We have received an email from Southwark Council with the good news that it will go back and look again at alternatives to its plan to knock down Seven Islands and construct a replacement leisure centre on the Surrey Quays wildlife area.
The email, from Councillor Mark Williams, the Southwark Council cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, came after residents were able to present their case to the council’s Oversight and Scrutiny Committee meeting earlier this month.
He said it was clear at the meeting that “members and local residents have concerns about the council’s proposed preferred location of the new leisure centre”.
Therefore, given the ongoing public concern I will look again at all of the other sites we considered, look again at the emerging Masterplan of the wider redevelopment with British Land, to make sure that we have properly considered all of the options and are putting forward the best possible option. I will then go back to the Overview and Scrutiny committee later in October and report our findings. We will then undertake public consultation on both the location and the possible design for the new centre wherever that may be, including the best possible measures to mitigate any impact on residents. While I cannot commit to change the council’s preferred site, I hope that the steps I have outlined provides assurance to local residents that we will be as thorough as possible in reaching the best outcome for both yourselves and people from the wider area.
We welcome this move and will engage constructively in the hope we can secure a rethink.
Councillor Williams’ email followed confirmation on Friday of the resolution passed by the Oversight and Scrutiny Committee, which includes a recommendation that he gives a public commitment to review the council’s preferred site plan if it receives “overwhelming public opposition” in the forthcoming public consultation.
The four recommendations are listed below:
1. The consultation takes place at the same time for all residents in the affected area of the proposed site and those in the wider area.
2. In order to reassure affected residents regarding the consultation on the proposed new site for the Canada Water leisure centre, the cabinet member should give a public commitment to review the council’s decision to have a preferred site should the consultation receive overwhelming public opposition.
3. The consultation be amended to include details of the options that have been considered and rejected, including other sites within the footprint of the land where the council owns the freehold and whether or not the existing Seven Islands can be demolished and rebuilt, in addition to the preferred option of the council.
4. The consultation should include space for additional comments and suggestions to be put forward. This would include details of the options, including full costs for all options; and possible time scales for all options