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Lambeth Council moving to Vauxhall?

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Thursday 24 March 2005 3.29pm
Does anyone know for sure which building they will be moving from? I would lay a small wager that the answer is 'international house' on Canterbury Crescent.

Why do I think this? Well, I'm putting 2 and 2 together to make 5, but a few months ago there was a little item in the South London Press wherein Lambeth Council leader Jim Truesdale was quoted as saying that Brixton Rec was in need of so much work and so substandard, that it would be better to sell it and build a new one (I believe the Somerleyton Road site was mentioned). Now, being aware that the council own International House, the Rec, AND the Pope's Road car park, and that this is probably the only site in central Brixton on which one could feasibly get consent for a twenty or more storey tower, it all seems to fall into place. Another moneymaking, 'sell the family silver' operation in the making?

I'm not fussed about International House or the car-park, but anyone who tries to tell me that a new build leisure centre will be any better equipped, better built, etc, etc than the current Rec will get short shrift. The Rec must be defended (although the operators are fair game!).
Saturday 26 March 2005 9.15am
I have also read, perhaps in Lambeth Life, that the Clapham Manor Leisure Centre is under threat. Perhaps the aim will be to close two and simply have one.

Clapham Manor is a great old-fashioned building with a straight forward swimming pool, eg rectangular with a deepend and balconies either side. I suspect it can be argued that the facilities are out of date, but there is a lot going on: gymnastics; street dancing for six year olds; and so on. Prices for swimming classes at about half of those charged at the Latchmere in Battersea, and the centre is well run and serves the whole community. (Swimming classes at the Latchmere, though good, are depressingly white and middle class as 100+ a term per child, and then the entrance fee if the mother or carer wants to go swimming as well, is realy a lot of money. Plus the pool is really unsuited to anyone who is not a beginner.)

I am far from convinced, having seen a presentation a year or so back, that the new Doon Street pool/leisure centre will be much more than a facility serving
the immediate residential population and workers from both sides of the river. In part because it is so inaccessible for so many of us. (Or are they going to extend the RV1 bus route to Vauxhall?) I hope that the people who made the decision to place the leisure centre there, rather than at the Elephant, will bear in mind our needs when it comes to deciding the future of the Clapham and Brixton Centres.

Personally I find the side entrance in Brixton, where you have to run the gamut of sleasy looking dealers, even on a Sunday afternoon, off-putting. And, though it is some time ago, the fact that the woman 'supervising' the soft play area sat outside talking to a friend and did not enter the whole time I was there. Small kids do get injured in these areas especially if there are boisterous larger ones. My friend and I spent the whole time clambering in to rescue our toddlers. Plus the whole place appeared filthy. Never again.



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