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Forest Hill Pools
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roz


Posts: 1,796
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #21
22-03-2008 10:46 AM

PS ; You might need to enlighten me as I can't recall this- was the original Ladywell Pool demolition issue/school replacement site agreed by the Cabinet as a formal decision and supported by local councillors, before the Mayor changed his mind?

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ForestGump


Posts: 202
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #22
22-03-2008 12:37 PM

Ros
Maybe I can help....

Firstly, 4 sites for a school were put before the Mayor. He personally excluded from consultation the site said to be the best for educational reasons.

After consultation the Mayor opted for the least favoured site (wrong location and site too small). Known as the Playtower site it includes a number of Victorian buildings, which were to be incorporated into the new 'state of the art'* school. The site depended on the police not putting the old station to the open market.**

Meanwhile, at a public the Mayor decribed his vision of the new school on the Playtower site, which implied there was no problem. The following month he announced via a newspaper a change of plan.

Having just spent ?1M on Ladywell Centre the new plan was now to demolish it less than 3 years later and replace it with a new school (wrong location and site issues).

And so the Save Ladywell Pool campaign was born to cries from Herod they should be drowned at birth for allegedly being "politically motivated", for depriving the children of Lewisham a school and were putting at risk the entire fabric of secondary schools in the Borough (BSF).

Herod not wishing to throw the baby out with the bath water suggested the public tell him where to stick the school. All 20 suggested alternative sites were put before the full council.

Of the then 54 council members 44 were Blair babes in one form or another, and it was decided demolishing Ladywell Centre was the best and only option.

And so it was at the 2006 election.....

But the partners of the council (PFS) were not happy and told the Mayor he was putting at grave risk the funding for secondary schools.

Thus with less than a majority on the council the Mayor looked around for alternative solutions, and behold the site chosen by the Mayor for the new school was the one the Mayor had excluded from consultation 4/5 years earlier.


*Alarm bells rings when I see "state of the art" in a council report.

**It was later revealed that 2-3 months before the Mayor's vision the police had told him the station was going on the open market.

***Most of this is written is jest but the basic story is corect.


In 2006(?) it was revealed the police had informed the Mayor in December 2003 to put the old cop shop on the market.
Over ?1m had just been spent on Ladywell Leisure centre to keep it open till the new 'state of the art' landmark centre was opened in 2010/11.

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forest_hill_billie


Posts: 28
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #23
23-03-2008 04:23 PM

roz wrote:
The more Vocal Locals, for want of a better term, are keen to see the building retained in all or in part. These Vocal Locals are usually well equipped to get their voices heard and use sites such as this. This site is not likely to be representative of the broad majority of local people therefore who probably don't have regular computer access if at all, or who frankly have the time to keep up with whats going on.


Hmmm, are you sure you are not a "Local Vocal", you have afterall created nearly 900 posts since you joined in 2005 and I see have used this forum to start The Forest Hill Society in April 2006 with only 12 members . . . of which you were elected Secretary.

I'm also confused as to why you're opinions have so radically changed since your post below currently held in archives on this forum:

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.? "


I can understand the urgency to get swimming back in Forest Hill and not have any further delays, but as the plans for the new build haven't even been drawn up and approved yet, I really don't see that, that is an issue.

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hilltopgeneral


Posts: 156
Joined: Mar 2004
Post: #24
23-03-2008 07:47 PM

All these views were expressed by Roz after her Damascene conversion on Tyson Road, when the Angel Steve appeared to her from behind a bin with his beard a-flame. Asking to see her Party card, He reminded her that she must be loyal and told her that she must trust His word, especially when it came to the pools and He wanted to contradict all the various engineers and surveyors He had commissioned. Her reward for this would be a chlorinated baptism in the new waters no later than 2010 (in the case of the new build option) and a free lifetime Lewisham Leisure Card.

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sydenhamcentral


Posts: 269
Joined: Mar 2008
Post: #25
24-03-2008 01:47 AM

I think a lot of us don't believe that the decision is final. We don't believe ethat the right decision has been made, and as the council are public servants, if the majority of people dissagree then it is right that they shoudl hear our concerns.

There seems to be a very grey area regarding the pools and the exisiting buildings. No actual scheme has been proposed, no design contest has been talked about, so how can you say lets knock down the poole without properly costed proposals for their replacement or refurbishment. Steve Bullock isnt an architect and a surveyer can only recommend a way forward. Reports are easy to spin in one direction or another (Companies do it day in day out).

Without costed plans from creative professionals I don't believe the plans for the pools are final.

Because there are no actual plans.

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Baboonery


Posts: 581
Joined: Sep 2007
Post: #26
25-03-2008 12:06 PM

Wow, you really are comparing Forest Hill Pool with the Bankside Power Station there, aren't you?

I mean, WOW.

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seeformiles


Posts: 269
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #27
25-03-2008 08:08 PM

I'm also a bit confused about this thread calling for a "pragmatic" approach. I believe many of those who want to see the existing building refurbished or at least the retention of the facade *are* being pragmatic by trying to offer some workable solutions.

I am highly suspicious about the true intentions of this council. I believe we are being railroaded into accepting demolition because this option will generate income by allowing land to be sold off for development. Who, with any commonsense wouldn't be suspicious by now?

In fact once the old building is gone I think we're in a much more vulnerable position. What meaningful guarantees do we have that we're going to get a decent replacement?

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thenutfield


Posts: 235
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #28
26-03-2008 12:28 AM

just to add to the slightly farcical nature of the way the council have handled this whole thing, it also seems they are taking 18 months (yes 18 months) to ask the people of the borough what we like and dislike about going swimming! They also want to know what are the barriers that prevent people from swimming - maybe we should point out that having no bleedin' pool is quite a big barrier!
http://www.consultationfinder.com/lewish...criteria=I

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sydenhamcentral


Posts: 269
Joined: Mar 2008
Post: #29
26-03-2008 11:20 AM

English Hertitage had this to say about the pools:

They (Forest Hill Pools) are of interest in that they retain their original pools, and ancillary structures, such as ticket offices and laundry machinery. They also make a positive contribution to the streetscape, and along with Holy Trinity School, Forest Hill Library and Louise house, form a distinct group of buildings which reflect the Victorians' enthusiasm for education and health reform.

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sydenhamcentral


Posts: 269
Joined: Mar 2008
Post: #30
26-03-2008 04:39 PM

It appears we don't like the building at Downham and that we want something better like the Laban centre.

In February (according to Lewishams own website) it was going to cost ?5 million to refurbish the existing pools. Then we were told that the costs might spiral and that it woudl be cheaper to build a new pool. This is going to cost ?9 million.

Downham Pool cost ?13 million. It was delayed by years. It ran over ?4 million over budget despite being a new building replacing an old one.

The Laban Centre cost ?14 million (designed by an internationally respected multi award winning architecture firm). Most of the funding came from the arts council. It's a totally different type of building. We wont get anything like the Laban Centre.

We will get a Downham style box and housing like this (which estate agents are saying isn't selling at the moment):

   

There has to be another way. To please everyone. Including Roz AND English Heritage. I don't believe there isn't. Just keep an open mind.

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ForestGump


Posts: 202
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #31
28-03-2008 08:53 AM

Has the meeting between officers of the council and local community groups taken place or been organised?

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ForestGump


Posts: 202
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #32
02-04-2008 07:29 AM

Has a meeting taken place with the council or is still to be arranged?

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michael


Posts: 3,261
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #33
02-04-2008 08:49 AM

A meeting did take place on 19th March. Whilst there have not been formal minutes circulated, I can provide some information about the plans the council communicated to us and other discussion. In fairness these are only my recollections but I will try to report factually what was discussed where I can.

----
There were representatives from the Forest Hill Society and Sydenham Society present as well as two councillors and a number of council officers. Discussion took place regarding the inclusion of other stakeholders including swimming groups and representatives from local schools.

The council are looking at various options that range from minimal house with minimal leisure facilities, medium housing with medium facilities, to high housing with high facilities. They are not able to include additional funding from outside the site other than that already committed by the mayor tot he project. As well as a main 25m pool and a learner pool there will be some dry leisure facilities which are will help offset the costs of running the pool facilities.

Decommissioning has now begun with the need to dispose of chemicals and empty the pool. Full site vacation will not be completed until June due to the need to relocate the nursery facilities at Louise House. A contract needs to be awarded for the demolition which is expected to begin in July.
During this period designs will be prepared for the council and there will be some form of consultation on these designs before there is a OJEU tender for detailed designs and construction.

At this stage the council have no designs for possible layouts of the site. There was a brief discussion about potential options to retain the existing facades of Louise House and the pool and although the council officers will be considering some of the points raised in more detail, the point was made that the decision of the mayor was to demolish the pools.
----

We will be meeting again in early May where I hope we will have more information about the plans/designs for any facility. In the meantime we were asked for ideas for facilities that the community would like to see on the site (bearing in mind cost constraints). I did kick off this discussion on the forum (I think on this thread) some time ago, but I would welcome any other views on what facilities you would use on this site - particularly in terms of dry leisure.

Sorry for taking so long to post this report of the meeting and thanks to ForestGump for the reminder.

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blushingsnail


Posts: 371
Joined: Dec 2005
Post: #34
02-04-2008 10:29 AM

So they're going to demolish the buildings before there are any firm plans to replace them? We'll have an empty site for months if not years. Anyone want to bet some unforeseen circumstances will arise and we won't end up with anything?

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Londondrz


Posts: 1,538
Joined: Apr 2006
Post: #35
02-04-2008 10:33 AM

Oh we will end up with something. The council will demolish the site, then it will stand vacant for a few years. The council will then claim it is uneconomical to redevelop, sell the site to a developer who will then build a mass of flats on it and sell them for a fortune.

Lets flag this comment and come back to it in 5 years to see if has come true. Infact I am off to Ladbrooks to see if I can put ?100 on it!!

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michael


Posts: 3,261
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #36
02-04-2008 10:45 AM

The plan, as I understand it, is to have initial designs completed by July so that the tender process can begin in July. This tender will include the detailed designs as well as construction of the site.

I think that if you do bet on nothing (other than housing) being there in 5 years time you will probably lose your money. I can't be sure, but the council do seem pretty committed (in terms or resources and finances) to providing pool facilities on the site.

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ForestGump


Posts: 202
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #37
02-04-2008 10:47 AM

Thank you for the information, maybe someone needs to remind the council officers that the Mayor in 2006 decided on refurbishment yet in two years they failed to present any proposals regarding Louise House. So the Mayor's decision is not final.

Was any indication given as to what are regarded as minimal, medium or high facilities?

Previously the new build minimum was one 25m pool and 20 stations in the fitness studio.

I assume on the wet side the 25m pool and learner pool is now the minimum, but are they saying the minimal could be less than that in the option chosen by the Mayor.

On the housing side was any indication given as to the size of development required to fund a small, medium or large facility?

For example at Loampit Vale about a third of that leisure facility will be funded by the council the rest by a developer, who in return will probably build 900 flats and commercial units.

I don't see that size of development happening in Forest Hill, but a 5-6 storey property may be permitted?

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Foresters


Posts: 212
Joined: May 2006
Post: #38
02-04-2008 10:55 AM

I don't think there's any way the demolition should start without a plan and a schedule of works. It's just asking for trouble - as has been mentioned above.

With the facade gone, there's the option of retaining it gone. And no visual reminder that pools need to be there at all.

How can such premature demolition be prevented?

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Tim Walder


Posts: 67
Joined: Mar 2008
Post: #39
02-04-2008 12:13 PM

It seems as if the council are hell bent on demolishing the pools and Louise House as soon as they can, and probably by early June. Let's hope the nursery children in Louise House stage a sit in!

This idea of demolishing everything and then having a think abou the new pools has nothing to do with planning or good design. It is clearly political: the Mayor wants to sweep away all the old stuff so that there is nothing left to argue about. We can then all move forward hand in hand to the bright, sunlit uplands of the Age of Change. God help us and heritage.

It is a complete scandal that the Mayor of Lewisham is behaving in this way, especially as the front block of the pools is a) salvageable and b) attractive. Forest Hill has lost a lot of its attractive Victorian town centre buildings (the station in particular). It can and should keep Louise House and Forest Hill Pools front block. There is no reason why these could not be converted into attractive housing.

I really hope that the Mayor's mind is changeable on this. He has changed his mind before in relation to other pools related developments. All that is needed is a bit of thought and planning.

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Renzon


Posts: 30
Joined: Jun 2007
Post: #40
02-04-2008 12:39 PM

michael wrote:

'During this period designs will be prepared for the council and there will be some form of consultation on these designs before there is a OJEU tender for detailed designs and construction.'

'We will be meeting again in early May where I hope we will have more information about the plans/designs for any facility.'


There are many links in the chain which could affect whether we end up with a good building or a bad building. One important link depends on how committed the architects are to designing a pool with good quality detailing. I would like the Council's procedure for selecting the right architect to be a bit more transparent.

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