After over a year of campaigning, we were delighted to hear today from Mark Williams, Cabinet Member for New Homes and Regeneration, that he has changed his mind about the Council’s ‘preferred’ site for a new leisure centre for Canada Water. Last August Mr Williams decided without consultation that the new building should be located on the wildlife area behind homes in Hothfield Place, Hithe Grove and China Hall Mews. Canada Water West was formed to oppose the plans to move the Seven Islands Leisure Centre and destroy the trees and wildlife on the site that is now known as Ada’s Garden.
After a battle to ensure that a fair consultation took place, residents were consulted during a series of events this spring and summer. The first inkling we had that our campaigning was paying off was during a meeting on 28th June when Mr Williams said he would consider other sites. Today we heard that he has listened to the community and the 60% of people who opposed the plans and has taken Ada’s Garden off the table as an option.
We are thankful to everyone who has turned up at events to support us, who has written to express support and who let their voice be heard during consultation. It is heartening to know that community action can pay off.
Of course our campaign doesn’t end here. We will continue to campaign to ensure that NO development threatens Ada’s Garden. And just as importantly, we need to ensure that all our members and supporters in Lower Road, Ann Moss Way and Gomm Road are properly consulted about the existing leisure centre site. Many support keeping the leisure facilities where they are and hope that as new plans emerge for the Canada Water Masterplan, lesson are learnt about engaging the community from the outset.