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Six-year wait almost over
Friday, 29 June 2012
The long-awaited reopening of Forest Hill Pools is set for next month - marking the end of a six-year battle to save and rebuild them.
The pools in Dartmouth Road closed in 2006 amid fears the roof would collapse, and rebuilding work finally began in January last year following a lengthy public campaign.
The redeveloped Victorian pools will be officially launched in September, but it is understood will open to the public next month in time for the Olympics, which start on July 28.
Forest Hill Society (FHS)?chairman Richard Hibbert said: “It’s fantastic news for the community and we are very excited.
“It’s been a long time coming.”
Forest Hill Lib Dem councillor Alex Feakes added: “I hope the fact it will open in time for the Olympics means it encourages and inspires people to come and use it.”
Lewisham council controversially planned to demolish the pools in 2006. But it ditched the proposal after the community campaign, although the building shut amid safety fears about the roof.
A series of proposals followed the closure, including plans to demolish the building completely and build a leisure centre elsewhere.
FHS collected 6,000 signatures on a petition to save the building’s Victorian frontage and keep swimming at the site.
In July 2010, money was allocated to rebuild the pools on the original site next to the Grade II listed Louise House, and incorporate the historic front.
The new £8.9million leisure centre includes a 25m pool, a 16.7m learner pool, gym, two studios, community room, exhibition area and a cafe.
On Saturday, representatives from operator Fusion Lifestyle gave a presentation at the FHS meeting at the All Inn One in Perry Vale.
Mr Hibbert said afterwards: “We believe and are hopeful the pools will open on July 9 but they [Fusion] wouldn’t confirm it.”
All content © of South London Press unless stated otherwise.
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