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Elephant & Castle Leisure Centre "in severe need of investment" - council report

Southwark Council is to consider whether to spend millions of pounds repairing the Elephant & Castle Leisure Centre in advance of the major regeneration of the area.

Elephant & Castle Leisure Centre

A report on the 'refresh' of the borough's 10-year capital spending programme considered by Southwark Council's executive this week noted that it may be some time before the Elephant & Castle regeneration project enables a new leisure centre to be built.

"Faced with uncertain timeframes in relation to the regeneration project, Elephant & Castle Leisure Centre is reaching the end of its serviceable life and is becoming increasingly dilapidated and in severe need of investment if it is to be expected to continue to deliver the service safely for at least the next 5+ years," wrote council officers in the report.

"ECLC has had to close due to maintenance issues several times in the last few years and these closures are becoming more frequent and therefore more costly to the council."

The centre often has to close to the public after heavy rainfall due to the poor state of the building's roof. The swimming pool has been out of use for many years.

The report says that there are four options available. Firstly, the council could replace the centre's roof at a cost of 1 million. Secondly, a short-term refurbishment to comply with health and safety regulations would cost 3 million.

Thirdly, the cost of a full refurbishment is estimated at 8 million and the council's "best guesstimate" of the cost of rebuilding the centre with a swimming pool is 15 million.

Opposition councillors have criticised the lack of clarity about the provision for a new leisure centre in the council's pending regeneration agreement with Lend Lease but sources close to the negotiations insist that there is no reason for local residents to worry about this aspect of the deal.

The executive has asked the finance director to provide more detailed options analysis and financial appraisals for future consideration.

A separate report considered by the executive on Tuesday revealed that a project team has been set up to consider the future leisure provision at Elephant & Castle and that "work continues on identifying potential site options" for a new centre.

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