As part of its consultation process on the development of Forest Hill Pools, Lewisham Council has set up a stakeholders group which meets regularly to represent the community and give feedback. The Forest Hill Society is one of the stakeholders, alongside the Sydenham Society, Saxon Crown swimming club, Holy Trinity School, local councillors and others. The second stakeholder meeting took place at Forest Hill School on 15th May 2008.
The Council has identified £7.5 million from its own internal budgets for the project. This does not rely on government or any other grants for building.
The project will include housing. They have asked the architects, HLM, to look at three different scenarios: high, medium and low density housing, with the intention of raising about £2 million from this. The more housing, the more facilities they would be able to include. Housing would not be built until the Pools building is finished.
What happens next:
· The nursery next door to the pools is expected to vacate the site in August
· An historical surveyor visited the pools in May. It’s expected that some historical features of the façade and building will be incorporated in the eventual design.
· The plan now is to demolish the pools in August. Apparently, it is costing £100,000 p.a. in security and power to keep the building up.
· HLM Architects have been appointed and have begun the initial design work. The basic design will include a six lane, 25 metre pool with an additional training pool. They have been asked to come up with three different designs for the development. But the only difference between each design will be the density of housing. It seems that, at this stage at least, there will be no consultation on the initial draft drawings of the leisure facilities themselves. Local people will get a chance to review these three options in June, probably in the form of an exhibition in Forest Hill Library. This will then be put before the Mayor and the cabinet in July.
· Sept-Oct 2008: get planning permission
· Nov 2008: Finalise design
· March 2009: appoint principal contractor
· July 2009: start construction
· March 2011: open building
This is later than the 2010 we were originally promised and the councillors at the stakeholders meeting were unhappy about this.
It will be difficult to provide parking at the pools. Underground car parking would be prohibitively expensive. Apart from disabled parking and a coach drop-off for schools, some stakeholders felt there should be no - or minimal - parking to discourage car use. Not everyone thought this feasible. Stakeholders put forward various suggestions for the development including: community room, crèche, hydrotherapy, disabled access above DDA compliance, café, exhibition area.
Date of next stakeholder meeting: 11th June 2008
You can find out the latest developments on this website or the Lewisham Council website. Regular updates will be posted on the notice board in Forest Hill library. You can also become part of Annette Stead’s email group by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org She is happy to receive comments and keep you updated.