions from our councillors. This is a crucial decision and the issue for us all is being fully and properly informed on the detail...
|Posted on Friday, 07 October, 2005 - 05:40 pm: |
Tried to fill out the online response form at the Lewisham council website but there appears to be a bug on the system and yesterday it wouldn't save my details. I will be attending the meeting on the 27th anyway...
|Posted on Sunday, 16 October, 2005 - 01:04 pm: |
I started to fill the form up until I noticed the usual PC questions about my ethnic origin.
What has that got to do with the question.
Citizen Residing in Boro Of Lewisham since 1949.
|Posted on Wednesday, 19 October, 2005 - 06:50 am: |
Filling in the PC questions is voluntary. The Council's stance that it enables them to target stuff is a load of ****. We are all entitled to the basic things that the Council provides and I can't see why ethnicity should make any difference to this.
|Posted on Wednesday, 19 October, 2005 - 09:42 am: |
I think it is clear on the form that 'The following information will be used for monitoring purposes only and will assist us to ensure that our consultations involve all sectors of the community.'
This is added to all consultations, no matter what the subject, I believe this is a statutory duty of the local authority when conducting surveys.
All council tax payers should be able to use the facilities and these questions are useful to highlight concerns of any sizable minorities in the local area and safeguard against deliberate or unintentional discrimination.
It is a shame that none of the local councillors saw fit to defend equal opportunities, but perhaps they did not want to get into a heated debate on this important but tangential topic.
Personally I think a new building would be a good idea. The council's attempts to patch-up this building over the last thirty years have clearly left us with a building that is no longer fit for purpose in the 21st century. A brand new building would be a great idea and fix some of the design faults that the Victorians could not have been expected to foresee. To those who feel this is destroying an historic building, I would argue that it is not actually a very nice building, unlike the library next door - which is lovely.
|Posted on Wednesday, 19 October, 2005 - 09:55 am: |
On the whole I agree with you Michael - I haven't yet completed the questionnaire as I have had trouble making my mind up - I think in the end I will come down on the side of a new building as I think fitness for purpose is what really matters in this regard.
|Posted on Wednesday, 19 October, 2005 - 10:29 am: |
I was intending to post on the question of the ethnic category question, and what you say is correct.
In our society, everyone should have an equal right to the benefits and duties of the citizen. When we analyse use by ethnic origin or gender we find different patterns of use of facilities by group. This may or may not be a bad thing in many cases - it may just be a matter of choice which may be exercised differently by different groups (I am talking about statistical probability, not prescription). However, in many cases it will not result from collective choice, but from other factors which may deter or bar different groups from participation. We need to deal with those factors. My cabinet portfolio in Lewisham covers human resources. We monitor recruitment and promotion carefully to see whether we have the mix of gender and ethnic origin that would be expected in a borough with a diverse population. We also make it clear that opportunities in Lewisham are open to everyone. This is not a case of special deals for any group. It is a matter of ensuring that every employee is able to achieve their full potential - something from which we all gain.
With public facilities, it is essential to engage everyone and, as Michael puts it, 'safeguard against deliberate or unintentional deliberation' - the latter is, in fact, the most likely.
So far as leisure centres are concerned, there are several issues which have implications for equality. An obvious one is disabled access. Others surround the question of personal modesty. Some gyms were designed with glass walls to weight rooms or studios, so that passersby or other users might look in. Very good if you're fit, lithe and lean, but not so enticing if you are overweight, new to exercise, or have religious or cultural views.
There are also obvious differences between age groups in the type of exercise which is preferred or possible.
Another point on the equalities approach is that it should promote a sensitive approach to observing behaviour and designing services for everyone.
And, Michael, you are right, we now have a statutory duty to promote racial harmony, but most of what we do we would do anyway, because we think it's a good idea.
|Posted on Wednesday, 19 October, 2005 - 02:00 pm: |
The only thing that makes me think twice about the demolition/newbuild route is that I despair of recent planning decisions made by Lewisham which has allowed some real monstrosities to be constructed. I am not usually fussy, but I can tell dreadful design and detailing from good. The upvc 'thing' on Devonshire Road is a prime example of ' dreadful' and really should not have been let out the door of Laurence House. I won't start on Laurence House itself as you will all fall asleep, but hopefully you get the gist. There is so much in the public domain these days about design, ie CABE that this really is no excuse for further abominations in this borough.
Recent examples of ' not so good' is the new front facade of the Horniman extension. Very bland and not in keeping with the rest of the site. This was also provided without any heating. I know, I attended art classes there last year, and what a surprise- they had to bring in lots of plug in radiators as no heating supply.Come on.?
The new leisure centre in Hackney ( think it was called Clissold?) apparently closed the day after opening due to design faults .I am not sure if it ever opened again.
If this new pool is to be a newbuild job, then I would like some guarantees that as well as providing a building fit for purpose, low lifetime costs, etc, attention is paid to good design with good materials. With good planning and project management, this need not significantly add to the costs.
I would like to propose that a group be formed to support the pool redevelopment, and that membership of this is open to all local people, with the objective of assessing and commenting on the proposals at each stage.
|Posted on Friday, 21 October, 2005 - 12:45 pm: |
I am definitely wary of the demolition option. I used to live in Stoke Newington when big promises were made by Hackney council about how fantastic the new Clissold Leisure Centre would be, how it would meet the local community's requirements etc. The whole thing was (and I believe still is) a disaster. A new building also means we lose one of the pools - I've explained elsewhere from recent experience why I think this would be a bad thing.
We have a building that has been neglected - but it's still reliable in spite of that. So I don't think that's reason enough to knock it down. With the right investment it would be transformed.
|Posted on Friday, 21 October, 2005 - 06:57 pm: |
Does anyone else share my concern about the way the consultation document for the Forest Hill pool refurbishment was presented? It appears to heavily bias respondents to go for the brand-new facility option by showing the advantages to heavily out-way the disadvantages. Also, the fact that the new facility would involve the complete demolition of the existing building, which is one of Forest Hill’s most architecturally unique features, was not made clear in the questionnaire. I think that it was significant that the consultation document only showed the run-down interior of the pool with no images of the façade. Many locals may well not recognise the shabby interior, but I’m sure more people would oppose the redevelopment by demolition if the exterior of the building had been shown in the leaflet.
We have lost so many of our most outstanding buildings; we have something that is more like a Portacabin than a train station, have seen Victorian churches demolished and have recently lost the character of our main high street due to the expansion of Sainsbury’s. We must remember that demolishing a building like this to accommodate something more suited to an out-of-town development would be destructive to the character of what remains of our community.
For those who feel the existing building is not that attractive and cite the Library building as an example of beautiful Victorian architecture, what is there to say that this building will not be on the next set of plans for demolition and redevelopment? We need to address the erosion of the character of our community before we have nothing left to destroy.
Also, it seems interesting to me that most of those in this forum who support the redevelopment option already state that they have alternative swimming pool provision. Why do they need a carbon copy here in Forest Hill? Surely what we need is diversity if we are to have a choice. Destruction of this building impacts on the whole community, not just users of the pool. It is time for us to start defending the aspects of Forest Hill that make it distinctive.
|Posted on Saturday, 22 October, 2005 - 12:10 pm: |
As there is so passion about the subject and interest in doing the ' right thing' by Forest Hill and the pool, shall we set up a group to get together and discuss this issue, and to formalise it as a formal amenity/consultation group? Please say aye or nay. Aye, preferably. Any chance our wonderful webmaster could assist us in some way?
|Posted on Saturday, 22 October, 2005 - 02:57 pm: |
I'm in, along with at least three other Forest Hill residents. How do we go about doing this?
|Posted on Saturday, 22 October, 2005 - 04:04 pm: |
There is a second public meeting to be chaired by the Mayor on Thursday next 27 October 7.30 pm at Sydenham Girls School in Dartmouth Road about the two options. Last meeting on 5 October saw the attendance of 150 locals - as I recollect not one spoke in favour of the new-build. Most people attending were pools users.
|Posted on Saturday, 22 October, 2005 - 08:05 pm: |
Ragingbear I agree. Would be happy to join any consultation group too.
Those who use the pool regularly ( I chat to quite a few of them) appreciate the architectural features of the building in spite of its dilapidated state. On the evidence presented to us so far I don't believe there is a justifiable case for demolishing it. I also feel the 'evidence' on the questionaire is unfairly biased in favour of a new build.
|Posted on Saturday, 22 October, 2005 - 08:11 pm: |
I'm not against new buildings per se - but when we have something that works already and is distinctive, why destroy it when we have the option to improve it?
|Posted on Wednesday, 26 October, 2005 - 04:12 pm: |
I totally agree, Seeformiles. Will you come to the meeting on Thursday evening and ask Steve Bullock, our Mayor, to answer your question?
|Posted on Friday, 28 October, 2005 - 11:18 am: |
At yesterday's meeting the Head of Community of Lewisham Council mentioned the 1999 Strategy as their preferred starting point.
Interestingly the Action Plan of that strategy involves reducing Forest Hill to one pool.
I scanned the relevant pages and saved them as a pdf.
You can download it from here: http://tinyurl.com/du8cz
|Posted on Friday, 28 October, 2005 - 06:30 pm: |
Sorry folks, I really wanted to go to meeting but have been ill - which was very bad timing!
Still feeling poorly but if anyone would like to meet up and discuss the implications of the meeting and what we do next, then I'd be happy to join you all.
|Posted on Sunday, 30 October, 2005 - 01:52 am: |
I live in Ladywell and for good reason I have become suspicious of consultation by the council. When the Mayor said at the first consultation meeting he was determined Forest Hill would continue to have a swimming pool...a chiver went down my spine.
I wasn't surprised that it took most of the meeting before it was made clear why both options had similar costs. It explained why most suggestions from those wanting to retain the existing building were rejected. Also, why the term "catastrophic failure" was used. It's because the Mayor is not prepared to spend sufficient money to rejuvenate the building.
Despite the public wanting to retain 2 pools they were told a new building would only have one, because the Mayor's brief to Capita was to only look at the existing site. Did anyone else notice the knowing glance between Aileen Buckton and the Mayor when a member of the public mentioned Louise House? They didn't seem to want to discuss the building, which to me seemed odd. My suspicions have been further aroused by the answer given by the council to a question from a Forest Hill councillor on 26th Oct.
Let's hope you don't suffer like us in Ladywell and that what you are being told publicly isn't being contradicted by actions in council offices.
I wonder what people would think of the following scenario...Mayor decides to demolish the existing building and provide 2 pools by also demolishing Louise House.
|Posted on Monday, 31 October, 2005 - 10:08 pm: |
Oh..have been reminded by the Save Ladywell Campaign website that since 1999 the council have been working to reducing Forest Hill to one pool.
|Posted on Tuesday, 01 November, 2005 - 01:10 pm: |
How about meeting up in the Dartmouth Arms one evening to discuss the “improving what we’ve got” option for our pools?
|Posted on Tuesday, 01 November, 2005 - 01:46 pm: |
Thats a great idea, Scipio- are you happy to name the day and time and I'll be there!
|Posted on Tuesday, 01 November, 2005 - 05:53 pm: |
Apparently in today's Telegraph Kate Hoey MP writes about councils mistakingly demolishing older swimming pools.
|Posted on Tuesday, 01 November, 2005 - 08:45 pm: |
Please join me - and Roz!- on Wed 9 Nov at 8.15pm inside the Dartmouth Arms.
|Posted on Wednesday, 02 November, 2005 - 12:32 pm: |
I think the problem for Ladywell is different. the Council want to demolish Ladywell Baths to use the site to build a new secondary school.
The alternative of using the site currently occcupied by the old Ladywell Baths/Coroner's Court/Mortuary/Police Station will take too long because the Metroplitan Police will not sell the old police station to Lewisham Council!
|Posted on Wednesday, 02 November, 2005 - 05:09 pm: |
The Council cannot use the Playtower site to build a school because the former police station was sold to a developer.
The Council didn't even actually bid for it.
They let it slip away because they couldn't get it off market at a reduced price.
There are a number of reasons why that site is not a good one for a school, but what most concerns me is that with this plan there wouldn't be any replacement to Ladywell for many years, leaving many tens of thousand in the centre of Lewisham totally without swimming provision.
What Ladywell and Forest Hill have in common is the fact that in the Sport and Active Recreation Strategy drawn by the Council in 1999 they were both identified as provisions to be packaged in order to make them attractive to private operators.
It seems that instead of identifying community needs and try to plan the adequate provision, the council identified the private sectors as the providers to take over from them - as they didn't have interest in their role of "direct providers" - and made a market research to identify the best package to provide the private operators with.
An under-provision will guarantee full use at all times and give the best result as income goes.
Unfortunately the marginal users will eventually drop out.
And what was planned then is all happening now.
As the Mayor said at the Jon Gaunt Show last year: "the decision to close Ladywell was taken many years ago"
It looks as the same happened to Forest Hill.
|Posted on Wednesday, 02 November, 2005 - 06:00 pm: |
The facts are:
1. Council leisure facilities nationwide are usually managed by specialist leisure contractors. Some are private companies, some are trusts. I have been using leisure centres of various kinds for probably 25 years, and there is no doubt that the involvement of these specialist operators has improved public provision. There are many different management and financial arrangements possible for revenue, costs, investment, the distribution of any surplus, or the covering of operating shortfalls. Councils are able to retain more or less as much control as they want on pricing policy, concessions etc.
2. The assumption that the Council could improve the profitability of its centres by 'rationing' provision is based on the false premise that people are not prepared to cross borough boundaries to use leisure centres - they are, and would have a good choice within easy reach of Lewisham.
2. The proposition that Lewisham is attempting to ration the provision of leisure in the borough to improve the profitability of what is left is also a fiction. If this is the case, why has the Council set out to increase the number of pools and leisure centres in the borough? For the record, the additional public provision in the Borough includes:
i) The training pool at the Bridge (already built).
ii) The new pool and training pool at Downham which will incorporate a range of other facilities, including a health service group practice.
iii) The additional pool at Wavelengths.
iv) The gym and dance studio at Bellingham (already built).
v) The sports hall at Forest Hill School, which will be available to the public out of hours (being built).
vi) The new centre at Sundermead with a pool and training pool.
This is in addition to the fact that this current council has given first of all a five year commitment to Forest Hill Pools via the current management contract, and that the Mayor has for the first time given a long term commitment to swimming at Forest Hill.
Perhaps Max would let me which London Boroughs he thinks are doing more at the moment to expand their leisure facilities?
|Posted on Wednesday, 02 November, 2005 - 10:58 pm: |
I'll do something more than tell you which Borough is doing better then Lewisham by commenting on all you say.
Surely the private run facilities can compare in favorable way with the Council run.
There are excellent examples of both.
Greenwich Leisure is an impressive company and Westminster Council in house service does a great job too.
There are also appalling examples of both kinds.
What I never heard before is a Council deciding to rethink its swimming provision following a market research on what's best for the private sector partners.
2. & 3.
You say that people can travel.
Sure they can and some will, but also some will stop using the services and the provision left will be full to capacity at all times, with evident advantage to its profitability and damage to the community.
I can further argue that many of those that will stop will be the most vulnerable, especially the elderlies and mothers with small children.
People will travel who? People with cars. people with jobs that have them home by 6?
What about people whose day starts at 6 or 7 pm and who can't get their kids to facilities?
There is also the argument that people should have pools "in walking distance" and that's an old recommendation of the Sport Council.
Indeed this criteria was considered by Lewisham Council at least until 1994 when the Swimming review was approved by this Council.
I scanned the whole document and it is downloadable from this link http://tinyurl.com/deh9s - you can see this on page 33.
And that map was used to argument that Forest Hill was surplus to provision as close to The Bridge (on the map still BP club).
Of course nobody ever mentions that the Bridge has a 3 lanes (!) 25 mt pool.
The training (learning) pool was added because the provision was just too poor to justify its running.
Let's remember that the Bridge wasn't build as a public facility, but came into Council's possession as planning gain as before it was a recreational centre for the use of the workers of the BP unit that once stood there.
Without learning pool it would have kept on being completely inadequate for public use.
(continue on next post)
|Posted on Wednesday, 02 November, 2005 - 10:59 pm: |
And Wavelenghts is another great example of the consideration that this Council has put into its swimming provision.
A pool without swimming pool. With a pole in the middle.
Only in Lewisham!
That one was also built to replace another pool, Laurie Grove pool.
Downham is another shameful point.
When in 2007 this new pool will finally be finished it will be 12 years since the original Downham pool closed.
Again, that pool closed because of Council's neglect.
In the same document from 1994 linked above you can appreciate that an expenditure of £55,000 was identified as necessary to secure the roof.
No surprise then when the following year the roof gave in then.
Killed by Council's neglect.
And that was a much bigger pool (36 mt) than what will eventually be built.
Did you mention Bellingham?
Of course you didn't mention Bellingham open air pool that once stood there.
On the Sundermead project I have to say only that it's a rather shameful plan that of considering closing the only pool in central Lewisham years before being able to even say when a replacement will be done.
Oh yes, you say a date, but can't back it with anything.
You say that you have £7m in the bank to build it, but Greenwich Council is now building one "flagship state-of-the-art wet and dry sports and leisure centre" and it's spending £20m.
Where are you going to get the missing £13m is a mystery.
Unless you size the whole thing down (no more flagship then) or go through a pfi as with Downham that only exposes us to enormous risks both in financial terms (Downham £4.5m over-budget of which £1m on consultants) and of time.
By the way, in today's News Shopper there is an article evidently written with big input from Lewisham Council and it mentions the leisure centre at Sundermead as ready by 2011.
Do I take it as official that 2010 as forecast is gone for good?
By looking at that map of the 1994 Swimming Provision revue you can also see how moving Ladywell to the proposed location only damages sport provision.
But it seems that by 1999, when moving Ladywell was conceived, every thought about what's good for sport had left the Borough for good.
I cannot see like anybody could be proud of being associated with such a scheme.
On the commitment to Forest Hill Pools, I'm sure that it is only by chance that it was expressed 8 days after labour lost the by-election there.
To finish this post. You ask what other Council's are doing better.
We're not crapper than other councils is not an aspirational frame of mind.
I think that Greenwich, Bromley and many others are doing better.
Read this Ealing Council's strategy please http://tinyurl.com/bdbyd and see if you can spot the difference between those aspirations and those of Lewisham.
Lewisham is currently providing 68.5% of the swimming provision recommended by Sport England.
At the end of all these great commitments we will have raised to around 75%.
I'm not saying any well done.
|Posted on Thursday, 03 November, 2005 - 07:37 am: |
What are you refering to a pool without a swimming pool. Please give more INFO.
Whilst I appreciate very much the concern of everyone to maintain pools suely we must realise that these are very expensive items to build and maintain and operate.
Are the people who wish to use the pools prepared to pay the market rate for using the pools. I am not sure what that is but guess a lot higher than many prepared to pay.
|Posted on Thursday, 03 November, 2005 - 08:26 am: |
I will have to do another post in respect of Max's latest, but I'd just like to answer your point on the costs of pools.
Full size pools (ie 25 or 50 metres cost a lot to run, but it is possible in many case to put together a leisure centre 'package' which includes pools, gym, dance studios etc which either breaks even, or makes some kind of positive return. This may not always be the case, and our first aim in providing sports and leisure facilities is to enable people to keep fit and well - and enjoy themselves. Therefore, though costs must always be a consideration, it is far from the only, or the most important, factor. Further, in Lewisham, we think sports and leisure facilities should be widely available, and that people should not be deterred by high costs, which is why Lewisham has some quite generous concessions.
In terms of leisure provision, however, there is another point about swimming. While it may be that, if costed separately, no public swimming pool would ever make a profit, there is something about the availability of swimming that attracts a wider audience to a leisure centre than will go to a centre which only has weight training and aerobics. There are few other activities in which whole families can take part together, and thus swimming pulls in children and families, which helps create the right sort of friendly, active buzz. As a proportion of swimmers will also take part in other activities, swimming has the effect of producing a better income stream for the centre as a whole.
Regarding pricing policy per visit, the key factor in running leisure centres is user levels, rather than unit pricing. And for that as well as social reasons, it is better to go for welcoming centres which attract a large crowd than for high individual pricing.
|Posted on Thursday, 03 November, 2005 - 10:07 am: |
With a "pool without swimming pool" I mean exactly that.
Wavelengths has only a lagoon style leisure pool with wave machine.
No lane swimming.
You can see a picture of that pool here:
I know people that went to swim with their kids there for many years with the result that those kids now can't swim!
Those that can still remember Laurie Grove pool resent the Council for not having provided a lane pool replacement for the area.
I spent the whole of last summer (2004) on the street campaigning and I spoke with many of those. They say that the council had at the time promised a straight replacement.
Instead it came out with the Library/Leisure Pool combination that is Wavelengths.
The Mayor now say that at the time the Council was advised that lane swimming was dead and people only wanted those kind of leisure style pools.
Now they will finally put it right and I'm sure that that will happen because the Mayor has been advised in the Capita report on leisure (delivered to Lewisham Council in December 2004 and made public in April 2005) that with the current programme of works carried upon the existing under-provision there wouldn't be at times enough pools to deliver the national curriculum.
The Council has to provide adequate resources for schools to fulfill the curriculum and that's about all the statutory duty of the council as swimming goes.
A KS2 target is to have kids able to swim unaided for 25mt.
The national average of achievement is 83%, Lewisham is 36% (source: same Capita report approved at Mayor and Cabinet 6th April 2005).
On the costs of pools and market rates:
Pools take a lot of space and with the current price of land they are of course at risk of being identified as a target for redevelopment.
Still, the enormous social benefits of pools available to the whole of the population is such that a public subsidy is greatly justified so that these important community assets are sheltered my market forces that don't have in mind the well-being of residents.
In my opinion the greatest benefit is not that brought to the adult fitness user (like me) that can indeed afford to pay a higher price, but to those segments of population that don't fit the profile.
Swimming is an activity you're referred to by the doctor (heart attack, diabetis, obesity, arthritis...)
Swimming is recommended to prgnant ladies.
Swimming is important for the development of healthy young generations.
Swimming is the best and most popular activity for senior citizens. As swimming helps to mantain muscular tone with a gentle exercise that doesn't put strain on bones and joints as only can be done in the water it's no wonder why there are so many pensioners going to swim.
Now, the hard choice about them would be between raising pensions so that they can join a fitness club or subsidize pools.
Swimming is the most popular sport in Britain with 22% of the adults and 50% of children swimming regularly.
I believe that to expect an appropriate strategy from local authorities, one that aims at excellence, is not as extravagant expectation.
|Posted on Thursday, 03 November, 2005 - 10:53 am: |
Wavelengths was built as a combination of library and pool because of the extraordinarily tight Government restrictions on local authority capital expenditure at the time. This odd combination was the only way we were allowed to spend the money. The alternative was no new pool. While I would not say that we are now exactly rolling in money, our financial position now is much stronger than it was in the 1990s - and local authorities which rate good or excellent have much more discretion on capital investment. Today we would not build something with the exact mix of facilities of Wavelengths - even though it was probably the right decision in difficult circumstances all those years ago.
The decision on a leisure pool rather than lane swimming was in line with thinking at the time which has now rightly been rejected. I am not sure, however, why any child would fail to learn to swim as a result of a leisure pool being provided and not a standard lane swimming pool.
The school curriculum is far from the main or only reason for the plan to add an additional pool at Wavelengths in Deptford.
Believe it or not, I agree with most of what Max says about the value of swimming. Lewisham's concessions to the retired and other priority groups are, of course, exceptionally generous.
It is perfectly reasonable to expect that your local authority should have a 'strategy aimed at excellence' in swimming. It will become apparent over the next few years that that is exactly what Lewisham's current strategy does.
|Posted on Thursday, 03 November, 2005 - 12:02 pm: |
I appreciate your reply and agree that facilities should be low costs for children.
|Posted on Thursday, 03 November, 2005 - 03:17 pm: |
I assume it was the council who gave the brief to the man from Capita and supplied him with information. As the council decided in 1999 Forest Hill should have only one pool is it possible the options presented were geared towards that decision and information?
It would seem Capita were not asked how the existing building could be rejuvenated and given an extended life of 20 - 30 years.
I was suprised at the first meeting how often officials told the public 'you can't this or that' without any supporting arguement. For example it was said it is not possible to build on Metropolitan Open Land, which is not correct. The Mayor currently has such a building project.
Why does the council wish to exclude Louise House from the consultation? Yet in answer to a question from Cllr Philip Peake the council say the future of Louise House is dependedent on the decision regarding the pools.
I may be mistaken but I would thought someone within the council would have looked at what impact any decision might have on both sites?
As it is not the public, councillors or Cabinet Members who decide the future of the pools the Mayor could choose to ignore everyone.
|Posted on Thursday, 03 November, 2005 - 04:01 pm: |
I think the Mayor is due for re-election in May next year. Therefore, it s not a good idea for him to ignore everyone.
|Posted on Friday, 04 November, 2005 - 10:56 am: |
Provision of local public swimming facilities is not just about leisure: it is about health.
I am disappointed to learn a plan was developed 6 years ago to reduce our pools to one: disappointed but sadly not surprised. The earlier plan to close Forest Hill public swimming pools was equally secretive. BP got planning permission to build houses on their former sports ground and our Borough bought a pig in a poke.
The “savings” in shutting Forest Hill’s swimming pools were to pay the cost of bringing the ex BP’s Kangley Bridge Road site up to standard. A courageous individual led a strong campaign supported by local people to keep our public swimming pools open. We won that battle.
Please join me at the Dartmouth Arms on Wednesday 9 November at 8.15pm to explore the “improving what we’ve got” option for Forest Hill’s public swimming pools.
|Posted on Friday, 04 November, 2005 - 04:20 pm: |
Along with the essential importance of keeping adequate swimming facilities in Forest Hill, and respecting the architectural and cultural importance of London's oldest municipal baths, there's also the issue of function room for hire. At the consultation meeting last week, one lady pointed out that she has been hosting her children's birthday parties at the pools since starting a family. It's easy to forget this side of our public facility, and why it makes Forest Hill Pools central to our community. Not everyone has the facilities to have all their children's friends over to their homes, and what options are going to be left within Forest Hill for such wholesome events. Oh yes, we do have a global fast food outlet in our town which is famous for cornering the market for children's parties. But it doesn't take Jamie Oliver to point out that this isn't necessarily what our young people need. Associating happy events in childhood with municipal sporting facilities rather than corporate branding has to be a good thing. Surely? Let's not forget that these facilities will be lost if the Mayor goes ahead with Option 2 and bulldozes our current building.
In response to Sherwood, maybe it's not a bad idea for the Mayor to ignore us all and lose his position, perhaps he'll get his job back with Capita. Everyone did know Steve Bullock worked to for Capita didn't they? It says so on his website. http://www.stevebullock.co.uk/mayor/biogsteve.htm
Scipio and Roz, I'd like to join you on Wednesday, but I'm hoping to escape the feelings of impotence this issue is filling me with to escape to the country for a visit with my family. Is it possible to keep us all informed if this develops into a regular campaign meeting?
|Posted on Friday, 04 November, 2005 - 04:32 pm: |
Excuse the typo. Of course what I meant to write was:
Everyone did know Steve Bullock worked for Capita, didn't they?
Not a bad thing to say it again anyway.
|Posted on Sunday, 06 November, 2005 - 12:08 am: |
I think he had a job with Lewisham Hospital NHS Trust before he became Mayor.
|Posted on Monday, 07 November, 2005 - 07:32 am: |
At a meeting in Crofton Park I think the Mayor was asked what affect closing Ladywell Leisure Centre would have on youth, health, inclusion, crime etc. He seemed to indicate there would be no affect.
Does the consultation put the public in a straight jacket? It appears you are being asked to give a simple yes or no to the options. Whereas the Mayor can if he wishes look at the intergration of Louise House, even the use of the open land beside the pools.
|Posted on Thursday, 10 November, 2005 - 09:04 am: |
Sincere apologies for not turning up at Dartmouth Arms. I’ve come out to Belgium urgently on business and forgot to post.How did it go?
|Posted on Thursday, 10 November, 2005 - 11:39 pm: |
Yes I also apologise - work commitments kept me in central London til quite late so I couldn't get back on time.
|Posted on Saturday, 12 November, 2005 - 05:53 am: |
Regarding the situation in Ladywell the Mayor thus responded to the Scrutiny committee;
"I have made decisions on the basis of the advice given to me by officers."
Considering what officers said at the meeting I attended and their advice there should only be one pool, maybe you need to influence them rather than the Mayor?
|Posted on Friday, 18 November, 2005 - 08:07 pm: |
Those interested in Forest Hill pools, the library and the adjacent open space may be interested in the consultation documents at the following web address.
www.lewisham.gov.uk/Environment/Planning/PlanningP olicy/LocalDevelopmentFramework/LDFDocuments/SiteA llocations1.htm
Responses have to be in by 21st November!
|Posted on Friday, 18 November, 2005 - 08:09 pm: |
Ooops should have pointed out the pools are site 22. Site 21 may also be of interest as it includes 3 sites close to the station.
|Posted on Tuesday, 29 November, 2005 - 11:31 am: |
Interested in exploring the “improving what we’ve got” option for our pools? Steve Bullock, local resident and current Mayor of Lewisham, will be at the Horniman Museum from 7.30 pm this Thursday to answer your questions
|Posted on Wednesday, 30 November, 2005 - 09:09 pm: |
If I were there I might ask The Mayor....
Will his decision be based on the recommendation of 1999 to reduce the provision in Forest Hill to one pool.
The Mayor publicly announced he was not prepared to see the centre of Lewisham without a swimming pool but then decided to bring forward by 3-4 years the closure of Ladywell Leisure Centre. Should residents be concerned at the Mayor's public commitment to retaining a swimming pool in Forest Hill?
The Local Development Framework groups together the Library, Louise House, the pools and the open land. The result could be a change of use of one or more of these sites. What impact could that have in the Mayor's decision regarding the future of Forest Hill pools?
The Mayor has said he is 'not prepared for the centre of Lewisham to be without a first class swimming pool whilst he is Mayor.' If next May he is re-elected will he feel obliged to resign in 2007 ?
|Posted on Thursday, 15 December, 2005 - 12:07 pm: |
I just noticed that the Council website has now made available the full report obtained by Capita on all the options for Forest Hill.
And there are fifteen options.
Now that the consultation is finished the council makes all information available to the public.
There is also an interesting FAQ page.
In it I spotted one visible change of plan for the borough-wide strategy and is the addition to Wavelenghts, that now moves from 2007 to 2008.
When the Mayor had announced it this is what he said: "I aim to get this open before Ladywell closes in 2007."
This is quite indicative of the credibility of this council's promises.
There are many points made in this FAQ that seem to be rather debatable issues, one example is the following paragraph:
Q "Why can’t you create a new side entrance to the pool to avoid the cross contamination?"
A "We did investigate whether this could be incorporated with a refurbishment option to look but the cost would have been prohibitive at around £6.25m."
I really struggle to believe that a side entrance to the changing rooms would cost £2.25m?
But the real problem that I have is that all this information was awat kept from the public and made available only after the closing date for the consultation.
|Posted on Monday, 19 December, 2005 - 09:33 am: |
Does anyone know when work on Forest Hill Pools is due to begin?
According to the council Ladywell could close as early as January 2007, Downham won't open till 2007 and Wavelengths 2008.
Could this mean the earliest work at Forest Hill can begin is 2007?
|Posted on Thursday, 22 December, 2005 - 09:02 am: |
The following public question was asked of the council on December 14th and answered by Cllr. Gavin Moore. Would I be wrong to assume the answer does not rule out demolishing Louise House and building on the existing open space?
Could the council confirm that they have no plans to take any action as regards renovating or selling Louise House?
Now that the Forest Hill Pools consultation is over, can the council explain what their thoughts are on maintaining the integrity of the whole site including the public garden, Louise House and the Library?
Can the council give a guarantee that they will maintain the whole site(including Louise House) as a community facility for local people?
The Council has made no decision on the future of Louise House other than to agree that there is no operational requirement for it.
The Authority's approach as planning authority to the site is set out as follows:
The Council's adopted planning guidance for the Library, Louise House and the Pools is set out in the Forest Hill Urban Design Framework and Design Strategy. It acknowledges the positive contribution that the buildings (the library is of course listed) make to the area and recognises the role played by the group as a focus for community activity in Forest Hill. It goes on to recommend that any improvements or redevelopments should respond to urban design principles which
ensure a high quality of building facades which front the street, improved public realm quality in front of the buildings with less dominance by cars, reconsideration of the function of the public garden with re - positioning in front of the buildings, and a positive relationship between open space and buildings.
In view of this guidance Officers have advised that a decision on the future of Louise House should be taken in the context of the site as a
whole, including the Baths.
|Posted on Thursday, 22 December, 2005 - 09:05 am: |
A further question answered by The Mayor was as follows:
Will any funds (additionally to the costs of the updating of Forest Hill Pools) be made available to improve the rest of the community site at
There are no current proposals for additional physical improvements to the Forest Hill site, although the Council will be redecorating the
ground floor of the Library next financial year and has a small amount of capital funding set aside to make minor Health and Safety improvements to the grounds of the Library building.
Following the completion of either the rebuild or refurbishment of the pool, improvements to the ground surrounding the pool will be considered.
|Posted on Thursday, 22 December, 2005 - 04:19 pm: |
Neither of the development options propsed by the council included any mention of Louise House. Given that this would substantially increase the space available on the site a brand new two-pool solution would at least be physically possible, although such a plan has not been costed or proposed to local residents as a posssible option, even though we now know that the council is going to take Louise House into account when working on the development strategy.
The Capita report specifically does not include costing for options 7 and 8 because they use the site of Louise House and would not be possible due to 'site constraints'. It sounds like this was an incorrect assumption and we need to get Capita back to fully access the potential cost of developing the full site.
(I know I have used the wrong word 'access' rather than the word with ss rather cc, but the site thought that this was a naughty word!)
|Posted on Thursday, 22 December, 2005 - 06:30 pm: |
Oops - glitch fixed - 'assess' can now be uttered.
|Posted on Wednesday, 28 December, 2005 - 06:22 pm: |
When I attended the first consultation meeting I felt the public were put in a straight-jacket whereas the council have given themselves flexible options.
In light of the answer given on 14th December one wonders why the public, when considering plans for the pools, where not allowed to include Louise House or re-organising the open space.
|Posted on Monday, 09 January, 2006 - 12:37 pm: |
I see it's confirmed the new Wavelength's will not open as planned in 2007. Could this mean the work at Forest Hill won't take place before 2008, otherwise the only alternative will be Downham (for most of the borough)?
|Posted on Tuesday, 31 January, 2006 - 04:18 am: |
Last week at full Council Councillor Peake asked the Cabinet Member for Resources the following:-
Does the answer to a public question on Louise House at December’s full Council [mean]: the Council has made no decision on [its] future other than to agree that there is no operational requirement for it indicate that the review of the Council’s office accommodation described in an answer to me at October’s full Council has concluded that there is no use for Louise House? What is the timetable for further decision-making on the future of Louise House?
No decision has been taken about the long term usage of the building. Once detailed plans have been drawn up for either the refurbishment or rebuild of the Forest Hill Pool site, consideration can then be given to the development of Louise House and surrounding ground.
|Posted on Friday, 03 February, 2006 - 11:42 pm: |
|Posted on Monday, 06 February, 2006 - 10:46 am: |
Closure of one of the pools - this has made casual swimmming almost impossible (there will be a 18 1/2 minute slot on Saturday afternoon, pending the movement of the stars...). If this is a sign of things to come under the councils preferred redevelopment proosals, then that about says it all.
|Posted on Monday, 06 February, 2006 - 10:49 am: |
Sorry, but I am relatively new to the area. Could someone tell me where Louise House is?
|Posted on Monday, 06 February, 2006 - 11:07 am: |
Louise House is the building between the Library and swimming pools.
|Posted on Monday, 06 February, 2006 - 11:20 am: |
Thanks Loneranger. I guess that Louise House has been empty for many years?
|Posted on Monday, 06 February, 2006 - 11:38 am: |
Don't worry, Lewisham Labour Party website declared last October ... "Forest Hill Pools - Saved by Labour"
Note that is pools not pool. Or could it be an apostrophe is missing.
|Posted on Tuesday, 07 February, 2006 - 09:08 am: |
Maybe by closing each pool one at a time for 'maintenance' the fustrated council apparatchik is seeking their revenge?!?
But a decent shower / changing room wouldn't go amiss. I did suggest that all the spare land at the side and back could be used for this purpose. But then where would the pool attendants play football in the summer?
|Posted on Wednesday, 08 February, 2006 - 10:29 am: |
You wouldn't be the person at the consultation meeting that was given a firm 'NO' regarding the use of open land? Trust you are aware that officer's assumption is wrong.
Apparently there will be a Pools update at the Area Forum on February 23rd at the Grove Centre, Jews Walk, 7.30p.m.
|Posted on Thursday, 23 February, 2006 - 12:55 pm: |
Does anyone know the decision taken at the Mayor and Cabinet meeting last night? I couldn't go and was relying on someone posting on this site to get the news!
However tonight's Area Forum meeting - 7.30 at Grove Centre, Jews Walk should provide the answer. See you there?
|Posted on Thursday, 23 February, 2006 - 02:16 pm: |
You'll find the post you're looking for under the Forest Hill steering group and area forum thread.
|Posted on Saturday, 04 March, 2006 - 10:56 am: |
What exactly is the current deal?
The Mayor is reported in the press as having a preference for refurbishment of the pools but a study of feasibility and costs is required first.
I thought MACE had based its advice on what was feasible for less than £5m.
The Mayor is quoted as saying "We don't want to spend more on the refurbishment than if we had built a really whizzo facility."
Has the building been saved or has the Mayor deferred his decision until this further investigation is completed.
Can anyone clarify the situation and when the results of the study will be announced?
|Posted on Sunday, 05 March, 2006 - 02:33 pm: |
At least MACE is doing it rather than Crapita but I am a bit concerned as to the findings could be manipulated. You can spend as little or as much as you want on the pool refurb - from regrouting the tiles in the ladies' loos and a new spider plant for the reception through to redoing everything to top spec in the existing shell. You cut your coat to suit your cloth. But if we start trying to compare apples and pears with a new facility there is a risk that the existing building can be made to look like a less favourable option just by function of the criteria on which it is judged.
Forest Hill Pool still looks the business from outside after 100 years. Can anyone say the same of any public buildings built in the last 50? Generally not. We can have some modern facility but it will be out of keeping with the area and unless they really throw some money at a top design and specification it is fairly sure look like poop in 20 years.
Come on Lewisham, get a grip. All the pool needs is the a refurb of the plant, redecoration and a new changing facility - just build this on the side of the existing building. Why turn this into another multi-million pound public sector capital project disaster. Clissold pool anybody? Look it up!
|Posted on Sunday, 05 March, 2006 - 02:52 pm: |
I used to live round the corner from the Clissold Pool site and I watched the whole debacle unfold with increasing cynicism. That's why I think refurbishment is the answer - we have a building - albeit a neglected one - but that's even more reason to make up for all those years of neglect and give it the care and attention it needs. Am hoping the decision is pending....
|Posted on Thursday, 18 May, 2006 - 09:03 am: |
The job description for a job within Lewisham Council's regeneration department contains a list of projects.
Forest Hill Pools is described as a pipeline scheme and the forecast delivery date is given as mid February 2006. Is it a typo or is just referring to the options going before the Mayor?
|Posted on Thursday, 18 May, 2006 - 11:37 pm: |
It would be nice, post election , to understand when the works are likely to start and how long until completion.
Would be good also to see a specification and proposals as to how the new facility will be managed.
Personally I hate how London pools are run with no enforcement on hygiene etc.Everywhere else in Europe is much more strict, This must be the only country where people take outdoor shoes poolside, for instance and do the most unhygienic things without challenge.
Does anyone else think it worthwhile to revive the Friends of Forest Hill Pools, so it can scrutinise developments more closely?
|Posted on Friday, 19 May, 2006 - 03:58 pm: |
Definitely! I joined and sent off my £5 cheque a year ago but have heard nothing since. A slightly more dynamic group would be great. I can't help comparing FH Pools (which I used regularly) with Balham Pool (which I used regularly until 18 months ago when I moved here). That too is a Victorian building although a little younger than FH. But it's had a huge amount of investment and was refurbished completely. As a result, it was a fantastic facility, really well-maintained and very well used. Obviously, that was a different council (Wandsworth) and a different demographic in the area. But it does make me sad when I see how poorly FH Pools has fared in comparison. East Dulwich Baths used to be under threat of closure. What did the campaigners there do to turn things around? Anyone know?
|Posted on Friday, 19 May, 2006 - 05:28 pm: |
A Forest Hill Society would certainly be interested in developments surrounding the pool. With such a Society it should not be necessary for us to start other Societies on all the major issues in Forest Hill.
On the other hand, a FH Society should not prevent other groups from continuing or forming for specific issues - but if it is to scrutinise developments, I believe a whole area Society would have more weight.
|Posted on Wednesday, 24 May, 2006 - 01:11 pm: |
Hi Roz How can you be so unaware, but so politically aware.... the Save Forest Hill Pools Campaign that I successfully led 10 years ago still is titled with the Friends, who has led on the whole issue of the pools re Press, leaflets, radio & film. I am so pleased to hear that Pat. T. enjoyed being part of the successful campaign.
|Posted on Monday, 29 May, 2006 - 12:41 pm: |
Can anyone enlighten me as to whether any steps are being taken to help users of Forest Hill Pools facilities (including gym) get to those elsewhere? Those who went on foot rather than by car now have to pay transport costs. Maybe the new councillors can give info?
|Posted on Tuesday, 30 May, 2006 - 07:21 pm: |
Apparently the pool will not be reopened until 2009, assuming all goes well with the refurbishment. This seems like a very long time to do whatever is necessary.
To quote Chris Best from the Sydenham website:
"The survey of Forest Hill Pools is scheduled to take place this Summer, and if all goes well with the refurbishment those pools will re open in 2009. The report on this will be coming to the first Mayor and Cabinet meeting of the new administration on Wednesday 7 June (starts at 6.30pm and all are welcome)".
|Posted on Tuesday, 30 May, 2006 - 09:04 pm: |
I understood the Mayor to have a preference for refurbishment dependent on the outcome of a thorough survey. It would appear from Chris's answer the Mayor has committed himself to refurbishment no matter the results of the survey?
|Posted on Thursday, 01 June, 2006 - 11:17 am: |
English Heritage have now completed their report on Forest Hill Pools, when it has been counter signed it will be sent to the Secretary of State for a final decision. The outcome will be known in 3 to 4 weeks time. James Melloy worked very hard towards listing the building, supported by The Victorian Society. The Friends are very grateful to our member James and The Victorian Society.
|Posted on Thursday, 01 June, 2006 - 02:08 pm: |
Listing may be a mixed blessing. It will make it harder for Lewisham to go back on its word (perish the thought) and knock the building down but it will also make it harder to refurbish the pool.
|Posted on Thursday, 01 June, 2006 - 03:01 pm: |
Yes agreed, however the Mayor would not state a new facility would be publicly owned, Louise House is empty, he would not comment on future plans for Louise House. The two sites would have a high value and dont forget that during the campaign 10 years ago the then Leader of the Council tried to sell off the pools site. So we are just doing our best to hold Lewisham to their word anbd make sure that Forest Hill has a landmark site and an anchor to bring people to the area..
|Posted on Thursday, 01 June, 2006 - 08:16 pm: |
The report going before the Mayor should be on the Council website tomorrow.
|Posted on Friday, 02 June, 2006 - 02:47 pm: |
The report to the Mayor as to the intrusive survey of Forest Hill Pools is available on the Lewisham council website.
Seem to be dire warnings of the risk to the building from such a survey, which with tendering will take 6 months to complete, (Dec/Jan 2007?).
|Posted on Saturday, 03 June, 2006 - 12:40 pm: |
Have read the report, what are they about? Everything contained therin would be part of refurbishment, obviously pipework, filtration, electrics, pools would have to be replaced or made good AND what about the roof?. Fancy wittering on about where to buy tiles in a professional report, dont think Topps Tiles, try consulting professionals Lewisham. Is this a set up this completely negative approach?. How can Lewisham attempt to justify spending £130,000 on this ridiculous intrusive survey report. This all started with Capita's advice and we must not let the Mayor and this company fool us.
|Posted on Saturday, 03 June, 2006 - 07:12 pm: |
I found the mention of tiles odd, I'm sure someone can explain?
I wonder if the document 'Forest Hills Pools Repairs' that was before the Mayor on March 22nd has the reference to the roof?
Unfortunately the document isn't for public viewing and looking at the minutes neither are the Mayor's decisions.
It's getting a bit confusing, on 22nd Feb according to the cabinet minutes the mayor....
(i) the Forest Hill Pools Consultation results be
received and option 1 be chosen as the
preferred option; and
(ii) officers be requested to undertake a
detailed feasibility and risk assessment of the
building, facility and site to determine the
scale of work, level of risk and potential cost
of option 1.
On the 22nd March private cabinet meeting and unknown decisions about the pools repairs.
7th June -- 'Forest Hill Pools Intrusvive Survey'
goes before the Mayor ....
1.1 On 22 March 2006 the report outlining the outcome of the Forest Hill Pool consultation was received by Mayor and Cabinet. The option to refurbish the building was approved.
1.2 In order to establish the extent of the renovation and the associated costs it is necessary to undertake a full intrusive survey.
5.1 At a meeting of the Mayor and Cabinet on 22nd March 2006, officers were requested to investigate the costs, timetable and risks of an intrusive survey. The survey would establish in detail, the current building condition as a precursor to the renovation.
Do these last para's mean 22nd Febuary as that's when the consultaion results were before the Mayor.
|Posted on Tuesday, 06 June, 2006 - 04:40 pm: |
Has the building been listed or not? Is that the decision Oldcampaigner refers to? Some of us may not be 'grateful' if it is, nor do the Friends represent my views, as I would like to have a really good purpose-built facility that would add further ways to contribute to the health and leisure of the residents. While I am extremely interested in good architecture and preserving a good environment, I do not believe buildings are beautiful just because they are old. Forest Hill pools aren't any kind of gem of the period. Heresy, I know, to many, but I think we'd be better off with a well-planned modern leisure centre. As for listing - this could lead to years of atrophy while people argue over the work and the funding, as has happened with many other listed buildings. In addition to the fact that it would make it legally impossible to make any changes to the exterior or interior.
|Posted on Tuesday, 06 June, 2006 - 10:17 pm: |
I think it might be possible to keep the old facade of a listed building, but build a new facility behind it.
Personally, I think that occcasionally we need to move with the times and replace old buildings with new ones.
I suspect that there will be a problem with keeping this old building and providing a modern facility.
|Posted on Tuesday, 06 June, 2006 - 11:03 pm: |
I'm new to the site, so perhaps am not posting this in the right place. My first post was about what's being done, if anything, to help former users of the Forest Hill pools, gym and other activities get to equivalent ones elsewhere. Especially if they have to use public transport, cannot walk very far, or have any other difficulties. There's been no reply. I hoped the councillors might be able to help. Perhaps they just don't know, or don't read the forum. Has anyone got any info on this?
|Posted on Wednesday, 07 June, 2006 - 09:40 am: |
Badger - I believe zero provision has been made. Unfortunately public transport transport to the place near Sydenham savacentre is quite limited by bus. It is, however, very close to lower Sydenham train station if you can get to Catford Bridge.
Also, why has the gym closed if the problem was with the rooves of the pools?
|Posted on Wednesday, 07 June, 2006 - 10:13 am: |
356 bus goes from Forest Hill to Bell Green Sainsbury's, then it's a 5 min walk through the car park and up Kangley Bridge Road. The bus is every 20 minutes during peak times, every 30 mins off-peak, and isn't very reliable, timetable-wise.
|Posted on Wednesday, 07 June, 2006 - 10:33 am: |
The 122 brings you from Forest Hill to the Ladywell Leisure Centre and back.
|Posted on Wednesday, 07 June, 2006 - 11:46 am: |
What Sherwood says about keeping the facade is true. However, do people realise how LONG it takes to get planning approval for something like that for a listed building? If you want to ensure the building is out of use for the foreseeable future, listing it is probably the best way to do that.
In addition the costs would rocket. I seem to remember the cost of refurbishment was given as 5 million. Work on a listed building might cost double or treble that. Does the council have the money, and would people be willing to pay the extra council tax to fund it?
I hope those who advocate listing have thought these issues through and would be interested to know their proposals for timescale and funding.
|Posted on Wednesday, 07 June, 2006 - 12:23 pm: |
What it does stop is B"u"llock saying "oh dear - the survey has highlighted the fact that we haven't bothered to maintain the building for many years and it is going to cost more to put right than we first said. I know I said we would retain the pool but I didn't know then there would be all these problems and now we just can't afford it" - then knocking it down and selling the site.
The issue of extra council tax is a red herring as only a small proportion of Lewisham's revenue comes from council tax. Most comes from central government.
I fully appreciate your points and am also sceptical of the benefits of listing but this situation has presumably arisen because the people behind this move do not feel they can trust the council.
|Posted on Wednesday, 07 June, 2006 - 12:40 pm: |
From a swimming perspective the Council/Capita had proposed a modern replacement with only one pool instead of the two of the current Victorian pool.
A centre with two pools is enormously more accessible for the public as it allows school swimming and club swimming to proceed along general public swimming.
Had the Council/Capita proposed a like-for-like replacement maybe the consultation outcome would have been different.
|Posted on Wednesday, 07 June, 2006 - 04:23 pm: |
Just want to remind you once again of the debacle at Stoke Newington and the sorry saga of the "state of the art" pool that closed soon after its grand opening. Forgive me for being cynical but should FH pools be completely demolished, do you trust the council to build a brand new facility on time and within the budget? I don't.
Ok, FH isn't the most attractive Victorian building I've ever seen but I don't think that's the point. There was no need for it to get into such a bad state in the first place - plus those of us who used it regularly know it's imperative to keep 2 pools - for reasons I've explained elsewhere.
|Posted on Wednesday, 07 June, 2006 - 04:54 pm: |
It's true, Hilltopgeneral, that most of the money doesn't come from Council Tax. But the Government grant is fixed and therefore local decisions to increase spending directly affect only Council tax. Why do you think Central Government will pick up the tab? And if they don't, who will?
The fact that people don't 'trust the Council' is not a justification for taking ill-advised actions of which the costs in terms of time and money have not been thought through, and which may work to everyone's disadvantage.
Anyway, how many 'Friends' are there, and who do they represent apart from themselves? I gather the actual numbers from the consultation have never been published, and the Mayor says there was no 'overwhelming consensus'. But that still means thousands of people voted for a rebuild. Who have the Friends consulted?
|Posted on Wednesday, 07 June, 2006 - 05:16 pm: |
Well, they obviously felt sufficiently concerned to ensure it was protected. The Friends presumably represent those sufficiently interested to do something about it. I don't suppose they claim a broader mandate. Should it be listed, it will have been judged on its value by those more qualified to comment than you or I, and if it merits listing then it ought to be preserved. Sometimes these decisions have to be taken for the greater good by those better qualified. If everything reflected the will of the majority we would have capital punishment and half of the houses in London would be pebbledashed. As has been mentioned, we would only have got one pool with the "new" solution, and looking at the total clusterfunk the Catford Circus has made of Downham many of us preferred the option which seemed to offer the least disruption and least risk of having no pool at all for however many years. As I have said before, you cut your coat to suit your cloth. Best just to fix up the existing as best you can with the money you have. You can rest assured that the "new" would not have been an iconic piece of modern architecture but more likely some cheaper and less durable building than the existing. It may not be a classic of its era but whatever your feelings on it you would not have got something of the modern equivalent or better quality in its place.
|Posted on Wednesday, 07 June, 2006 - 05:41 pm: |
Well Hilltopgeneral's sensible solution will certainly be out of the question if the building is listed.
And where do our Councillors stand on all this? having vilified the Council for closing the pool - at the expense of several acres of rainforest - they now seem to be remarkably silent on what should be done about it. Where do they stand on the listing issue? Any one of them prepared to put head above parapet?
|Posted on Wednesday, 07 June, 2006 - 08:07 pm: |
Melissa it's not simply an issue of trust. We have the infrastructure of a suitable pool in place already. I agree with Hilltop.
Maybe the friends of FH pools don't reflect your own personal views but broadly speaking I think they've been a force for good and have helped to keep this matter in the public eye.
In the absence of local pressure groups like these, things could have been so much worse. Listing may be an imperfect solution in terms of timescale, but as I've said, keeping 2 pools is the best and fairest option so far. Personally I'm prepared to wait longer for properly planned and well executed end result.
|Posted on Wednesday, 07 June, 2006 - 11:10 pm: |
It was Hilltopgeneral who raised the issue of trust, not myself. The people who 'don't trust the Council' presumably include at least some who voted for them, and if they don't like what the Council does they can vote them out. That's what should happen in a democracy. I distrust small pressure groups who try to influence issues that affect the whole population. It's a different matter when they represent a particular group or interest whose views might otherwise be overlooked. That's the proper role of such groups.
As for what happens to the Pools, yes the rebuild option proposed was not ideal but that doesn't mean a better one could'nt be developed. If a good refurbishment results, fine, though its facilities will be very limited. I'm just concerned that the move to list the building will mean that the rebuild never happens
|Posted on Wednesday, 07 June, 2006 - 11:33 pm: |
You have some funny ideas about pressure groups Melissa. I would recommend you research Powell's thoughts on the subject (skip the "rivers of blood" bit).
|Posted on Thursday, 08 June, 2006 - 10:46 am: |
Hilltopgeneral I am very well aware of Mr. Powell's ideas thank you. It is a shoddy strategy to associate those whose ideas you do not like with reactionary (or worse) figures and views.
I happen to believe we have a strong enough democracy to ensure that the right way to take decisions that affect the whole community is through elected representatives. At least they are accountable and can be removed if people don't like what they do. Some people on this site seem to regard the Council as some kind of junta that has imposed itself on the community. People VOTED for them to represent them and can vote them out.
I still think the action of a small group, without consultation, to railroad the decision on an important local facility serving all who live here is anti-democratic.
|Posted on Thursday, 08 June, 2006 - 11:44 am: |
Melissa, on the pools issue, you said that:
"yes the rebuild option proposed was not ideal but that doesn't mean a better one could'nt be developed".
Is this naivity of yours real?
Do you really believe that if the Council had decided for a single pool then in the following period they would have upgraded the scheme to incorporate two pools out of a spontaneous impetous?
I really cannot think of anything less likely to happen than this.
Of course with this naivity of yours it is also easy to explain why you have such confidence in our local democracy and contempt for campaigning residents and that you seem to believe that they don't know their place.
I also notice that you make a terrible confusion between the role of the Council, the Executive and the Labour Party.
Since 5th may 2006 Lewisham is not anymore a single party state as people voted for a Council where the Labour Party is now in minority but thanks to the Local Government reform that gave us the directly elected Mayor we have a mayor with all the executive powers elected on a minority vote.
On an historical note I would like to remind you that 12 years ago the Council started targeting Lewisham Pools and declared Forest Hill Pools "surplus provision" earmarking it for closure.
If it wasn't for the voluntary work done by those that you so much despise you wouldn't have any pool in Forest Hill to speak about today.
|Posted on Thursday, 08 June, 2006 - 12:18 pm: |
Your absurdist arguments really do not hold Melissa. I presume it did not escape your attention that Forest Hill ward voted its remaining Labour councillors out of office in the recent election. This will not, however, guarantee that our wishes nor even those of our elected representatives are carried out.
Or perhaps you are suggesting that the future of the pool should be in the hands of the electorate of the whole borough rather than of local people? Then perhaps you should refer to Max's post above for an explanation of how our system works.
When "B"u"llock is elected with 38% of the vote on a turnour of 34% (so having a mandate of only 13% of the electorate) then I might well be justified in considering the council an unelected junta that has imposed itself on our commnity.
Beyond the "pressure groups" of which you are so dismissive what other power do we have?
Who decides what issues are properly the domain of the "democratic" system and which may justify a pressure group? Allow me to puruse your argument to its logical absurd conclusion: in the 1960s the Catholic minority in Northern Ireland suffered from significant discrimination, under a "democratic" system - yet you would deny them the civil rights movement; again in the same era black and Asian arrivals to the UK faced significant prejudice and it may conceivably have been the will of the majority to allow this situation to persist or to "send them all home".
This brings me nicely back to Powell. I was not trying to associate you with him - far from it. But as you display such systematic faulty thinking I am unsurprised the message eludes you.
|Posted on Thursday, 08 June, 2006 - 11:08 pm: |
Personally, I am not in favour of listing the Forest Hill Pools building. If we are going to have a new swimming poool/s (and possibly a leisure centre) I suspect that a complete rebuild would be the cheaper (and therefore more likely) option.
One technique for achieving demolition of an old building I have noticed elsewhere has been to allow the building to fall into disrepair and then say "Oh dear we cannot afford to repair it. It has to be demolished."
If this is going to be the case why not decide this now and plan a replacement or be honest and say it will not be replaced? We will find out eventually.
|Posted on Saturday, 10 June, 2006 - 12:42 am: |
Leaving decisions upto to our elected ward councillors is diffcult as the powers/influence they did had, now solely rest with the Mayor.
All the councillors and presumably voters could disagree with a mayor's decision and yet that decision can be imposed.
See on this link to Cllr Andrew Milton's website the letter from Lewisham's Head of Law to councillors re a motion before the full council next week.
|Posted on Saturday, 10 June, 2006 - 09:19 am: |
Just off out to use Greenwich pool, you know - the one that's Victorian AND well kept. Most of the locals I've spoken to consider it a local asset rather than an outdated eyesore.
Incidentally if any of you swimmers are going down to Guilfest this year then you should pay a visit to the Guildford Lido, it's great! I know this is off topic somewhat but in the absence of our beloved local pool I though I'd mention a few decent pools elsewhere. Highbury pool stays open late on a Sunday til 10pm which is quite unusual, I was there the other day and it's worth a detour as it doesn't really take long to get there from here, Northern line from London Bridge to Kings X, then one stop on the Victoria Line.
|Posted on Saturday, 10 June, 2006 - 11:45 am: |
All lidos and open air pools of London are listed here http://tinyurl.com/o3zb6
|Posted on Saturday, 10 June, 2006 - 11:52 am: |
Loneranger thank you for the link. Meanwhile our pools remain closed. The roof could have been repaired and they could be in use for the summer.The impact on schools is considerable, currently the £70 or so transport cost is being met by the LEA., not sure about next term though, travel time etc also impacts lessons. Then there is the Local Health Practice Referals,also older people that swim to keep fitand their joints supple etc.Ante and post natal exercise, mother and baby swims and many other groups. The school holidays will be here shortly and not everyone has access to cars. When the decision to close the pools was made ten years ago to coincide with the opening of Downham, it was not made public. How did the Council plan to accommodate all of the users, or did they think people would go to Downham - almost in Bromley - or The Bridge - the acquisition of which is the reason for the neglect and closure of Forest Hill Pools. The decision to shut our pools 10 years ago to save £70,000, to dig them out of a hole over the Bridge/B.P fiasco was disgraceful, then the second one refered to is deceitful and shameful. The Council have consistently over the years tried to drive users away from Forest hill and now they are still persisting in closure in an under hand manner. There were of course no plans for a public facility or a refurb, otherwise they would have been shown at the public consultation meetings, it is really questionable that so much public money can be directed to achieve a means to an end. When Wavelengths was built people were asking for a swimming pool but a leisure pool was provided, now at considerable cost a swimming tank is to be provided. The Bridge was also not suitable for public swimming and had to be run as a private facility for sometime, not to mention some one million pounds of money spent on the Bridge. Can we still feel confident that Leisure is safe in their hands, and that they have the ability to plan ahead, and then them is Ladywell..... What about paying over the next thirty years for Downham?
|Posted on Saturday, 10 June, 2006 - 05:13 pm: |
I' ve been trying to find a decent public pool now that Forest Hill is closed and Ive cancelled my ( too expensive) private club membership. I've just been to a pool in Bromley- Beckenham Spa. Its known as the best local public pool in the UK and I wouldn't be surprised. Its £4 a swim for non members which I really don't mind paying. Its clean, bright, clearly well managed, and above all, a brand new state of the art building. This really makes me think now about being nostalgic about retaining the old Forest Hill Pools- it would surely be a much better proposal to build a brand new facility on this site and that of Louise House.
|Posted on Saturday, 10 June, 2006 - 05:29 pm: |
PS I really think an attempt to have it listed is a mistake. Listing can be useful in some circumstances but where you have a heavy-use public amenity space where water is involved, the ventilation , heating, and drainage infrastructure needs to be adequate and this is difficult to do in old buildings. A new building is more likely to be more energy efficient and hence less costly to run. I do not accept or understand the councils arguments that you can only have one pool if you go down the newbuild option. Lets leave the past behind us and press for a new, 'green' building, designed in keeping with the area, perhaps reflecting the modernist /art nouveau architecture of much of Forest Hill. It should be possible for the Council to run an architectural competition for this at relatively little cost. This is surely the way it should be proceeding, ie with a vision for both these sites, rather than a spreadsheet.
|Posted on Saturday, 10 June, 2006 - 10:18 pm: |
Vision? From Lewisham? You are having a laugh aren't you?
I suspect that I am not alone in favouring retention rather than replacement less because of any enthusiasm for the existing architecture than because I don't trust them to come up with a decent replacement.
|Posted on Sunday, 11 June, 2006 - 01:56 pm: |
I wish we could leave the past behind us too.
I see a problem in the fact that all the people of the past are also the people of the present and are set to be decisive for the next four years too.
The strategy done by them in '99 involved closing Forest Hill Pools and replace it with a smaller single pool/gym facility and they are pursueing this ruthlessly.
A modern facility in an old building is possible but a requirement is that you have an administration that wants to do it rather than one that wants to impose its strategy even if this means impoverishing the borough.
Roz, Beckenham Spa is great, but you don't need to travel as far to find a decent pool. Have you tried a swim at Ladywell?
Don't believe the Labour Party propaganda that calls it decrepit and outdated.
It's all regime misinformation to go ahead with another wrtched plan.
|Posted on Tuesday, 13 June, 2006 - 12:31 am: |
Thanks for the useful info folks. It just seems to be the bus routes though. It seems that the council isn't doing anything to help people who find it difficult to go to another pool or gym. As I said, I am new to this site but I thought the councillors would be taking part. They made enough noise about the pools during the election - don't they think it's important now the election's over?
|Posted on Tuesday, 13 June, 2006 - 08:32 am: |
There is Dial-A-Ride and other mobility options which may be useful detailed on the Lewisham website.
|Posted on Tuesday, 13 June, 2006 - 09:59 am: |
And for the rest of us who don't have cars but are only otherwise "mobility impaired" by the council's failure to provide facilities in accessible locations?
|Posted on Tuesday, 13 June, 2006 - 02:27 pm: |
Out of interest, which modes of transport do we use to get to a gym/pool? I walk (used to anyway - haven't been to the gym for ages). I don't drive and assume I'm in a minority, although I understand Lewisham has a high proportion of non-car-owning households. If most gym/pool users travel by car, presumably that strengthens any argument for centralised facilities, rather than 'local' facilities for a local (ie walking distance/public transport) catchment area?
|Posted on Tuesday, 13 June, 2006 - 02:40 pm: |
Well, you would want them to switch from reaching a centralized facility by car to a local one in walking distance and ease on the traffic.
Sports England's recommendation included in their strategy for swimming done in '94 was indeed to have a local pool in walking distance for every Londoner.
This aim was also expressed in a pool ratio of one pool every 30,000 inhabitants.
Personally I walk or cycle to the pool or anywhere else as I never had a driving licence.
|Posted on Thursday, 15 June, 2006 - 09:15 pm: |
Today Time Out Magazine contacted me regarding Forest Hill Pools, the interview should appear in next Tuesday's edition.
|Posted on Friday, 23 June, 2006 - 10:23 am: |
Lewisham Council's website has Forest Hill Pools as a hot topic!
|Posted on Monday, 17 July, 2006 - 04:28 pm: |
According to the South London Press Lewisham Council has failed to give out information about Ladywell Swimming Pool.
See the link:
http://icsouthlondon.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0500 lewisham/tm_objectid=17380913%26method=full%26site id=50100%26headline=facts%2dwere%2dkept%2dfrom%2dp ool%2dcampaigner-name_page.html#story_continue
|Posted on Friday, 21 July, 2006 - 02:32 pm: |
For medical reasons my partner was told to go swimming 2-3 times a week. Today she went to Wavelengths but was not allowed in as it was full, she returned home without having been for a swim.
According to the local paper the Mayor has asked for consultants be instructed to review his decision to site a new school at Ladywell Leisure Centre.
Hopefully this will be a fair assessment of possible sites rather than a repeat of what happened before.
|Posted on Monday, 24 July, 2006 - 01:02 pm: |
This motion goes before the full council this week....
16. Motion in the name of Councillor Feakes to be seconded by Councillor Peake
This council welcomes the Mayor’s decision in principle to refurbish Forest Hill Pools and provide as broad a range of facilities at the site as currently exist, and recognises the warning given by its consultant that such refurbishment may well only last 10 years. This council notes the Supplementary Planning Guidance that states that the combined Library – Louise House – Pools – Open Space site is a single community use site. This council recognises the value to local people of the combined site and its potential for a positive impact on the regeneration of Forest Hill town centre. This council also recognises the importance of consultation with local residents on the future of the combined site, and believes that a guarantee should be provided that the combined site will be put to high-quality community use whether the Pools are refurbished or not.
Accordingly, with the aim of producing a realistic, long-term and secure master-plan for the combined site, this council requests the Mayor to consider: - asking officers to draw up a short- to medium-term master-planning timetable for the combined site; - mandating the Forest Hill, Perry Vale and Sydenham Area Forum to lead the consultation process with local people, to establish what community and other facilities they may wish to be available on the combined site; - providing, as part of the consultation process and in as far as it is possible, a guarantee that the combined site will be put to high-quality community use; - working with executive members and officers to investigate and secure potential internal and external sources of funding (including the use of prudential borrowing) for a) the master-planning exercise and b) the execution of the master-plan; and
- providing an update on progress towards these objectives on a regular basis to the Area Forum.
|Posted on Wednesday, 26 July, 2006 - 11:29 am: |
See this link for the result:
The Mayor has changed his mind.
|Posted on Wednesday, 26 July, 2006 - 11:31 am: |
Sorry wrong thread.
This refers to Ladywell pool.
|Posted on Wednesday, 26 July, 2006 - 11:50 am: |
Went passed Ladywell Pool yesterday and noticed crowd barriers for the queue waiting to get in, the same at Wavelengths.
|Posted on Thursday, 27 July, 2006 - 10:20 am: |
Result of our motion yesterday. We look forward to a formal response from the Mayor to the suggestions Council has made:
16. Motion in the name of Councillor Feakes (LD Forest Hill) and seconded by Councillor Peake (LD Forest Hill). Amendment proposed by Councillor Ibitson (Lab Bellingham) and seconded by Councillor Best (Lab Sydenham). Amended motion passed unanimously.
This Council welcomes the Mayor's decision in principle to refurbish Forest Hill Pools and notes his continued commitment to providing first class swimming facilities for Forest Hill and providing as broad a range of facilities at the site as currently exist. Council recognises the warning given by consultants that such a refurbishment may well only last 10 years.
This council notes the Supplementary Planning Guidance that states that the combined Library – Louise House – Pools – Open Space site is a single community use site.
This council recognises the positive impact this will have for local people and for the regeneration of Forest Hill town centre and shares the Mayor's belief that the combined site should be put to high-quality community use. Council also recognises the importance of consultation with local residents on the future of the site.
Accordingly, with the aim of producing a realistic, long-term and secure master-plan for the combined site, this council requests the Mayor to consider:
- asking officers to draw up a short- to medium-term master-planning timetable for the combined site;
- ensure that the local Area Forum and other appropriate local stakeholders and agencies are fully involved in leading the consultation with local people and are kept regularly updated on progress of the project;
- providing, as part of the consultation process and in as far as it is possible, a guarantee that the combined site will be put to high-quality community use;
- working with executive members and officers to investigate and secure potential internal and external sources of funding (including the use of prudential borrowing) for a) the master-planning exercise and b) the execution of the master-plan.
|Posted on Thursday, 27 July, 2006 - 04:04 pm: |
Time Out article mentioning FH pool in case you missed this.
|Posted on Saturday, 19 August, 2006 - 08:05 am: |
Yesterday's South London Press reports the Department for Culture, Media and Sports has decided the swimming baths are not worthy of listed status. It was said the baths have limited architectural value following significant alterations.
|Posted on Sunday, 20 August, 2006 - 02:19 pm: |
We noticed scaffolding is now up at the front of the pools. Does anyone know what's happening there now?
|Posted on Sunday, 20 August, 2006 - 08:27 pm: |
The surveyors have started their intrusive work. They should be completing their report by November.
|Posted on Monday, 21 August, 2006 - 01:11 pm: |
Is it possible that this time could be used to consider a proper future and integrated strategy for both the pool and Louise House.?
The last consultation was rather hurried and based on an 'either or' scenario and rather limited information. I think more creativity and transparency ought to be given to the consultation and design feasibility process, involving an architectural design competition and feasibility schemes for both refurb and newbuild presented to the community.
The move towards refurb seemed to hinge on two things- concern about the Councils ability to deliver new build and the reduction from two pools to one. The comparative costings as presented at that time left many questions arising.
Having been to Beckenham Spa which is a fantastic facility ( public, affordable, clean, well designed and managed) I would recommend that the future of Forest Hill pools is looked at again and a demolition and newbuild option seriously considered. I would personally challenge anyone who went for a swim there to retain their preference for refurbishment!
It would be very innovative and meritworthy if this Council were to set up a specific forum/working party for this purpose which could look 'outside the box'.
|Posted on Monday, 21 August, 2006 - 02:41 pm: |
My recollection of Forest Hill Pool is that a replacement would be preferable. The sooner we accept that a replacement is needed the more likely it will be that we will get a new pool.
But is the finance available?
|Posted on Monday, 21 August, 2006 - 09:02 pm: |
I whole-heartedly agree with the previous two contributors. Beckenham baths was very old-fashioned, like Forest Hill pool, and the Spa has brought the amenity into line with modern living. I also think it's a shame to lose a nice old building, but there is no reason why any new facility can't have architectural merit of its own.
|Posted on Monday, 21 August, 2006 - 11:08 pm: |
Lewisham Council says that in order to be able to fund the "state-of-the-art borough flagship" pool at the Sundermead Estate development comprising a single 25 m 8 lanes swimming pool plus small teaching pool it needs to build 755 flats and 1,560 sq m of commercial space (plus 320 parking spaces) and this with a £7m capital investment to start with.
Given that Forest Hill pools has an available capital funding of about £4.5m how many flats do you have to build on top of it in order to have a new facility with two pools?
|Posted on Monday, 21 August, 2006 - 11:14 pm: |
During consultation the brief was to provide swimming in Forest Hill for less than £5m.
The additonal pool at Wavelengths has a budget of £4m, but I assume it will form part of the present building and therefore share existing facilities.
At Forest Hill everything will have to come out of the £5m budget. Lewisham Centre is due to have a wet and dry leisure centre costing about £18m - £20m. Around £6m will come from the council, following the sale of 140 council flats in Deptford. The rest will come from commercial developers who will be allowed to build flats, offices and retail outlets.
From what I heard at the consultation, much of what the audience wanted from a new pool could not be provided with the budget available.
I found the consultation daft, the public made suggestions that included use of adjoining land to improve the pools, but the council said only the existing pool site could be discussed. At the same time the council published a framework document which considered the library, Louise House, Pools and the Open Space as one site.
I notice to swim at Beckenham costs £4 which can be reduced by having a membership card...cost is a consideration that may need to be taken into account.
|Posted on Tuesday, 22 August, 2006 - 06:57 am: |
I note that Philip Peake has mentioned the consultation and creativity angle in his posting of 27th July- has there been any movement on this , Philip? It would be really good to have a more meaningful dialogue. In respect of funding, has any account been taken of assistance from the LDA, Sport England, etc? Have potential business partnerships been considered?
Where can I get hold of the Supplementary Planning Guidance for this site?
|Posted on Tuesday, 22 August, 2006 - 12:02 pm: |
I agree with Max and I'm not convinced on the available budget a new built facility will compare with the state of the art pools you've seen elsewhere. Plus I seem to be in the minority who appreciate the original building and would like to see it restored - it could be an asset to the area and fits in with the surrounding architecture.
|Posted on Wednesday, 23 August, 2006 - 01:41 pm: |
I could be wrong but I believe the £4 budget relates to a 10 year guaranteed life for the refurb. Seems an awful lot of money for such a short life, sinking as it does £400k pa.
|Posted on Wednesday, 23 August, 2006 - 02:35 pm: |
Roz, money isn't a problem. £12m was spent to bring about Lewisham 2000, less than 10 years later most of it is being removed for £16m under the Lewisham Gateway scheme.
As I understand it in the 90's the council were supposed to have sorted out the roof and didn't. It would seem the Mayor is not prepared to spend the money to make the roof good long term.
The surveyor who conducted the inspection when the pool closed appears to suggest the current Mayor also did nothing following her previous report on the roof a few years ago.
I asked if the £4.7m included renovating the roof but didn't get an answer.
|Posted on Saturday, 26 August, 2006 - 11:57 am: |
On the notice board outside the Pools is an update (22 August) describing the work currently being undertaken on the "intrusive survey", which is expected to continue until November. The notice says a weekly update will be put on Lewisham's website - - I've looked but cannot see it.
|Posted on Saturday, 26 August, 2006 - 04:59 pm: |
I posted this link to a ewisham Council hot topic on 23 June 2006:
However, it does not seem to be updated weekly.
|Posted on Wednesday, 20 September, 2006 - 08:14 pm: |
Just for information, when the additional pool is built at Wavelengths the existing pool may be closed for 3 months at the start of the project in January next year. Also it will be closed for a few weeks at the end of the project in 2008.
|Posted on Thursday, 28 September, 2006 - 10:34 am: |
Both the South London Press and Mercury have pictures and details of the survey being carried out at the pools by Pinnacle ESP.
According to the report there are cracks in the walls of the pool tanks believed to be caused by movement of the roof.
|Posted on Tuesday, 10 October, 2006 - 10:36 am: |
I post here a notice that may be of interest to those of you that had to become users of Ladywell Pool.
On Monday 16th October 2006, 8 pm - 9:30 pm, at the Ladywell Leisure Centre, we'll have the first meeting of the Ladywell Pool Users Group.
On the agenda:
1) Constitution of the group:
2) Issues about Ladywell Pool and the other services of the centre including gym, creche and everything else. That includes anything that anybody wants to bring up to discussion. Cleanliness, timetable arrangement...
3) discussion on the proposed replacement for Ladywell Leisure Centre.
PS: though this is an initiative of mine this is not to be confused with the Save Ladywell Pool Campaign that has the only specific purpose to keep Ladywell Pool open until the eventual re-placement is ready.
We also just started a dedicated online forum at http://www.ladywellpoolusergroup.org
|Posted on Monday, 16 October, 2006 - 09:31 am: |
On Saturday I went to a presentation relating to the new leisure centre planned for Loampit Vale. The presentation was mainly about the choice of site but information about facilities at the new centre were given.
At meetings and in council documents the public were informed there would be 2 large pools and sports hall. From what was said on Saturday only one of the pools will be large and the sports hall has done a runner.
By chance last week I went to Ladywell Leisure Centre to audit what facilities were there. I could be wrong but the new facility seems to have less.
I think anyone interested in Forest Hill Pools, be it rejuvenated or re-built should draw up a list of what the council indicates is possible. Whenever the council issues a statement or report on the pools and anything on the list is missing don't hesitate to query that omission.
|Posted on Thursday, 09 November, 2006 - 09:13 am: |
Last night the Mayor decided to retain Ladywell Leisure Centre until a replacement has been built, which may be of interest to those unable to currently to use Forest Hill Pools.
|Posted on Thursday, 09 November, 2006 - 02:14 pm: |
So the new secondary school will not be built on the Ladywell swimming pool site?
|Posted on Thursday, 09 November, 2006 - 02:41 pm: |
Correct, the Mayor has chosen the Lewisham Bridge site for the new school.
|Posted on Thursday, 09 November, 2006 - 03:58 pm: |
|Posted on Monday, 05 March, 2007 - 12:28 pm: |
There is news about Forest Hill Pool on Lewisham website:
"Investment in the borough's amenities will continue, with projects including … renovating Forest Hill Pools."