Completely out of nowhere, a press release from our friends at @lambeth_council drops in my inbox, leaving me full of hope and optimism for the future of leisure in Lambeth. The months of my berating the local authority for failing to provide adequate leisure provision, now appear to have been misguided.
I certainly didn’t see this one coming, and it is indeed a time to revaluate my previous lack of confidence that I had in the Labour led administration in being able to deliver a competent public policy on leisure:
Lambeth Leads the Way With National Swimming Centre
Lambeth Council has completed a deal that will see the building of the National Swimming Centre within the borough. The ambitious project will deliver a world-class 50m training pool for elite athletes, as well as a secondary 50m pool that will be open to the public. A 25m school swimming pool is also planned.
The Right Honourable Gerry Sutcliffe MP, the Minister for Sport has welcomed the initiative, stating:
“Lambeth is a progressive borough that values sport for all. We have been impressed with the management of leisure by the local authority, and are pleased to confirm that we will be working in cooperation with Lambeth Council to continue this fine work.”
The new National Swimming Centre will be built at the Larkhall Park location, located in the heart of the borough in South Lambeth. The location was considered after the wide support Lambeth Council received for its plans to open up a temporary gym on The Rookery at Streatham Common.
Full funding from the project will come from a cooperative style of management. All residents in Lambeth will own a share of the National Swimming Centre. For a small fee, shareholders will be entitled to use the facilities at any time during the twenty-four hour opening period
The exact cost of joining the cooperative has yet to be decided. This will be announced after voting has been completed in the next set of local elections on May 6th.
The scheme has already received international support. The Portuguese Federation D’Sport has agreed in principle to use the National Swimming Centre as a training base ahead of London 2012.
Although swimming will be the main focus at the centre, a small and inadequate gym is also planned. Separate changing rooms will not be available for gym users. They will have to suffer the inconvenience of getting changed in the wet side swimming area, but only between the hours of 7am – 9am.”
I think my work is done.