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Forest Hill Pool
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ForestGump


Posts: 202
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #141
05-03-2008 02:36 PM

Sometimes you have to look at reports not related to the pools for some answers., I found this today.

The following are answers by Hilary Renwick (Head of Cultural Services) to questions in October 2006 regarding the Library.

Quote:
Couldn?t a combined heat and power solution for the whole Louise House complex, including the pools be found?

A detailed surveyor?s report upon Forest Hill Pools is expected to be received by the Council at the end of the month. At that stage, the Council would look at those recommendations and also at the whole site holistically to see if any economies or synergies present themselves. (Hilary Renwick)

What will happen to Louise House?

That is very much tied up with the future of the pools. (Hilary Renwick)


The report referred to is the Intrusive Survey.

The answers confirm the council were treating the 3 sites as a whole, while not allowing the public to do the same.

Originally the scheme was restricted to only the pool site, because of that the retention of the frontage of the pools was said to be a problem. Now the site is larger and Louise House were demolished could the frontage of the pools now be retained?

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forest_hill_billie


Posts: 28
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #142
05-03-2008 03:28 PM

I saw the Mayor at a school event yesterday, he advised me that if we wanted to keep the building in its existing format we would have to lose the swimming pools and they would have to fill in the holes underneath.

He also said that they were going to use the Louise House site to build housing so as to fund the project, but I didn't get a chance to ask him why the money for this project couldn't be funded in a different way, so we could retain the building and have a swimming pool on Louise House and incorporate the building at the same time.

I have worked on a number of hotel refurbishments in the past and I would have thought that there would be some way to firm costs for a project such as this, rather than just opt for demolition.

I am strongly against demolition, (especially of the frontage). Modern does not necessarily mean better, The Bridge being a prime example, where the water is slimey, the changing rooms dirty and the locks don't work because all the keys have been stolen, the building is already very tatty and extremely uninspiring. (there is also no creche, unlike our neighbours at Beckenham Spa, where the existing building and site has been very successfully modernised)

Also it was such a shame that when Forest Hill Sports Centre was built that they didn't include a pool, there used to be an open air one which utilised one of the playgrounds! But that was built in the 1960's, and obviously being more forward thinking we do things much better now.

Wink

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michael


Posts: 3,221
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #143
05-03-2008 04:59 PM

forest_hill_billie Wrote:
He also said that they were going to use the Louise House site to build housing so as to fund the project


This better not be the case. One of the benefits of using Louise House is to improve the integration between the library and pool. Building housing on Louise House would break this continuity and would not fit well in the site.

My understanding was that the pocket park on the other side of the pool would be partially used for house, aligned with Kingswear House. In front of this they would be able to extend the green area so that there is an open communal area from here to Thorpewood Avenue.

I hope you misunderstood the mayor or that he has misunderstood the situation.

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forest_hill_billie


Posts: 28
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #144
05-03-2008 05:45 PM

I asked specifically about building houses on Louise House, and he did say that it was to raise funding because a project like this was very costly.

Without wishing to mis-quote anyone, especially as the conversation took place in a crammed hall maybe further clarification could be obtained as to exactly where the houses will be?

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Sandy67


Posts: 48
Joined: Dec 2007
Post: #145
07-03-2008 04:00 PM

i also read that they were going to build "low cost housing" on the site Rolleyes

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ForestGump


Posts: 202
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #146
08-03-2008 12:58 PM

As there a number of architects and such like on the forum, could anyone give an idea what size plot would fetch ?2m in that part of Forest hill and how many properties would a developer expect to have to build to make a profit?

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Tim Walder


Posts: 67
Joined: Mar 2008
Post: #147
10-03-2008 09:54 PM

I am an active member of the Victorian Society. It is clear from the current options report that full demolition of all of the pools and Louise House is the preferred option. This is quite scandalous. Louise House is about to be bulldozed purely to enable the council to use the receipts from flats to partially fund the pools rebuild. There is nothing wrong with Louise House and it forms part of a group of buildings which togther make up the historic heart of Forest Hill.
The pools are more difficult because of the problems with the roof (solveable) and the pools (more tricky). The interior of the pools has been substantially altered in the 1960s.
My preferred option would be to retain the facade (which is the most striking and best preserved part of the building) and rebuild new pools behind. This kind of thing is very common practice in central London and is not limiting at all: there is land to the left and right of the facade which could be used to create DDA compliant entrances and the like.
The council do seem to be hell bent on getting rid of this building, despite its many virtues, all for the sake of the extra ?200,000 it would cost to keep the facade.
I have written to the Secretary of State for CMS, the Culture Secretary, the Mayor of London, the Mayor of Lewisham, the Victorian Society, SAVE, our MP and MEP and local councillors proesting about the proposed demolition but am not hopeful. The man at SAVE did some enquiries and apparently Lewisham have sought and got permission to demolish the building from DCMS already.
Who is prepared to campaign on this?

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roz


Posts: 1,795
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #148
10-03-2008 10:23 PM

I like to think of myself as a fully paid up member of the 21st Century Society!

If there is a campaign of the nature described above it will only serve to further frustrate and delay the reprovision of swimming facilities for local people, including many children. The demolition and newbuild option is unfortunately the only viable option. If the buildings were of any merit or distinction, their conservation and either full or partial retention would be a completely different matter.

With the greatest respect, people who are intent on saving an old building need to make a distinction between one with a benign future such as a library or a museum, and one which needs to be a pool, which is a much heavier use, resulting in a lot of wear and tear, with considerable infrastructure and environmental demands, all in the context of energy efficiency and value for money.
The concept of facade retention is also a very expensive one and as I see it not justifiable in public expenditure terms. I'm not sure where the figure of ?200k extraover came from - in my experience facade retention severely limits design options and its my estimation that to this would probably add on a further million and several months on the programme.

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grahamw


Posts: 58
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #149
11-03-2008 01:57 PM

Tim Walder Wrote:
My preferred option would be to retain the facade (which is the most striking and best preserved part of the building) and rebuild new pools behind. This kind of thing is very common practice in central London and is not limiting at all: there is land to the left and right of the facade which could be used to create DDA compliant entrances and the like.


I thought facades were usually retained (and built behind) when the facade (but not interior) was listed, or in a conservation area where the facade is considered to be a material asset to the character of the conservation area. The Pool isn't considered worthy of listing (by English Heritage) and isn't in a conservation area.
Keeping only the facade would impose considerable practical and financial restrictions on the future development of the pools, as well as producing a final building that was neither a great Victorian building, nor a fine piece of contemporary architecture.

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Tim Walder


Posts: 67
Joined: Mar 2008
Post: #150
16-03-2008 10:05 PM

The figure of ?200,000 comes from the council's own options report. Given that they seem quite hostile to the idea of a new building behind the old facade, and that the report was written mainly by a firm of achitects who work mainly with new build (Deptford Wavelengths extension), I assume it is reliable.

Just because I value the past does not mean I am an old fogue. And yes, I do have young children too, and swimming is our favourite sport. Whatever happens we will be swimming weekly in Forest Hill Pools. I live in the 21st century too and the best architectural practice is often to work with the (good) old and not just sweep it away. I accept the fact that the old pools leak and that repairing them will not be cost effective in the long run.

What I do not accept is that the old facade is bad Victorian architecture. If you ignore the fact that it is tatty (which could easily be remedied) it is a nice example of the Queen Anne revival style. The detailing on the brickwork is attractive and whole has an interesting rhythm and an imposing quality. I think most people who dismiss it do so because it is so familiar and is currently undermaintained.

The facade should not go: it can easily be worked with. The proposal to demolish Louise House is equally sad. This building is not outstanding in itself, but there is nothing wrong with it and it has some historical and social interest and could easily be incorporated or reused. Its fate is simply to provide a site for an enabling development to fund the pools.

The hope that any new pool will be outstanding is a forlorn one. I do not doubt that a wonderful new pool could not be designed by a leading architect. But we won't get that: look at the new extension at Deptford Wavelengths. It is OK but it is not outstanding by any stretch. The Bridge is an architectural mess.

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grahamw


Posts: 58
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #151
19-03-2008 07:27 PM

I didn't say that the facade wasn't 'nice' - which it is - nor did I make a judgement about whether the pool (as a whole) should be kept. My point was that (in my opinion) keeping a facade whilst demolishing the rest of the building would be a compromise.
Actually I think the worst possible outcome would be a retained facade - it would make it more likely that a cheap shed is hidden behind it.

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sydenhamcentral


Posts: 269
Joined: Mar 2008
Post: #152
22-03-2008 01:58 PM

It would be worth checking to see if the council are getting any grants for the new building. There is pressure on councils to provide new housing. The Eu give out grants for new builds but not for converting and renovating existing buildings.

I haven't heard anything about this yet. I had a similar set of circumstances when I lived in Devon and was shocked at the red tape in such affairs. More was spent on consultations and legal fees than the demolition of the building (in this instance a 1920's theatre on the seafront). The costs of the new building spiraled out of control and is universally hated, poorly thought out and has very poor workmanship. Not so much that architects fault asn the 'design my comittee' approach taken by the council.

So I'd like to ask the council: Are you getting any extra grants or funding by knocking down the pools and building on a brownfield site? Are you getting any extra grants or funding by building new homes on a brownfield site? This is something the office of the deputy prime minister is trying to promote.

Lastly, why hasn't there been a design competition for this? They did it with the bridge between the Tate modern and St Pauls. We have some of the best designers and architects in the world. Architects could propose costed schemes that look at both replacing the baths or using the existing facade (which I'd favour, especially if contrasted with some form of modern extension to contrast with the old building). Then the public could vote for the favoured design and we bypass all the council expensive, lengthy consultations and just get on with the job.

Look at the buildings that adapt existing facades: Tate Modern, the Oxo Tower, St Pancreas, Butlers Wharf. Or would you rather have a wavelengths brick box?

If the pools are knocked down, they are gone. You are left with whatever replaces them for your lifetime. Isn't that important?

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seeformiles


Posts: 269
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #153
22-03-2008 07:20 PM

I think the facade at least should be kept. Be very careful what you wish for...as the writer above says, once this unique building is gone, it's gone forever. As someone who watched the farce of the Stoke Newington pools unfold, I know that councils promise much that they end up not delivering.
I'm totally against losing the old building but realise I'm outnumbered. Shame, I was one of the hardcore who used the pool through thick and thin and supported it because I was worried it would get torn down one day, and now it is. We're going to lose an irreplaceable part of FH's history and for that reason I'm very sad about it all.

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sydenhamcentral


Posts: 269
Joined: Mar 2008
Post: #154
23-03-2008 10:53 AM

According to the poll you are in the majority if you want to keep the look of the building.

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