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Elephant and Castle Leisure Centre Project Consultation

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Thursday 7 October 2010 12.37pm
I agree TAK - or at least I would like to see them ask someone to investigate it further.

And it's a reduction from 8 badminton courts (and 2 squash courts) to 4 or even 0 courts. Swimming pool, yes - loss of other important lesiure facilities, not if you can help it please.
Thursday 7 October 2010 2.38pm
graham wrote:
Leisure centre was left out the deal with Lend Lease.
New centre will replace six badminton courts with four, no room for squash courts, site is too small to accommodate like-for-like with housing on the site.

That's actually referring to 'Scheme A' I think. There was also a 'Scheme B' which I was told was unlikely. I think B didn't have the sports hall so even more land was available for residential development to basically finance it all.

In the meeting people also ask if section 106 money could be obtained from future Heygate development and I think the council is meant to look into this. Only issue I can see with this is that the pool is probably built before the Heygate is redeveloped, so not sure how one would be able to obtain section 106 money for something that's not there yet?

Maybe a link to this thread could be sent to the council? - this could be additional interesting information for them to be included in their consultation closing tomorrow....

Also, if you feel passionate about this you can send an email to the people stating your view without being restricted by any tick boxes.
Thursday 7 October 2010 3.18pm
I'm sorry I wasn't able to make it - sounds like they are being very unambitious and inflexible. It's perfectly possible to build housing on top of a leisure centre.

One thought since my earlier posts was that doesn't the Musco Centre go on the back of this site? Perhaps that's an issue. Was it mentioned?
Thursday 7 October 2010 5.06pm
TAK / James, you might find this paper interesting:

I have written a fairly comprehensive note on the issue incorporating a lot of the ideas contained in this thread (whether it does any good or not!).
Friday 8 October 2010 12.28pm
Thanks that was interesting. I still don't quite get it...
Friday 8 October 2010 1.48pm
Thanks Neil,

interesting read.
However, I still don't know who's prepared this report and the basic design so far? Is it the council department, or Make Architects or someone completely different?

Wouldn't it be sensible to have an architectural competition to harvest new ideas and see what different offices come up with before actually defining location of uses? I think that's what's usually done on the continent for public buildings like this.
Maybe some cleaver thinking could increase the amount of residential units whilst still maintaining a full, state of the art leisure centre?

Also just realised the shard will have a pool on the 52nd floor - so that's super stacked up. Stacking might be somewhat more expensive to build, but if it meant more flats can be built this should actually provide more money coming in, making the total bill in effect cheaper.
Tuesday 16 November 2010 11.07am
The report on the consultation has now been tabled in the papers for next week's cabinet meeting:

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Saturday 14 May 2011 2.08pm
The minutes of Cllr Colley's interview with the overview and scrutiny committee on 21 March have now been published:

"5.16 Members asked whether the new leisure centre would contain squash courts, bearing in mind that the existing courts were the only ones in this part of the borough. Councillor Colley replied that this was still being looked at and would depend on what could be fitted into the smaller footprint of the new centre. It was possible that squash courts could be provided as part of the redevelopment around Millwall. Steve Platts stressed that the centre needed to be kept affordable and within budget, including the capital allocation. The final design had not yet been agreed and was out to consultation. Provision of a cafe was important in terms of commercial viability but it was debatable whether this had to be within the building itself. All options were being considered.

5.17 Members asked how revenue costs of running the leisure centre would be kept down. Councillor Colley stated that both revenue and capital costs needed to be monitored. Steve Platts suggested that the key was the anticipated visitor numbers. Fusion was expecting this to be Southwark’s most used centre and the key money maker would be the gym."

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Saturday 14 May 2011 4.13pm
It's so depressing that regeneration actually means a net loss of sports facilities. It's not just the squash courts but an entire sports hall as well. I suppose the sums dont add up to anything else but I hope all possible solutions are being entertained.
Saturday 14 May 2011 7.10pm
I'm furious about this actually - even though I have never even tried to play squash!

Fact is, in the early regeneration manifesto it was stated that with this regeneration program the aim was to make Elephant and Castle (again) a destination where people travel to instead of only traveling through. In order for people to come / stop here and stay for a few hours at the Elephant it's essential to offer something - only half baked facilities will not be a big draw.
We need a variety of facilities that complement each other. How convenient would it be if the elephant was a real one stop shop? You could go to the gym, have coffee, do your shopping, have dinner followed by a movie and drinks? Now that would be regeneration I think. I feel the problem is with every little bit we're loosing from the original plans the entire masterplan is suffering and eventually could well reach the point where it breaks the balance. Lot's of little omission will add up eventually.

As for no space for squash courts: In the worst case, the centre or parts of it could have been put into basement levels ensuring there is enough space for squash halls too. Think of YMCA at Tottenham Court Road for example, which has a few basement floors containing parking and YMCA gym, restaurants on ground floor, a casino on first floor and about 10 floors of hotel accommodation above. I don't believe for a minute that possible options have been maxed out for our new leisure centre.

The other worry I have about the current 'clever' solution of selling off half the land to finance the centre is that it's an incredibly short sighted plan. What's gonna happen in 20 years time when the centre needs to be refurbished? And surely it is not rocket science that this will be required eventually. No more land will be available to sell. Once the family silver is sold, there will be nothing left.
I am aware that not much money is available at present, but I wonder why was nothing put aside during the good years? The pool has been closed in excess for 12 years. During that time a nice little sum could have been saved up....

Finally, I do wonder at times whether some politicians actually are more interested to blame other parties and make them look bad than actually focusing in getting problems solved and progress ahead. Is it just me or do other people also not like to read when various parties blame each other in the press? I always think shouldn't they be constructive instead of adopting a play ground attitude?
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