A document is in circulation to consult on the temporary site for the school that Lewisham Council wants to put permanently on the site now occupied by the Ladywell Leisure Centre.
It would take three websites to comment on this document, we’ll go into it deeper in the next days. What most matter to us is a long and irritating paragraph entitled, ‘Background’.
Here the council mostly tries to justify its decision telling us things like “finding a suitable site in the right location has been very difficult” and omitting to mention the important bits:
they didn’t consult anybody on the dismissal of the Ladywell Leisure Centre
they didn’t make any study on the impact of the closure of it
once the Centre is dismissed there will be no swimming provision or indoor sport facility available for most of Lewisham for many years to come.
One line of this paragraph says “the decision on the closure of the Leisure Centre was taken in the knowledge that the Lewisham Gateway scheme, providing a new ‘state-of-the-art’ swimming pool and leisure centre in central Lewisham, is now a certainty”
As a measure of the credibility of the Council, let’s remember what Mayor Bullock wrote just one year ago:
“As long as I am mayor there will be a top class swimming facility in the centre of our borough and I am looking forward to being the first person into the pool when it re-opens.”
That sounds quite like a certainty.
We advise everybody taking part to this consultation to use this form to protest about this plan of the Council.
Report on the first public meeting held on Friday 23rd July 2004
Dear friends and users of the Ladywell Leisure Centre,
The first public meeting of the campaign to save the Ladywell Leisure Centre was a huge success and the most encouraging of starts. Those that attended now know that it is not impossible to prevent the dreadful plan of the Council.
The meeting was chaired by Ian Crosson, which gave voice to the 60 people that attended whilst Julian Meldrum did the fantastic work of writing down everything on a flipchart. His efficiency meant that we didn’t miss one idea.The meeting started with a PowerPoint presentation by Max Calò and Julian Meldrum, which ensured that a lot of basic questions were sorted out without the usual endless repeating of rumours that is so often the curse of these kinds of public meetings. The presentation touched on all the relevant points allowing the discussion to flow, be objective and informed.
The points touched in this stage were:
-history of the recent struggles of the LLC -brief history of the council’s policies in education -analysis of the swimming facilities in the Lewisham borough -description of the different kinds of users of the LLC -analysis of the council’s lack of information and consultation -considerations on the Gateway development project -objective of the campaign -strategies One of the highlights of the presentation was the analysis of the “Mayor and Cabinet – New Secondary School Proposal – Position Report” document of the 30th June 2004 outlining the reasons behind this decision of the Council. This document is unusually not part of the documents available for public consultation on the council’s own website http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/. We therefore link to this missing item our first competition. More on this competition below. The council’s report is downloadable in pdf format from this page http://tinyurl.com/4zeok
The council’s plan to demolish the LLC to make way for a new secondary school enabled us to formulate a link with the new secondary school campaign to avoid any division in the public opinion that supports both campaigns. The next panellist was therefore Cedric Whilby, Chairman of the New School Campaign, the concerned citizen’s movement that asks the council for a new school to be built north of the borough. It’s been with great satisfaction that we acknowledged their opposition to this new scheme of the council to build the new secondary school on the site of the LLC. Cedric was also present on Saturday morning outside the LLC, helping our campaign and at the same time collecting signatures for his petition. The next panellist was the councillor Andrew Milton, from the LibDem group. He was invited to join for two reasons: the first is that the LLC falls into his Ward, the second is that at the recent Council’s meeting (more on this meeting in another item on this page) his speech against the demolition of the structure was one of great passion and clarity. His informed contribuition to our meeting was greatly appreciated. Read the full minutes of the first campaign meeting.
Report on the second meeting held on the 5th August 2004
First of all thanks to everybody that came down to help our fight (we can make it!). The meeting was well attended, with a top number of 66 people at the same time and a total count of 80. That’s good news, we have improved on the first meeting. At least in terms of attendence. Improving on the political presence too.
We opened with an offer of support from Chris Flood, coucillor of the socialist group of the Telegraph Hill ward. He opened as he had to run away to another meeting of another situation with much in common with the swimming pool issue. We all appreciated his offer as he was the one to start the motion against the Mayor’s proposal on the council’s meeting of the 21/07. There were then in the audience Andrew Milton, Libdem of Lewisham central and Julia Fletcher, libdem councillor of Downham, another place where the plague of the ghost swimming pools is taking its toll. They were there on the first meeting too and have been helping the campaign consistently since. For the conservatives we had the prospective candidate for the Commons James Cleverly, he wants to help and we are very happy to have him with us. Another group to be mentioned is the Respect Caolition. Many of their members are swimmers indeed. Their enthusiasm and their expertise in petitoning and building a network of volunteers around a civic issue is proving to be of enormous value. We’re really glad to have people from all sorts of backgrounds. Politics is about real issues and love for your community. Another special mention for Cedric Whilby of the new school campaign which although exhausted made an effort to come down and help us with his experience. Anyway, after the introductions I gave a quick speech summarising last meeting’s outcome and trying to lead the way forward. And then there was the discussion. And what a discussion it was! This appalling attempt of the Mayor to get rid of the best swimming pool of Lewisham is proving to be one step too far. People with self-respect can’t take it and want to do something about it. And maybe 2 hours weren’t enough to listen to what each one had to say, but the will to do was there and an organisation is taking shape. There has been really just one unsavoury speech aimed at division. But it was enough to embarass me! It was a public meeting and free speech sometimes goes astray but as organizer I do feel responsible for what is said and I apologize. The next time I’ll make clear from the beginning that there we are to work together for the good of our community. If you want to score points, go to the playground. It is specified on the petition sheet that this is an all inclusive initiative and we haven’t changed our minds. It has been anyway just one short comment. Everybody has been very positive indeed. Touching on every aspect, from involving he community, to fundraising, to the media, the issue of the new school and many other tasks to perform, the discussion flew like a breeze. Thanks to all these positivities, we could make our way down to the real issue and we set some work groups with people in charge of them. The best achievment of this meeting has been the formation of the group that will perform the public health survey. Three professionals of the sector came forward, they will draft the questionnaire and coordinate that part of consultation. They went on discussing on their own after the meeting. That was the moment in which this part of the campaign started happening for real. A chairman, a secretary, a treasurer etcetera have been elected too. Other activists to take charge of some other survey groups have been also identified and a strategy to step up the signatures collection was planned. Name and contacts of all those who took on responsibilities will soon be posted together with a more detailed minute of the meeting so that anybody who wants to help in one way or another will be able to contact the right person and make him/herself useful. To find out more, read the full minutes here Looking forward to greet twice as many people at the next meeting,
The third public meeting of the Save Ladywell Pool Campaign took place on Wednesday 8th September 2004.
Before the meeting we opened in Ladywell road the exhibition “Pools then, Pools now” and collected there 120 signatures in one hour. The meeting was very well attended and proceeded in an orderly and productive way. All the points on the agenda have been discussed in depth.. The most positive result of yesterday’s meeting has been the organisation of the events of the 15th. 10,000 leaflets have been divided amongst us to be delivered door to door in the next days. A timetable for the petitioning stall has been also drafted. A massive number of new volunteers enroled for this jobs.
Read here the full minutes
Quick report on the meeting of Thursday 7th October 2004
On Thursday 7th October at 7 pm about 50 people took part to the 4th meeting of of the campaign. All the points of the agenda have all been discussed. We didn’t have the time to organise the notes taken at the meeting to post a report yet. We’ll do it asap.
Public meeting on Thursday 2nd December 2004
This meeting was very well attended. Despite the cold weather about 60 people came to be informed and join the fight. An outline of the next activities and the practicalities of them have deen discussed.