It’s a sad day down in the Southern half of the Rotten Borough, as @lambeth_council closes Streatham Leisure Centre. The beautiful building has fallen foul to political apathy by Labour led Lambeth Council. With the failed Streatham Hub project now delayed by three years (and counting,) the Streatham pool is simply unsafe to upkeep.

The delay of the Streatham Hub was discussed at the Streatham Area Committee meeting on Wednesday 28th June. That’s 28th June, 2006… [PDF]

It was confirmed at this meeting that the Stage 2 development would be complete by November 2006. Three years on and nothing has changed. That’s what happens when you have a local authority that is happy to pimp out leisure provision to a property developer.

In return for planning permission for a new superstore, Tesco agreed to help finance the new leisure centre and ice rink down in SW16. Ah, but events dear boy, events. Here comes the credit crunch, the property pimp runs out of cash and the good people of Streatham are left stuffed with nowhere to swim.

That’s not slightly true. The Rotten Borough has two other swimming pools of course. Out towards Clap’ham and the Manor Street pool is all set to… shut.


But have no fear – the Future Clap’ham project (um, a Streatham Hub waiting to happen) is here to save us! Except that the building of a brand new pool in SW4 has been put on hold as… the property developer has run out of cash.

Spot the recurring theme?

My fear is that the exact same situation at Streatham will be allowed to happen at Clap’ham. The old pool is lovely, but needs some TLC. With the preferred property developer rattling the collection tins to get some more dosh, it’s unlikely that any short term running repairs will be made at Clap’ham Manor Street.

Still, at least there’s always good ‘ol Brixton Rec and the kiddie p*** pool of SW9. Lambeth Council has a fine track record in spunking away £2m on a non-existent refurbishment cleaning up the old changing rooms.

But hang on – the Rec is set close as well this month for… a refurbishment of the changing rooms. That £2m was money well spent then.

Yeah yeah, it’s a comedy of leisure centre errors, but one that isn’t so amusing when you consider that my nearest working leisure centre over the next few months could be over in Westminster at the Queen Mother Centre. And what of my monthly GLL swimming membership? Mmm – money well spent again…

Meanwhile, over in La La Lambeth Land and @lambeth_council leader @cllrstevereed boasts of:

“Crazy day! Election planning, housing finance, new leisure centre, sports hub, new schools, health commissioning, Olympic legacy and budget!”

Only in the Rotten Borough.

Swimming became a political issue four years ago, with Lambeth Labour pledging to “Keep Clap’ham Swimming.” A dirty tricks campaign was used to win the Clap’ham Town ward seat, with fear of a LibDem / Tory alliance closing the Clap’ham pool.

Come May 2010 and the next set of local elections, the good people of Lambeth will be lucky to have a single pool open in the Rotten Borough.

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