Work on a new £8.9m leisure centre in Forest Hill is set to begin in January after Lewisham Council awarded the construction contract to building company Willmott Dixon.
The leisure centre will be built on the site of the former Forest Hill Pools in Dartmouth Road, Forest Hill. The existing Victorian frontage of the historic building will be incorporated into the new complex.
Willmott Dixon will work in partnership with architects Roberts Limbrick to create the new complex which, when completed, will boast a 25-metre pool, a 16.7-metre learner pool, fitness gym, two studios, community room and a café.
Lewisham Council are hopeful that the new leisure centre will be open to the public by the end of 2012.
Original proposals for the new centre had involved the demolition of the neighbouring Louise House to clear extra land. However English Heritage listed Louise House as a building of architectural and historical importance in 2008, requiring new plans to be drawn up.
Richard Hibbert, Chairman of the Forest Hill Society, said: “It’s brilliant news that it’s going ahead, but in particular because Louise House will be saved in the new plans.”
“In the area you have Forest Hill Library, Louise House and the Holy Trinity Church, all of which are important historic buildings, so it’s great news that the existing frontage of Forest Hill Pools will be kept to maintain the character of the area.”
Councillor Chris Best, Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “This whole project has benefitted hugely from close collaboration and partnership.”
“The final design was very much the result of a strong working relationship between the architects and the stakeholder group that was set up by the Council to liaise closely with residents.
“Together we found a solution that meets the needs of the local community and recognises the limited space available.”
Mark Tant, Managing Director at Willmott Dixon, said: “We are delighted to be given the opportunity to create a fantastic new pool in Forest Hill.
“We’ve done a lot of work in recent years in Lewisham, such as Hither Green Primary School and Crossways Academy, and like those projects, we will aim to ensure our work benefits local businesses as much as possible through the sub contractors we use.”