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Eco Computer Systems businessman's bid for Louise House, Forest Hill
A BUSINESSMAN who kept three of Lewisham's libraries going after funding cuts now hopes to bring a listed Forest Hill building back into use.
Lewisham Council has been seeking bidders since last September for the Grade II listed Louise House at Forest Hill Pools in Dartmouth Road.
The building, a former girls' home, was listed in 2008, forcing the council to abandon plans that would have seen it demolished as part of the pools' development.
Now a joint venture hopes to use the site for a variety of activities including as a training centre for young people, office space and even a theatre.
Darren Taylor of Eco Computer Systems said: "We are looking forward to working with local people to bring new life back into this community asset.
"These plans will bring new opportunities for the young, for those seeking employment and training, for those with children and for the arts."
Mr Taylor, who now runs former Lewisham Council libraries in Grove Park, Crofton Park and Sydenham, wants the building to offer training as part of his computer and book recycling social enterprise.
There are also plans for a working cafe and bar where youngsters not in work or education can learn skills.
A building at the rear would become a nursery and, at evenings and weekends, may also double as a small capacity theatre for productions by Sydenham-based company Spontaneous Productions.
Eco has joined forces with the newly-formed new Lewisham Building Preservation Trust charity and Lewisham company SociaCapita Solutions to tender for the building. They will find out if they have been successful next month.
Tim Walder from the trust said: "I'm delighted with these plans. It will be wonderful to see the building renewed.
"The training, serviced office, nursery and theatre uses in this central location will all be of enormous benefit to the people of Forest Hill."