It has been over three years since the Council chose their preferred developer for the Play Tower refurbishment but little visible work has started on the site, writes Tony Rich, a member of the Lewisham Building Preservation Trust.
Since locally-based developers Guildmore and the cinema operator Curzon were chosen as the preferred partner to the Council there have been numerous break ins to the building and on Friday (20/11/20) a fire broke out requiring the fire brigade to attend the site.
This is all too reminiscent of the disastrous fire that broke out two years after the building closed its doors to the public in 2004 destroying the second pool.
As a long-standing local resident and member of the trust set up to help rescue the building, I am appalled that this historic important building in Ladywell is at risk of being completely destroyed due to delays in getting the refurbishment started and inability of the Council to secure the site properly.
The Ladywell PlayTower has the potential to become a new iconic cultural centre for the neighbourhood.
The question is can the Council and developer Guildmore show the leadership to get this moving and avoid the disaster of the whole building going up in smoke?
Certainly these are very difficult times with many competing demands on the Council brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, the local community will not forgive the Council if they allow the building to fall into complete disrepair. If the Guildmore plan isn’t going to work another one needs to be quickly found.