Mounds of rubble lie on the site of the pocket park. Buddleia sprouts from the superintendant’s house. Thomas Ardwinckle’s Forest Hill Baths are no more. But in late 2012 we will have two new pools, a gym, a community room and a cafe on the site.
Planning permission was granted on 22nd July at Lewisham Town Hall. Concerns remain in a number of areas. Local residents are worried about the impact of pool users parking on surrounding streets. The internal lift is planned to be one person only. The pedestrian versus coach access at the front entrance is confusing and the mass of plant block beside the superintendent's house will probably intrude unattractively on the streetscape.
But in spite of these problems, the Forest Hill Society believes that this is easily the best proposal Lewisham Council has put forward since they first started consulting on the issue in 2005. It is on the better site (not Willow Way!) and we will have two pools (only one was proposed in 2005). The conservationists are in part satisfied by the retention of the superintendent's house which, together with Louise House and Forest Hill Library forms the Victorian “Face of Forest Hill” and behind this façade, we will have a modern facility built to twenty-first century standards.