Southwark Council has abandoned its preferred location of the new Canada Water leisure centre, after a consultation revealed around sixty per cent of residents were against it.
A new leisure centre is set to replace the Seven Islands Leisure Centre, and be built by developers British Land, as part of the Canada Water Masterplan.
The preferred location was on the western edge of the Surrey Quays Shopping Centre car park but was met with opposition from green campaigners and residents alike.
Following a commitment at the beginning of the summer to revisit the proposals, Councillor Mark Williams, Southwark Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and New Homes, wrote in a letter:
“After considering the consultation responses we have now decided to go further and have decided that we cannot proceed with the location we consulted on as our preferred site for a new leisure centre.
“In October I will formally rescind the decision I took last year that set the preferred location of the new leisure centre.”
The news comes as a victory for the Canada Water West Residents’ Action Group, who have campaigned against the proposals for months.
Catherine Whitaker, Chair of the group, said: “We are thrilled that Southwark Council has respected public opinion and decided not to build a new leisure centre on the Ada’s Garden wildlife area near our homes.
“We will continue to campaign to ensure that no other development is proposed for Ada’s Garden.
“We will be applying to the council to list the garden as an Asset of Community Value – which would give the trees and wildlife extra protection.
“We will also continue to work with the council to ensure that the new leisure centre is positioned in a location that residents support with the facilities that the community needs.
“Finally, we are enormously grateful to the Southwark News for its doggedly independent reporting of the saga, which has been invaluable in making sure the local community’s voice was heard.”
Speaking to the News on the decision to scrap the preferred site, Cllr Williams said: “There was quite a lot of concern over the location and a consultation with local residents showed about 60 per cent were against.
“Looking at it again with fresh eyes we have come to the decision that it’s not the best location and have asked British Land to think again. As part of that the formal announcement will be made next month.
“We have asked British Land to be more flexible in the new plans, such as building on top of sites so it can be in the new town centre as part of the Canada Water Masterplan.”
Surrey Docks Liberal Democrat Councillor Dan Whitehead said: “This is a welcome climbdown by the Council.
“It’s only sad that it has taken the administration this long to realise what the community has been saying since the start: this is the wrong place for a new leisure centre.”