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Oppose new leisure centre plans, urge Rotherhithe campaigners

Green campaigners have urged Rotherhithe residents to vote against Southwark Council’s proposed location for a new leisure centre, after public consultation opened this month.

The Canada Water West Resident Action Group have slammed the council’s preferred site in a “green haven” as an “afterthought location.”

A spokesperson said: “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.”

They are urging residents to fill in an online questionnaire and urge the council to rebuild the Seven Islands Leisure Centre rather than building a new centre at ‘Plot 6’, the wildlife area at the western edge of the Surrey Quays Shopping Centre car park.

Liberal Democrat councillor Lisa Rajan called on the council to “listen to the community – not just impose their favoured plan they have cooked up with developers.”

She added: “It is a nature site, it overlooks existing homes and would be partially above the railway line. There are other possible sites and I am glad that Liberal Democrat councillors were able to call in the leisure centre plans [to the council’s Overview & Scrutiny Committee] and force the council to carry out a fuller consultation.”

Cllr Mark Williams, Southwark Cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, said the council had already listened to residents and looked at alternate sites for the new centre – including rebuilding the current facility.  He added: “We have included the pros and cons of each in the public consultation that’s currently underway. It is possible to fit a new leisure centre on the Seven Islands site but this would mean no provision in the area for at least three years.

“We want to hear what our residents think, and we are awaiting the results from the public consultation before making a final decision on the location.”

Emma Cariaga of developers British Land said: “We are delighted that over 2,000 residents have already taken the time to come and take part in our February consultation and share their views and ideas on the proposals so far. We will be reviewing all the feedback received, which will be used to help inform the further development of the masterplan proposals.

“We are committed to working with both Southwark Council and the local community on the development of our plans for Canada Water ahead of a planning submission later this year.”

Fill in the online questionnaire at or visit the Canada Water Masterplan consultation exhibitions on February 25 at the Canada Estate Tenants’ Hall from 3pm to 5.30pm and at the Mayflower Tenants’ Hall from 6.30pm to 9pm.




  1. Fill in the feedback on line or/ and complain to Southwark Council
    It is the correct thing to do, go and fill in the form on line and state that you don’t want the new Leisure Center, they will try to make you change your mind because Southwark will tell you that you will be without a Leisure Center for 3 years if you wish to keep Seven Islands! .. What they don’t tell you is that Seven Islands has an Imperial Pool and if you say yes you will end up with two poxy children’s pools of 25 meters for 50 years or more!
    What Southwark wants to do is bad for swimmers and bad for nature lovers and bad for a lot of people… Let us say NO to the new Leisure Center and that we wish to keep Seven Islands.
    David Foot

  2. To all Swimmers and Nature Lovers, there is going to be a chance to question Southwark Council: On March 16 5:30 pm to 8 pm

    Do you have a burning question to ask of the politicians responsible for

    many local services in Southwark? Now’s your chance to ask them directly.

    On the evening of 16 March at City Hall the council will be hosting its first ever

    cabinet member public question time. Starting at 6.30pm (doors open at 5.30pm)

    and concluding at 8pm, the event is a great opportunity for members of the

    public to put questions directly to cabinet members on the local issues of the


    I have proposed these questions:

    Undermining Sports in the Borough:

    Here are my questions in more detail:

    1. Why are you moving the Leisure Centre “Seven Islands” when it has a

    rare Imperial Pool of 33 meters and 3.8 meters deep which allows,

    swimming in deep water, scuba, it could even allow diving boards if this

    were desired.. You are proposing to replace such a Centre with another

    one with children’s 25 meter pools far inferior and so much less useful

    for all kinds of sports.

    Is this what the Council Leader describes as “top quality facilities for

    local people” that statement is not consistent with what the Council is

    doing. Reality shows you are short-changing the public of Southwark

    giving a vastly inferior facility crucially in the swimming department.

    When London proposed itself as an Olympic venue it said it would promote

    sports not undermine them. Swimming and diving are sports where the UK

    has done well and need to be promoted, they are also the healthiest sports.

    2. Seven Islands has plenty of space to put in other sports and

    facilities and to expand further and so has the Water Sports Centre so

    near to the proposed inferior new site.

    There is no site related reason why Seven Islands can’t be refurbished

    and expanded in coordination with the Water Sports Centre. Including

    treadmills and other exercise machines, areas dedicated to other types

    of sports, boxing, judo etc. Both sites already can be developed further.

    4. Crucially Seven Islands has better transport links than the proposed


    5. In this process you are mashing up precious area dedicated to wild

    life, so it has not gone down well with the neighbours nor with nature

    lovers either. For no real reason as you could happily refurbish and

    please everybody.

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