Plans by Labour-run Southwark Council to build a new leisure centre on green space at Canada Water have been put on hold after a long battle by local residents and Liberal Democrat councillors.
The Council wants to demolish the existing leisure centre at Seven Islands, Lower Road and build a new leisure centre on existing open space at Hothfield Place/Hithe Grove. Residents around the proposed site were up in arms about the way the Council announced its plans.
Following residents’ objections, Liberal Democrat councillors persuaded the Council to ‘call in’ the decision to allow greater scrutiny. The Overview & Scrutiny Committee heard evidence earlier this month from people living in the area who were supported by Liberal Democrat councillors.
The Labour Cabinet Member for Regeneration has now agreed to put the leisure centre plans on hold for a month to allow councillors to look at other possible sites in the area, including the current Seven Islands leisure centre, and why the Cabinet arrived at its preferred location. The issue will then be discussed by councillors again in October and the results will shape the public consultation on the location of the new leisure centre and other developments at Canada Water due later this autumn.
Southwark Liberal Democrat Leisure Spokesperson, Councillor Lisa Rajan, said:
“It’s good news that the Labour council is finally listening to our concerns about the location of the Canada Water leisure centre.
“There are so many unanswered questions about the Council’s preferred site and its environmental and safety impacts. It is only right that all this information is out in the open so everyone can see how decisions were reached and discuss possible alternative sites.
“It is a shame that Liberal Democrat councillors had to drag the Cabinet Member kicking and screaming through the scrutiny process to get this information. All this information should have been included in the first place. I hope that the Council will learn lessons about genuine consultation and how decisions are made with the community.
“Liberal Democrats will continue to fight residents’ corner and ensure their voice is heard. The Canada Water regeneration is a massive scheme to change the local area and residents deserve to be involved every step of the way.”