05 February 2010

February eNewsletter

It’s quite a lengthy eNewsletter this month but we wanted to let you know the latest about Forest Hill Pools and the good news about toilet facilities in the Horniman Triangle. Details of this month’s 23 Club are still to be finalised but I’ll get them to you very soon. We also have a combined spring social event with the Sydenham Society – a visit to Brogdale Farm, the home of the National Fruit Collection. So please take a deep breath and struggle through to the end…


We now have more details about the architects’ plans for our pools on Dartmouth Road. Roberts Limbrick, the Gloucester-based practice appointed by Lewisham Council, presented their thoughts and plans so far to the stakeholders group and to the Forest Hill Ward Assembly on 1st February.

The architects propose orienting the two pools in the same direction as the current pools but with the changing area in between. This would enable both pools to be lit by natural light from windows along the walls. The teaching pool would be more enclosed with a flexible exercise room above. A gym situated above the changing rooms would get natural light over the larger pool, which would be double height.

There would be two entrances, the current one on Dartmouth Road and another on the side by Kingswear House by a new cafe. This would lead to a public area or mall behind the cafe and the superintendant’s house. There would be disabled access and coach drop off in front to the Dartmouth Road entrance. There would be some disabled parking, but no other onsite parking as the site is too small.

The stakeholders and those attending the assembly had a number of questions around the parking, service access (down a side road between the Pools and Louise House), safeguarding pedestrians, the material to be used, and green issues: some of the roof may be green (sedum or grass), the pools would be covered when not in use to conserve heat, sustainable energy sources have been discussed.

Roberts Limbrick does seem willing to engage with stakeholders and the public so now is the time to make your views heard before planning permission is sought later this year. Do you have a burning issue you would like us to raise? Do you need provision for underwater hockey, for example? Do you want to be able to watch your kids while they are having lessons? Do you want separate male and female changing areas or a changing village?

Whatever it is, please contact us via the Forest Hill Society.


This was an issue which concerned a great many of us when Forest Hill Beach (the fancy sand pit opposite the Horniman Museum) opened last Easter. There were no toilet facilities and this caused considerable problems for young children who couldn’t be expected to make it all the way to the Museum’s toilets which the time came. So, the excellent news is that there will be new toilets next to the café in the Horniman Triangle in mid-Summer.

This has become possible because the Forest Hill Ward Assembly agreed to spend £3850 on the architects' designs. The designs were discussed at the last Ward Assembly on Monday 1st February and, after listening to advice from Martin Hyde of the Council’s parks department, the local residents attending the assembly chose the option which would attach the toilets to the existing café building.

The current plan is for there to be two small toilets and a larger disabled cubicle which would include baby changing facilities. There will be a RADAR key available from the café for those who don’t have one and want to use the baby changing facilities.

The council is including the full £80,000 for the cost of building the new facilities in the new parks contract and the architects are expecting to complete their work and send it for planning permission in April. Martin is hoping that building can be finished for mid-summer.

We’re grateful to the local residents and councillors who petitioned and campaigned for these facilities and hope they will make everyone’s life easier when they’re down at the beach.


Thursday 11th February, 7.40-9.30: Forest Hill Methodist Church, Normanton Street


February 25th 11.00-2.00 Nature’s Gym will continue to prepare the ground and, weather permitting, a collection of damson trees and a mulberry tree will be planted on the north side of the Green. Interested in helping? Bring gardening gloves, branch loppers or secateurs.


Saturday, April 17th combined FHSoc/SydSoc visit to Brogdale Farm in Faversham, Kent - the home of the National Fruit Collection. The aim is to arrive at Brogdale by 11.00a.m. and have a cup of coffee; do the guided tour of the collection of blossoming fruit trees (approx 1 hour); lunch in the Brogdale cafe and either browse the rest of the site at leisure or linger in the gift shop. You can read about the farm at www.brogdalecollections.co.uk

We’re going in individual cars rather than a coach but the idea is that drivers with spare capacity offer lifts to other members. Contact should be made with chair@foresthillsociety.com to let us know how many to expect.

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