#City & Town Planning
London Borough of Lewisham
United Kingdom

Forest Hill Pools in Dartmouth Road, Forest Hill in the London Borough of Lewisham were the oldest continuously used swimming pools in the United Kingdom until their closure due to problems with the roof in 2005. They were a popular and well used local facility.

They have remained closed since then while the Mayor of Lewisham, Sir Steve Bullock, and his Cabinet took a decision about their future. In February 2008 the council decided that refurbishment was not viable. The current plan is for the pools to be completely demolished in about July 2008. As part of the current plan the neighbouring Victorian former Girls' Industrial Home known as Louise House will also be demolished. The council's intention is to reuse the whole site and to partially fund the new pool by allowing a developer to build housing on part of the site.

The objections to this are:

1) No consideration is being given to retaining any part of the historic buildings and Victorian streetscape. Attempts to persuade the council to look at draft plans which would seek to incorporate or reuse parts of the historic structures have been completely ignored.

2) Demolition is taking place before any new plans or designs are published. Local people will know what they are losing, but not what they are getting.

3) No architectural competition is taking place to ensure good design of the new building (whether reusing historic structures or not).

This petition appears to have met with success in its limited aim: to prevent immediate demolition. The Council has undertaken not to demolish the buildings before September. However, they have now published three alternative options for the site which can be viewed at http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/CouncilAndDemocracy/HavingYourSay/RedevelopmentOfForestHillPools/

All of these options involve demolition of all of the heritage buildings. A new campaign called Save the Face of Forest Hill has started to ask the Council not to demolsih these buildings at all, but to incorporate them in designs for new pools. For details see the new petition at http://www.gopetition.com/online/20563.html.

We, the undersigned, welcome the news that Lewisham Council aim to build a new pool at Forest Hill but demand that there be no demolition of the existing swimming pool frontage or Louise House until a full public consultation, which considers a number of designs and layouts, has been concluded.

The No Demolition Without Designs petition to London Borough of Lewisham was written by Tim Walder and is in the category City & Town Planning at GoPetition.