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If you want a swimming pool at Elephant & Castle, speak up now

London SE1 website team

Southwark Council has launched a public consultation on the replacement for the current Elephant & Castle Leisure Centre, including the crucial question of whether the new centre should have a swimming pool.

Elephant & Castle Leisure Centre
The front half of the site could be redeveloped for housing with new leisure facilities built to the rear. Photo courtesy @Cyclingblanche

Last month Southwark's cabinet selected the existing Elephant & Castle Leisure Centre site next to Metropolitan Tabernacle as its preferred location for new facilities.

The swimming pool at the current centre has been closed to the public for many years and local Lib Dem councillors are calling on Southwark's ruling Labour group to ensure that a pool is included in any new development at the Elephant.

Council leader Peter John said last month: "We do want to see a swimming pool at the site and we're determined to deliver," but council officers urged the cabinet to avoid making firm commitments to a pool in the light of the huge financial pressures facing the authority.

A new leisure centre would be partly funded by the proceeds from the sale of the Heygate Estate land to developers Lend Lease and by building new housing on part of the footprint of the current centre.

The council will also examine whether a pool at Elephant & Castle would be viable if Coin Street Community Builders' planned leisure centre at the foot of the Doon Street tower on the South Bank also goes ahead.

Now the council has launched a public consultation and residents have until 17 September to give their views on what should be included in a new Elephant leisure centre.

Local residents are invited to rank in order of priority whether the new leisure centre should have a gym, exercise studios, swimming pool, sports hall, creche and cafe.

"Whilst this consultation is a welcome step forward, I remain concerned that Labour's proposal to share a facility at Waterloo has not yet been publicly dropped," says Cllr Geoffrey Thornton, who represents Cathedrals ward.

"Residents of the Elephant deserve a swimming pool and residents of Southwark deserve a like-for-like replacement of the leisure facilities that have always existed at this transport hub of the borough.

"It's crucial that as many people as possible take part in the consultation to ensure they get the swimming pool and leisure facilities they want and deserve."

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