01 July 2010

Forest Hill Pools - We're getting closer

Following two major steps forward, everything is on schedule for the 2012 opening! In April, parts of the old building were demolished. Then in May, Lewisham submitted the planning application.

The application is on the Lewisham website and the Committee is likely to make a decision on it in mid July. Following the April consultation exercise the main changes are to the frontage material, and to the landscaped areas along Dartmouth Road and the former pocket park. As we had expected, the building will contain:

  • A main pool and a separate learner pool
  • A café overlooking part of the retained green space and Dartmouth Road
  • A gym with a large fitness suite and two studio spaces
  • A community room 

Overall we are pleased and have registered the Society’s support for the plans.  We have raised some concerns including: the height and ‘blockiness’ of the café; planting on the frontage; and access. We are particularly concerned about the coach pull-in at the front of the building and the amount of space left for pedestrians. 

Some of the nice ideas for getting light into the building and between spaces may have disappeared, possibly due to cost cutting to keep the building within budget. 
There’s also a missed opportunity because there is no proposal to connect the space in front of the three Victorian buildings together – the pools, Louise House and the Library.  But overall, we are confident it will be a good building and an asset to Forest Hill and hope that it can be further improved. 

Pending planning permission, the next steps will be detailed design work and the appointment of a contractor to build it. With luck, the building project will start before Christmas. 

[Ed: The Pools will be going before Planning Committee B on 22 July]

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