We’re the first to criticise Southwark Council when it closes its ears to residents’ complaints – so it’s only fair that we congratulate those in power when they do listen – as is the case with the plans for the new Canada Water leisure centre.
Some sixty per cent of residents were against the proposal to get rid of the Seven Islands Leisure Centre and build a replacement on the western edge of the Surrey Quays Shopping Centre car park – which includes the Ada’s Garden wildlife area. And this week, the council held up its hand and confirmed it was shelving the proposal.
There’s nothing worse than meaningless consultation – where residents feel that lip service is being paid to their concerns and that decisions have already been rubber-stamped behind closed doors. So about-turns like these, rather than making politicians and council officers look weak, actually do precisely the opposite.
Of course it can’t and won’t happen with every such decision, but where there is consultation and widespread unhappiness over proposals, having the sense to shelve them is commendable, and brave.