Southwark Council has now opened its consultation on its plan to cut down dozens of trees and destroy a wildlife area to move the Seven Islands leisure centre to a vastly inferior site. You can find the consultation by clicking here.
When you go to this site, don’t be fooled by the council’s boasts about the shiny new facilities that the new leisure centre will have. This is not about whether or not a new leisure centre is going to be built: it is about where it is to be located.
To make more money from the broader redevelopment of the Canada Water area, Southwark Council has decided to abandon its previous preference for a site next to the Canada Water library. It now wants to build the new leisure centre on the wildlife area on the far western edge of the Surrey Quays shopping centre.
The sign above was the shopping centre’s own description of the wildlife that the threatened trees and plants support: “Bees, butterflies, caterpillars, grasshoppers, hoverflies, ladybirds, moths, blackbirds, martins, starlings, swallows, swifts and thrushes.”
Local residents can add other birds to that list, such as dunnocks, blue tits, wrens, robins and wood pigeons. Bats have also been spotted. The insect life is particularly diverse.
The consultation that has just opened is Southwark’s attempt to rubber-stamp its decision to shoehorn the leisure centre onto this site, whose trees were supposed to be preserved as part of a “green corridor”.
BUT YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO STOP THIS FROM HAPPENING!
Please fill out the questionnaire at the Southwark Council consultation site. When it asks you if you support the preferred location “at plot 6 within the proposed new town centre”, say no and tell them that you would rather rebuild the leisure centre at the existing Seven Islands site instead.
It is not just a question of preserving the trees and wildlife. The site the council wants to build on is in an out-of-the-way position, much less accessible than the current Seven Islands leisure centre site, which is served by seven bus routes and has a long tradition of being used for swimming and other leisure activities.
The community deserves a better leisure centre than the one envisaged for this afterthought location.
Please get as many people as you can to fill out the questionnaire. If you want to share the link to the questionnaire’s web page, here it is below:
For more information, read this leaflet produced by the Canada Water West Residents Action Group, which represents local people living on the edge of the planned redevelopment area. We will be distributing hundreds of these leaflets over the coming days.
Please also attend the drop-in exhibitions that are being held this weekend to outline the broader plans for the redevelopment of the Canada Water area, held by British Land, the developer of the site.
They are being held in the Surrey Quays shopping centre (in the former Apple Snow unit opposite Tesco) on:
- Saturday 6 February 10am-4pm
- Wednesday 10 February 4pm-8pm
- Saturday 13 February 10am-4pm
You can also find out more about our campaign – and how we forced Southwark Council to hold this consultation in the first place – on our website and blog, canadawaterwest.org
The trees at risk are outlined in red in this Google Earth image (copyright Google)