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New pools to open early

A renovated Victorian leisure centre is set to be open in time for the Olympics.

The Forest Hill Pools, in Dartmouth Road, Forest Hill, should be ready for residents to use by July, two months ahead of schedule.

Lewisham Council Mayor Sir Steve Bullock said: “The idea was always to open in September, but builders have been making great progress.

“It would be great to open the pools when the Games are going on.”

Developer Willmott Dixon said the work was ahead of schedule due to the mild winter.

Forest Hill Society chairman Richard Hibbert said: “We’ve been pushing for it to open before the Olympics and hopefully that will happen.”

Lewisham councillor Alex Feakes said: “It would be fantastic to have the pools open this summer. We will have to see what happens.”

The Victorian swimming pool site was closed down in 2006 because the building was deemed unsafe.

There were plans to knock the building down and create a new leisure centre on a different site, but The Forest Hill Society stepped in and fought to have it rebuilt. More than 5,000 residents signed a petition calling for swimming to be kept at the site.

Money was allocated to rebuild the facility, keeping its original Victorian frontage, and work began in 2010.

The new leisure centre will include a 25m pool, a 16.7m learner pool, a gym, two studios, a community room and a cafe.

It is not yet known what will happen to the grade II listed Louise House at the site.


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