No Diving, No Petting, No Swimming

Happy New Year and best wishes from the Rotten Borough.

Um, hang on… Not quite.

An eventful Monday afternoon swim, once I had actually found a pool in Lambeth that remains open. With St Reatham long since lost to political apathy from @lambeth_council, and Brixton about to implement a bonkers swimming timetable to cover up for the cock up of a £2m ‘refit’ (yeah, right…) Clap’ham was on my SW4 radar.

Ah, but as regular readers will no doubt be aware, the Rotten Borough is about to close Clap’ham as well. Keep Clap’ham Swimming, was the manifesto slogan that Lambeth Labour relied upon to win the Clap’ham Town ward from the LibDems four years ago. Careful for what you wish for, and all that.

But it’s not all bad news. A new leisure centre is being built in Clap’ham (although all three claims in this joke of a splash page are chronically economical with the truth.)

It’s about two years behind time, and the budget has more holes that a Lambeth Labour election manifesto. But yeah, the old building along Clap’ham Manor Street should soon be reduced to rubble.

Pity then the poor fellow swimmer, queuing up in the under-staffed Clap’ham reception on Monday afternoon. It’s like the last days of the Roman Empire down in SW4, without the rampant sex and flowing red wine. The poor GLL staff are being shunted north and south within the Rotten Borough, trying to find a facility that actually still needs staffing.

I’d like to renew my swimming membership,” came the request from the customer. New Year resolutions and all that – now should be the boom period for GLL. It’s this time of the year when the cosy relationship of pimping out leisure from Lambeth Council works in GLL’s favour.

Oh, you don’t want to do that!” came the reply from the receptionist.”

Really? REALLY?

It seems that GLL staff are being advised not to issue new memberships. The pool is closing, and the poor customers will soon have nowhere to swim. Not wanting to have to issue costly refunds during the refit, Sport For All is a mantra that you won’t be hearing within the Rotten Borough in the run up to 2012.

Clarification eventually came, with the receptionist muttering some vague taddle about “we’re expecting to close sometime in the spring.”

We’ve heard all of this before of course – 2009, 2008 – same as it ever was.

So whilst Lambeth Council continues to find a ‘preferred business partner’ to help make up the shortfall in the leisure budget, swimmers are being turned away as the spring months approach.

Ah, beware the ides of March, and all that.

Election time looms in the Rotten Borough.

One thought on “No Diving, No Petting, No Swimming

  1. All very dispiriting stuff. The Council will be opening a swimming pool in Norwood at some point in the next three years. It might even be the only pool left in the borough by then. Although there is a £250k hole in the revenue funding budget to plug in the meantime.

    On a factual point, in 2006 Labour held on to two of their seats in Clapham Town ward and won the third from a Conservative councillor who was elected in 2002. The Lib Dems are third there (it’s a two horse race, etc).

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