Update from BRUG meeting

A good, lively meeting on Tuesday night at the Rec, with Brixton Rec Users Group (BRUG) members, Rec users, traders and other supporters in the room. A very helpful fellow from the Brixton Society was on hand to explain the intricacies of the planning process; one which has led to the suggestion that Brixton Recreation Centre could be knocked down and redeveloped. This is despite the Council’s original Brixton Masterplan stating the Rec “will be refurbished and opened up as a major community resource.”

For some at the meeting, it was the first time they had heard the details surrounding the threat to the Rec, and many spoke passionately about the need to retain the excellent facilities the Rec offers. There was scepticism that any ‘replacement’ leisure centre would offer the same standard of activities as the Rec, and the mooted site (Brixton Ice Rink) was considered far too small. Traders who have businesses in the Rec building spoke about the threat to their livelihoods.

The BRUG committee explained that the next key date is Monday 17 December, when the full Lambeth Council Cabinet will meet to discuss and possibly approve a ‘Brixton Supplementary Planning’ document which will go to formal public consultation in early 2013. It is hoped that document does not suggest knocking down the Rec. We’ll find out around 10 December when the papers get published.

In a triumph of precise timing, the BRUG has arranged for Councillor Lib Peck, Lambeth Council lead on regeneration issues (and potential future leader of the entire Council, should current leader Steve Reed win the forthcoming Croydon North by-election) to come and speak to Rec users and supporters at 6pm on 10 December. We’ll post a notice about that meeting nearer the time.

A fuller note of Tuesday’s meeting has been put on Urban 75.

In addition, the BRUG committee had a private meeting with Lib Peck on Wednesday night (21 November). We’ll provide feedback on that meeting as soon as we have it. Interestingly, the day after that meeting Lambeth Council posted the following tweet:

Lambeth residents will of course be rightfully sceptical about the claim that there is “no plan to demolish the Rec”, especially when Councillors have been openly discussing this since the summer.

In the meantime there are a couple of things Rec users and supporters can do:

1 – If you haven’t already done so, you can write to the council (Lib Peck, copied to your local councillors – contact details here, more info here) telling them how much the current facility is valued;

2 – You can tell your friends, family, colleagues, neighbours there is a threat the Rec could be knocked down and turned into private housing and commercial units. It is vital we build community awareness of the current threat to the Rec.

If anyone wants some leaflets to give out to friends/family/colleagues etc, there are some available in the ‘All Eyes on Egipt’ shop at 25 Brixton Station Road (under the Rec at street level.)

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