Yep, two months behind schedule following the “absolute guarantees” from the Cabinet Member for Culture and Communities of a mid-March re-opening, but yep – the re-re-re-opening of Brixton Rec is now a reality.
And so what of the new facilities? I took a sneaky backstage tour a couple of weeks ago. The general layout remains as described in my previous post. More important though is how the architectural planning is actually bedding down in Brixton.
It’s very early days, but the early signs are promising. The changing rooms are sign posted very clearly – ladies, gents and families. The showers are superb – a genuine power shower experience.
We’ve regained the lost urinals at the top end of the gents that were mysteriously boarded up following the 2007 refurbishment. Space has been lost to the family changing area. The uncomfortable moments of having to share a gents changing room with fathers and their young female daughters is thankfully finally removed.
The complete re-tiling of both the floors and the walls look flash, but not for long. The area became extremely dirty during my brief time in the pool, not to mention incredibly slippery. I give it a week before an accident, or matting is put down.
So yeah – a positive experience, and one that was just about worth the wait. What it all means is that the Rec is now open during the daytime, with the bonkers 7am – 9am only public swimming timetable now consigned to a crazy period during the turbulent times at Brixton Rec.
The new changing rooms are far from perfect, but anything is going to be better than the “third-world” experience that was the hellhole of the temporary shoebox arrangements.
But that’s not the end of the story. The art installation at the front of the building is… running behind schedule. It leaves the Rec looking rather woeful from the exterior. I remain sceptical about how putting up giant fairy lights will improve the leisure experience, but hopefully it will make Station Road something of a safer environment.
And so two months behind schedule, and just in time for *ahem* May 6th, Brixton Rec is back in business. Just in time before I bugger off to @BrockwellLido for the summer seasom as well.
But Wait! The Lido season has also been delayed until May 7th, due to “technical difficulties.”
Doncta just love leisure in Lambeth…
Meanwhile, a separate totally bonkers Brixton Rec story has come my way. You may remember my Swim From Hell in the darkness of Brixton Rec last weekend. In all the confusion and fumbling around, I forgot to blog about the bonkers robed up dudes that were splashing around in the teaching pool.
Nope, it wasn’t a lifeguard training session for men who enjoy wearing purple robes that wouldn’t look out of place on a Dr Who set, but a mass baptism by the Evangelical Church of Brixton.
My main gripe was in allowing valuable pool space to be used for a non-leisure activity, at a time when finding *anywhere* to swim in Lambeth is like trying to find the leisure holy grail.
The good folk of the Brixton Rec Users Group take a more hard-line stance. A formal complaint has been lodged with Greenwich Leisure Limited, stating:
“Why were they allowed to so publicly demonstrate their views in the Rec, which are offensive to many other users of different Christian and other religions, or no religion?
Why were they allowed them to wear full robes in the pool, which inevitably adds extra tissue and dirt to the water and potential health & safety hazard to subsequent users – or was the pool water completely changed immediately after and how long therefore was the pool closed to public use?
Why was it done in the busiest period of the week with hundreds of children at swimming lessons AND the other swimmers excluded from using the pool because of the same swimming lessons?”
This is a very serious issue, and I’m pleased that the Brixton Rec Users Group is confronting GLL over it. The Rastafarian University of Dub was told it was no longer welcome at the Rec, after the last £2.7m bodget and scarper refurbishment.
Now we are finding that other religious groups are allowed at the Rec, during peak times and flaunting their bonkers religion in front of the swimmers.
Scuba divers I can just about take. Bible bashers getting in my way as I put the lengths in – no thanks.
But yeah – the re-re-re-opening of Brixton Rec: not before time.