Forest Hill pool rebirth

Mayor Bullock has abandoned plans to build a swimming pool on a new site in Forest Hill, choosing instead to create a new facility on the site of the existing Forest Hill Pool. The project will ensure that the historic facade is retained and that swimming facilities are restored to the area as quickly as possible.

At a meeting last night, the Mayor and cabinet considered the results of the consultation and opted for the existing site on the basis that it minimised the risk of delay and should ensure a new swimming pool by 2012.

The project will involve some death masking - retaining the frontage of the building but redeveloping the rest of the site, to create two new pools. On his website, Mayor Bullock writes:

"In the present circumstances of uncertainty about the funding of future public services across the country I was minded to take a decision that had the lowest possible level of risk attached to it. The Willow Way option was the best financially and had significant support in the consultation. However there was a greater degree of risk involved in achieving planning agreement for a development on that site as there is no previous leisure use. The Dartmouth Road site offers very few planning issues but requires an additional capital sum.

"In the interest of moving quickly and with as much certainty as possible to get swimming going again in Forest Hill in decided to increase yet again the sum allocated in order to proceed immediately with a new facility on the Dartmouth Road site."

The decision follows an extremely active campaign in the local area to save Forest Hill Pool and the result has been welcomed by the Forest Hill Society.

Slowly, but surely, Lewisham is reducing its leisure facilities deficit.