Showing posts with label demolished. Show all posts
Showing posts with label demolished. Show all posts

29 November 2008

Tyson Road Objection

The Forest Hill Society is opposing the latest planning application for Tyson Road which was mentioned here previously. Full details of the objection can be read here. Some of the key reasons for rejecting this application are:
  1. Over-development - 76 flats in a backland site
  2. Loss of Biodiversity
  3. Vehicle and pedestrian accessibility
  4. Flood Risk
  5. Crime Prevention
  6. Grounds and gardens that do not meet Lewisham Council policy
We urge members to email the planning department to object to this application. At present there are only 16 objections compared to 193 objections to the previous application which was very similar to the new application.

Please feel free to use the text from the Forest Hill Society objection and add your own opinions.

In related news there was an article in the South London Press last week about this site.

06 April 2008

Forest Hill Pools to be Demolished

Plans to refurbish Forest Hill’s Victorian swimming pools have been scrapped. Instead, Lewisham’s Mayor now says that the existing pools and Louise House next door will be demolished and a new, two-pool facility will be built.

It’s been two years since the swimming pools were closed because of fears about the structural safety of the building. We were then told, after a consultation, that the Victorian building would be refurbished and reopened in 2009.

But it now seems that the intrusive survey, which convinced the Mayor that this option was feasible, was not intrusive enough. A detailed feasibility assessment now states that the two pool tanks have severe cracking across their entire width in three places and are leaking water at the rate of 3627m3 per annum.

Having considered various options (again), the Mayor now plans to demolish the pools and Louise House and build a modern replacement with a 25m pool and a learner pool. Other facilities will be incorporated and we expect the Council to listen to local opinions when deciding what exactly these facilities should be.

The Council has made a commitment to engage with local groups, such as the Forest Hill Society, as plans for the building proceed. It has also pledged to incorporate some of the existing architectural features from the current building such as the foundation stone. The Council says our new pool will be ready for us to dive into in the summer of 2010.

However, many people will mourn the destruction of both of Thomas Aldwinckle’s Victorian public buildings in Forest Hill.

We will press the council to seek advice from a conservation architect so that as much of the original facade as possible can be incorporated into the new building. It’s also very important that a historical report on the building be gathered before demolition so that Forest Hill Pools can be archived for the historical record.

Most importantly, we want a good quality building in this prominent site. When the Victorians built their public baths, they had a deep sense of civic pride and this was reflected in their grand designs. In the event of full or partial demolition we do not want to see a Victorian pastiche but neither do we want a modern non-descript shed. There are many examples of excellent modern civic buildings and we believe that SE23 deserves high architectural standards to compensate us for any loss of our Victorian heritage.

Whilst we regret the destruction of the Victorian baths, it’s worth remembering that in several areas they did not meet the needs of twenty-first century swimmers. Apart from general dilapidation, there is no disabled access and the changing facilities are poor and poorly located. Refurbishing the existing building would be a huge risk since it is highly likely more structural problems would emerge in coming years and we would simply be delaying the inevitable. But we would like the council to consider if it would be possible to save the facade of the existing pool building without compromising the facilities that will be available on the site.

It is obviously deeply frustrating that several years have been wasted and this two-pool, rebuild scheme was not offered as an option during the initial consultation. But the important thing now is to consult widely and ensure we get the building we want and that more people than ever – especially our local children - get the chance to enjoy swimming.

And by making our voices heard, we can make sure it’s not just a great sports facility but also a civic building that everyone can be proud of – swimmers and non-swimmers alike.

Forest Hill Pools - Who Says What

“I tried very hard to find a way to save the old pools but there is no affordable way to do it. It came as a real blow to find that the work needed to refurbish the pool was much greater than we anticipated.”
Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham

"It's a scandal that two years have been wasted pursuing a flawed refurbishment idea, even if it may have been the least worst of the two alternatives. These better options could have been put on the table back in 2006, and should have been - the Mayor has to answer as to why they were not!"
Cllr Alex Feakes (Lib Dem), Forest Hill Ward

"The pools, Louise House, Holy Trinity Schools and the library give a possibly unique insight into the Victorian attitude toward health, education and social welfare. I feel that every effort should be made to ensure that at least the front of the pools building, including the ticket offices, slipper baths, waiting rooms and superintendent's accommodation, should be retained."
Steve Grindlay, local historian.

“What do we know of what will replace the pools? The design should go to competition and encourage architects of great repute with design of world class quality. If the building is demolished there is no going back, an important and historic building will be lost forever.”
Jeff Lowe, founder Havelock Walk artists’ quarter.

Forest Hill Pools Timeline

1884 - Forest Hill Pools built. They are amongst the oldest public baths of the Victorian era.

2001 – a management-only contract is drawn up for the pools which means no investment in maintaining the infrastructure or upgrading facilities. Not surprisingly, the condition of the pools deteriorate.

2005 – a consultation process starts to determine the future of Forest Hill Pools. Only two options are offered - to refurbish the pools or knock them down and build a new facility with just one pool. Most people who replied choose the rebuild option.

October 2005 – consultation meetings are held. There is a very vocal minority, which strongly opposes demolishing the Victorian pools and urges refurbishment of the existing building.

March 2006 – the pools are closed when the roof is deemed unsafe.

The Mayor is persuaded by the strength of feeling at the public meeting to opt for refurbishment, pending the results of an intrusive survey.

May 2006 - English Heritage turns down an application to have the building listed.

November 2006 – the consultants who carried out the intrusive survey report that extensive repair and replacement of most of the plant and fittings would be required to bring the pools up to modern standards. However, they believe the building fabric retains its structural integrity, so refurbishment is an option.

February 2007 – The Mayor announces that he has decided to have the pools refurbished. A timetable for the work is produced with the grand opening planned for 2009.

February 2008 – further feasibility studies are carried out and the results are discussed at the Mayor and Cabinet meeting. The full extent of the pools’ structural problems becomes clear. The Mayor agrees with the recommendation to demolish the existing buildings and build a new, two-pool facility on the site of the pools and Louise House.