Despite originally being proposed for demolition under the London Development Agency’s original 2006 proposals for the redevelopment of Crystal Palace Park, the Grade II* listed National Sports Centre at Crystal Palace has now been refurbished. Closed for over two years, it re-opened to the public about a month ago after a major (and very expensive) refit.
Led by architects, Arup Associates, the works leave the building substantially as it was but the pool has been lengthened to make it suitable for international events. The diving boards have also been refurbished (this is the only pool in the south of England where world class divers can practice), the changing rooms have been rebuilt, the entrance location changed to make it more welcome, and the ventilation and water filtration systems completely reconditioned.
The management of the centre is now under the control of GLL (Greenwich Leisure Limited), a not for profit company, and they are keen to encourage local residents back to use it.
The long term plan to build a new pool in the grounds of Crystal Palace, and to deck over the NSC pool to form an indoor sports hall for 5 aside football or similar sports, remains.
The LDA should be congratulated on the project, it is just a pity that it needed a strong campaign by many local residents, assisted by English Heritage and the Twentieth Century Society, to persuade them to do the right thing.
Over the weekend, GLL is opening its doors at a number of their leisure centres for FREE. London 2012 open weekend 25/26 July