Brixton residents urged to fight Recreation Centre plans


Lambeth Council has put together a document to provide new homes and jobs but includes the option to demolish the Recreation Centre.

By Corinna Burrows

Brixton residents are being urged to help fight council plans which threaten the future of Brixton Recreation Centre.

Lambeth Council has put together a document, as part of their Future Brixton programme, to provide new homes and jobs and improve facilities in the area, which includes the option of demolishing the Recreation Centre.

In the supplementary planning document (SPD), it is suggested that the Recreation Centre could be replaced by a new leisure centre on the site of the temporary ice rink in Pope’s Road, and that shops and housing are built in place of The Rec.

Robyn Dasey, Secretary for the Brixton Rec User Group, said: “The Brixton Recreation Centre is the biggest leisure centre in London, and offers an enormous range of activities.

“What the council has in mind for its replacement is completely different. It would be significantly smaller and offer far fewer services. We are campaigning wholeheartedly to stop this from happening.”

The SPD, which the council says has been put together by consulting with the local community, states that residents feel that Brixton Rec is inaccessible, interior space is not used efficiently, and that it is in need of significant levels of investment.

However many residents are angry because the deadline to comment on the plans was 24th September, but many say they did not receive a copy of the SPD and that the council did not publicize any meetings adequately.

Ms Dasey said that simply re-investing in the existing Centre and running it more efficiently is what many residents believe is the best way forward, and they are urging the council to remove the proposed demolition from the SPD.

The Recreation Centre has great historical significance for Brixton, as it opened in 1985 after the Brixton Riots, and was seen as a place of hope by many. It was also visited by Nelson Mandela in 1996.

Laura Colley, a Brixton resident, said: “It is crazy that the Rec is seen as something that needs to be changed in order to add to the future of Brixton.

“The Rec is unique and it is a pleasure to go there. It is a welcoming, thriving, friendly hub that has something for everyone and I really hope that the Council reconsiders its plans.”

Councillor Lib Peck, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Strategic Housing at Lambeth Council, said: “No decisions have been made about the Brixton Rec and there won’t be any changes to the Rec without the community’s full involvement.”

Lambeth Council will hold a Cabinet meeting on 17th December, where they will consider the SPD.

The Brixton Rec User Group are calling on residents to contact their local councillor ahead of this meeting to make it clear why the Rec should be saved.

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