By Kaye Wiggins and Zoe Jewell
The proposal to demolish the Brixton Recreation Centre is still being considered by Lambeth Council as worried residents campaign to save it. A senior councillor has promised Lambeth Council has “no intention” of leaving Brixton without a leisure centre, but has not ruled out moving the leisure centre from its current site.
The statement comes amid controversy over proposals by the council, under which the iconic Brixton Recreation Centre could be demolished – or comprehensively refurbished.
The proposals were first reported in September’s Brixton Bugle newspaper and have been discussed since on an urban75 thread. Since then a users’ group has also started a campaign against the closure of the centre, which was opened in 1985 and was visited by Nelson Mandela in 1996.
The Liberal Democrat councillor Steve Bradley challenged the council’s proposals at last week’s full council meeting, saying he was “concerned that having only recently invested over £3m in the Brixton Recreation Centre the administration is proposing demolition of [it].”
Steve Bradley had submitted a motion calling “upon the Labour Cabinet to ensure that all users of the Brixton Recreation Centre are properly consulted…and that a commitment is made immediately and publicly that any replacement leisure facility – if this is what is decided – will be a like for like replacement or better in terms of size and facilities.”
Labour councillor and cabinet member for leisure Sally Prentice emphasised that ““users of the Brixton Recreation Centre and the local community will be properly consulted about their needs and requirements before any decision is made”. Crucially however, she introduced an amendment to Cllr Bradley’s motion which removed the commitment for a “like for like replacement or better in terms of size and facilities.”
Cllr Prentice could only commit to not leaving Brixton without a leisure centre, rather than assuring that any future leisure facilities will be as good as or better than the present Recreation Centre.
Brixton Rec Users Group also met last week to discuss proposals and will meet again at the Recreation Centre on Monday December 10, when Cllrs Lib Peck and Sally Prentice will attend to hear views on what should happen to the Rec.