Green campaigners have urged Rotherhithe residents to vote against Southwark Council’s proposed location for a new leisure centre, after public consultation opened this month.
The Canada Water West Resident Action Group have slammed the council’s preferred site in a “green haven” as an “afterthought location.”
A spokesperson said: “It is not just a question of preserving the trees and wildlife. The site the council wants to build on is in an out-of-the-way position, much less accessible than the current Seven Islands leisure centre site, which is served by seven bus routes and has a long tradition of being used for swimming and other leisure activities.
“The community deserves a better leisure centre than the one envisaged for this afterthought location.”
They are urging residents to fill in an online questionnaire and urge the council to rebuild the Seven Islands Leisure Centre rather than building a new centre at ‘Plot 6’, the wildlife area at the western edge of the Surrey Quays Shopping Centre car park.
Liberal Democrat councillor Lisa Rajan called on the council to “listen to the community – not just impose their favoured plan they have cooked up with developers.”
She added: “It is a nature site, it overlooks existing homes and would be partially above the railway line. There are other possible sites and I am glad that Liberal Democrat councillors were able to call in the leisure centre plans [to the council’s Overview & Scrutiny Committee] and force the council to carry out a fuller consultation.”
Cllr Mark Williams, Southwark Cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, said the council had already listened to residents and looked at alternate sites for the new centre – including rebuilding the current facility. He added: “We have included the pros and cons of each in the public consultation that’s currently underway. It is possible to fit a new leisure centre on the Seven Islands site but this would mean no provision in the area for at least three years.
“We want to hear what our residents think, and we are awaiting the results from the public consultation before making a final decision on the location.”
Emma Cariaga of developers British Land said: “We are delighted that over 2,000 residents have already taken the time to come and take part in our February consultation and share their views and ideas on the proposals so far. We will be reviewing all the feedback received, which will be used to help inform the further development of the masterplan proposals.
“We are committed to working with both Southwark Council and the local community on the development of our plans for Canada Water ahead of a planning submission later this year.”
Fill in the online questionnaire at https://consultations.southwark.gov.uk/planning-and-regeneration/new-leisure-centre-site-at-canada-water or visit the Canada Water Masterplan consultation exhibitions on February 25 at the Canada Estate Tenants’ Hall from 3pm to 5.30pm and at the Mayflower Tenants’ Hall from 6.30pm to 9pm.