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Forest Hill Pools
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Posts: 581
Joined: Sep 2007
Post: #801
05-03-2009 03:04 PM

The listing of Louise House is not a red herring, because it meant that for many months the campaign focused on the ridiculous moon-on-a-stick demand to keep new modern pools within those buildings, or their fa?ades, or something. Had public backing focused around getting a pool, rather than around misguided nostalgia for some dreary third-rate victoriana, then we may indeed have got somewhere. Alternatively, we may not, as you suggest. But it still doesn't make the SFFH campaign any less misguided.

They owe us an apology as much as Bullock owes us a pool. I know gambling is a mortal sin on here, but I'll offer 5/6 each of two on which one we get first. Roll up, roll up.

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Contrary Mary

Posts: 124
Joined: Oct 2008
Post: #802
05-03-2009 03:56 PM


Re: 6-of-1, 1/2-a-dozen-of-the-other... Thumbsup and Rofl

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Posts: 29
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #803
09-03-2009 02:00 PM

A group of individuals met last night and decided to launch a new campaign: "Keep Swimming in Forest Hill".

The launch meeting will be next Saturday, 14th March, outside Barclays Bank in Forest Hill town centre starting at 11.00a.m.

Our aim is to demonstrate massive public support for keeping swimming in Forest Hill - 5,000 signatures on a new petition in five weeks. If you support a short sharp campaign to keep the issue of swimming in Forest Hill on the Mayor's front burner, come along on Saturday to sign up, collect leaflets, sign the new petition.

Join us!


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robin orton

Posts: 716
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #804
09-03-2009 03:53 PM

Does 'in Forest Hill' mean 'on the existing site'? Or 'in SE23'? Or 'in Forest Hill ward'?

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Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #805
09-03-2009 04:32 PM

I assume it means in historic Forest Hill ( read existing site ). Willow Way is in Sydenham what ever out glorious leader may say.

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Posts: 729
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #806
09-03-2009 05:18 PM

I may be telling you all something you know already, but I notice that there is a consultation on swimming provision on Lewisham which closes 20th March. Quote: Lewisham residents are invited to give their views, on what improvements they would like made to swimming and other aquatic activity across the borough.

I'm sure that was a bit sneaky - if no one knows about it, no one can reply. They will say "oh, we consulted you" and "it was on our website" and nary a word about Forest Hill.

The address is:

or follow the link from Lewisham's main page.

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Posts: 3,221
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #807
09-03-2009 09:57 PM

I would urge local people to complete the questionnaire from Lewisham. If they have not told anybody about it then we should be able to have an impact on their results.

Whatever else you say about swimming make sure you complete question 16 and I would suggest putting the comment:
We need a replacement pool on Dartmouth Road to replace the pool that was closed 3 years ago.

If lots of people say the same thing then they will have to take note or declare their own consultation unrepresentative.

The link again:

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Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #808
10-03-2009 09:18 AM

One point
Our Mayor tends to move boundaries etc to meet his desired result.
Willow Lane site is very close to Dartmouth Rd and by just claiming we want a site in DR we may fall into his trap if he decides that WW is so close to DR to make no difference.

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Posts: 29
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #809
10-03-2009 12:13 PM

Strategic Leisure are apparently the organisers of this consultation as part of the government's PPG17 review of leisure facilities. Strategic Leisure's spokesman was not aware of the Forest Hill pools debacle, and suggested comments could be sent to the Bromley-based organiser of the consultation ( so that he could be made aware of what has been going on these last few years.

Make sure he is informed before March 20th.


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Posts: 76
Joined: Dec 2003
Post: #810
10-03-2009 07:41 PM

There may be a case for the listing of Louise House. However, the consequence of listing is obviously to reduce the size of the site available for a leisure centre.

This means any centre on that site will be able to offer less activity, which in turn will mean firstly that it will be a less interesting and lively facility, less able to provide a diversity of services to all sectors of the local population, and, secondly, less likely to cover a reasonable proportion of its costs. This means a centre on the current pools will always be under review for both reason - both before and (if ever) after it is built.

Operating costs have not been much mentioned in this discussion - the Borough has not raised the issue, I have no doubt because they believe that the situation is complex enough already. For what it is worth, the Spa at Beckenham offers a very wide range of activities of interest to anyone from a three year old to someone in their 80s or 90s, from the keen and athletic to those trying to rebuild basic health. It does this while making a substantial surplus which is available for investment in other public services. I suspect that a small centre on the existing site in Forest Hill even without the listing would require some subsidy. With the Louise House site unavailable, I suspect that it will require substantial support.

The next decade is likely to be difficult for public finances, and in those circumstances, the above considerations put this project at risk.

It may be that the preservation of Louise House and the Pools frontage is so important to some that they will think this is a risk worth taking. They should not, however, assume that there are no consequences from the listing, and the retention of another old building on a site which is has been difficult from the start.

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Posts: 202
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #811
11-03-2009 09:19 AM

But prior to the listing of Louise House did not 2 of the 3 options include significant housing thus reducing the site available for the new pools?

As far back as 2005 I recall people suggesting how the 'open land' could be used, but the council and their councillors telling the public, 'no you can't use the land' thus scuppering any improvement to the council's proposals at the time.

Has anyone totted up what it has cost in lost facilities and monetry terms because the council failed to maintain to reasonable standard the existing building?

The impression I have is that many are very happy with Option 2 but there is a funding gap.

Which brings me back to the question why has the council suggested a scheme costing ?11M-?12M rather than one it can afford?

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Posts: 144
Joined: Jun 2005
Post: #812
11-03-2009 11:14 AM

The reason that the council has suggested that Option 2 costs so much is to make Option 2 look less attractive than Option 3. The ?11m total did not come from the architects who drew up Option 2 but from the officers. Taxpayers money is of vital importance as Dave Whiting points out. We should be looking at ways in which Option 2 can be made more affordable - in fact, a number of the stakeholders have plans showing how this can be achieved. But will LBL listen? These are stakeholders after all - aren't they meant to represent the interests of locals?

The cross subsidy question is just the same. According to LBL you can use Dartmouth Road to subsidise Willow Way but not vice-versa. They argue that WW isn't zoned for housing. Why then at this very moment are LBL accommodating 176 new houses at Bell Green which involves exactly this type of rezoning?

It's looking more and more like a pre-arranged set of options designed to produce a desired result.

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Posts: 3,221
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #813
11-03-2009 12:31 PM

Bell Green was not designated an Employment Site in the UDP whereas Willow Way was. I suspect that there would have been objections if all of Bell Green had been defined purely for employment.

Fortunately Bell Green did not need rezoning for residential, but it is not certain that Willow Way would need to be rezoned for Live/Work units plus residential, if the employment generated was greater than conventional employment use. Building Live/Work on this Willow Way would generate more employment than building a leisure centre on the site, plus all the leisure centre jobs would be able to be located on the existing Dartmouth Road site.

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Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #814
11-03-2009 01:37 PM

Whilst I agree the unfortunate listing of Louise House did not help people wanting to retain a pool at the same site it has been done now so recrimanations are a waste of time.
I am surprised the are building houses on the old gas works site. Surely this was an area for commercial use . How many jobs are there in SE 23/26. I would imagine a very small percentage of the working age population could or do work locally. Put the new houses where the jobs are otherwise you will create a ghetto of unemployment.

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Posts: 29
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #815
13-03-2009 05:11 PM

Keep Swimming in Forest Hill - Saturday, 14th March Barclays bank, Forest Hill town Centre @ 11.00 a.m.

We have the table, we have the banner, we have the loud hailer, we have the petition forms, we have leaflets, we have plastic sheeting in case it rains.

We need people, lots of people, to support this campaign. The photographer from the South London Press will be there at 11.00 a.m. Please come and join us then, too.


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Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2009
Post: #816
13-03-2009 11:33 PM

Swimming at Forest Hill.

Hi, I used to run the Forest Hill Under Water Hockey Team.

I am very interested in keeping Swimming at Forest Hill.

The listing of Louise House has put back this aim and may have stopped Swimming at Forest Hill.

I don't need to swim at the Taj Mahal, We seem to have , for the best of reasons wanting our cake and eating it, delayed and muddied the waters

We must throw every thing at the new proposed site in Willow Way!
Lest we delay until this option closes.

Or just tie ourselves and every body up in clerical junk.

I do not want a chat shop I want to swim local!


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Posts: 3,221
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #817
13-03-2009 11:56 PM

If you wish to sign the petition which Quetta mentioned, it is now available online at

Alan, You are right we need swimming back in Forest Hill as soon as possible but many people, including me, feel that Willow Way is not the best option and that this site should be used to help fund the return of swimming to the existing site on Dartmouth Road.

For years swimming has been under threat in Forest Hill, no more so than today. But we now face not just swimming being lost from the town centre but the loss of the town centre itself. The library will be isolated at the corner of a housing estate, many more shops on Dartmouth Road will close due to the loss of custom from people who would like to use a pool in the town centre. But I want go over all the argument again here, you can read them put very well at

It is a real shame that the two options we are now being offered are the worst for leisure, the worst for the town centre, the worst for employment, and the worst for local residents.

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Posts: 10
Joined: Mar 2009
Post: #818
15-03-2009 09:49 AM

At last someone with some common sense!

My family and I used to use the pool at least once a week and for the last 3 years have had to go elsewhere. Let's support the most viable option and get a new pool to swim in as soon as possible. After all, Willow Way must be all of 5 minutes walk from the current site and is served by all the same bus routes and more.

P.S. does anyone know how you get on to the Pools Stakeholder Group?

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Posts: 36
Joined: Mar 2008
Post: #819
15-03-2009 11:02 AM

There are significant problems with Willow Way, the principal one being that it will do nothing for Forest Hill as a shopping centre. By contrast, pools on the existing site at Dartmouth Road will help reduce the number of empty shops in Forest Hill and so bring more business and employment to it as a town centre.

Willow Way is a short-sighted alternative to Forest Hill pools.

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Posts: 1,796
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #820
15-03-2009 12:02 PM

Trying to take a step back from my passionate view about the impact about the listing of Louise House on the pools, and whilst I would love to see a pool on this site once again, I am not sure what view I want to support now in the move forward.

It remains my view that the complex interactive pressures from the various interest groups have themselves added to the problem, and potentially can create further problems and that whilst there is no mileage in continuing the debate over whether LH ought to have been listed or not, I do think that in respect of future steps there need to be an appreciation of how certain actions can lead to unfavourable outcomes. I'm just concerned that all these new initiatives to retain the pool on the current site are just further panic reactions and will themselves have further consequences that may not be desirable.

Also I feel that the expectations of the current site have been and are too high, ie a focus for ;

a) A wonderful new facility
b) Conservation
c) Regeneration of the local economy.

There are too many ambitions for this pool and for the site, all of which cannot simply be met. Its not realistic. Something has to give. The Council in its decision needs to consider the impact on the budget, the relative priority of this site and facility to other facilities and spending needs in the borough, and to come up with the best value argument. It also I'm sure knows well that the various interest groups , largely of white middle class origin, of people who are seasoned campaigners of this and that, represent the vocal minority only and not the bulk of the public whom the pool would serve. If it appears not to listen to those groups then that is largely the reason.

Basically, if the priority is to be local regeneration and preservation of the high street, then the best way of achieving this is to retain the pool on the current site and desirably expand its uses to attract higher footfall. If the objective is to deliver a pool quickly, cost effectively and to the desired standard, then Willow Way is probably the correct option.

As I said, I would love to have the pool on the current site for a range of reasons however I do not for one minute think that is what we are going to get, nor is it necessarily the best way of delivering the facility.

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