Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Save Ladywell Pool!

Save Ladywell Pool Mayoral Hustings, Saturday 1st April, 2.30-5pm, Ladywell Leisure Centre

We've now spoken to over 1,000 Ladywell residents, yet so far, only one person has told me they agree with the decision to close Ladywell Leisure Centre and put a school there (they said they were going to vote Green anyway!). People are not happy with the gap there will be in swimming pool facilities in central Lewisham until the new pool is built on the Sundermead estate. They are also far from convinced that such a busy road is a good site for a secondary school. Yesterday Forest Hill Pools were closed due to concerns over rotten roof beams, and they are unlikely to reopen until after the programmed refurbishment. At this rate it is looking increasing unlikely that the remaining swimming facilities will be able to cater for all the school swimming, local swimming club and public swimming. Any hopes of Lewisham swimmers competing in the 2012 Olympics are looking ever more distant.

So, as I understand it, the council spent over a £1m doing up Telegraph Hill school, then when it failed to turn around within a year, they bulldozed it and spent a fortune building Crossways Academy, which left them short of a secondary school. They then spent over £1m on Ladywell Leisure Centre (a good chunk of that on removing asbestos, admittedly) and now they plan to bulldoze it and build a secondary school there, then build another leisure centre on the Sundermead estate! Correct me if I'm wrong on any of that. I'd also be interested to know exactly how the new leisure centre will be funded - PFI, I fear.

The Save Ladywell Pool campaign http://www.saveladywellpool.com/ are organising a hustings for Lewisham Mayoral candidates. It will take place this Saturday at Ladywell Leisure Centre, from 2.30-5pm. Rumour has it that Labour councillors have been given a 3-line whip to go along and support Steve Bullock. If this is just a scurrilous rumour, then, again, please do correct me. BTW, if there's anyone else in Ladywell who supports the closure of the pool, do let me know . . .

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