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Last Updated: Friday, 29 February 2008, 12:47 GMT
Victorian pool will be demolished
Forest Hill Swimming Pool
Forest Hill Pool will be replaced with a 9.5m leisure centre
A 120-year-old swimming pool is to be demolished in south-east London despite protests by residents.

Forest Hill Pool was shut for possible refurbishment in 2006. Lewisham Council has now decided it is beyond repair and will replace it with a leisure centre.

Campaigner Max Calo said swimming in the historic pool gave a "sense of awe" you would not get in a modern pool.

A council spokesman said: "We found that the cost of refurbishing the pool would have been astronomical."

The baths in Dartmouth Road in Forest Hill are housed in a bright red building which has serious structural damage.

'Connect with past'

It was closed by the council in 2006 after it said the building was too dangerous for the public to enter.

A series of surveys then found that the damage was more extensive than initially thought, the council spokesman said.

It plans to demolish the building and replace it with a 9.5m leisure centre, which will contain a new swimming pool, to open in 2010.

But campaigner Mr Calo, who lives nearby, said this would not match the "wonderful experience" of swimming in a historic pool.

"You really connect with past generations. It's like going to a museum."

Lewisham's mayor, Sir Steve Bullock, said: "If we get the design right, which I think we will, you can have a really interesting mix of new and old which continues to be the civic hub for the Forest Hill area."

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