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Culture, Health, Regeneration

First new Leisure Centre in Lambeth for 30 years to open this week

Clapham Leisure Centre

The first new public leisure centre to open in Lambeth in 30 years throws open its doors to the public in February, six months ahead of the start of the Olympics.

At a time of severe spending cuts, Lambeth Council’s new Clapham Leisure Centre is bucking the trend, offering high quality but affordable 21st century sports facilities in the heart of Clapham, and has come at no cost to the public purse. It is the first new public sports centre to be built in Lambeth since the Brixton Recreation Centre in the early 1980s.

The new multi-million pound Clapham Leisure Centre on Clapham Manor Street comes complete with a new six-lane 25-metre swimming pool with movable floor, 100-station fitness gym, four-court sports hall and dance and fitness studio. The highly sustainable building forms part of an £80m, multi-award winning regeneration scheme, which is also seeing a new library, medical centre and café developed nearby on Clapham High Street.

Cllr Steve Reed, Leader of Lambeth Council, said: “The fact we’ve been able to build a brand new community leisure centre at the height of the country’s economic problems is a huge achievement, and great news for people in this part of South London. With the London 2012 Games just around the corner, we are determined to create a genuine Olympic legacy in Lambeth that benefits local people for decades to come.

“We’re not stopping with Clapham Leisure Centre – construction work has already begun on the new ice rink, pool and leisure centre in Streatham, and we’ve recently invested in fantastic floodlit tennis courts on Clapham Common and we are also building a new skate park. This investment all adds up to the biggest expansion of provision in the borough’s history and a fantastic sporting legacy for Lambeth for the 2012 Games.”

The scheme is an innovative public, private partnership (PPP) with Cathedral Group PLC and its partners United House.  The leisure centre and the library have both been provided to Lambeth Council at no cost to the public purse, funded by the sale of private residential development on both sites.

The new apartments are contained in a 19-unit self-contained private block adjacent to the leisure centre on Clapham Manor Street, a 44-unit block of affordable apartments on the same site, developed in partnership with Notting Hill Housing Group, and above the new library on Clapham High Street. In addition, a profit- sharing arrangement between Cathedral Group, United House and Lambeth Council means any profits over a fixed cap are shared equally.

The new leisure centre, designed by LA Architects, is of the highest standard and has been conceived and constructed following close consultation with the local community. Local people wanted the new centre to make the best use of natural light and space, and as a result, the design includes a dramatic barrel-vaulted roof over the swimming pool and also a bright, airy atrium-like reception.

The entire development has been built according to the most stringent environmental criteria.  Carbon emissions have been reduced to 40 per cent below normal standards and normal water usage reduced by 30 per cent.

The development was made possible by £35m of funding secured by PPP specialists Cathedral Group and United House, including loan funding from the Homes and Communities Agency’s Kickstart programme.

Richard Upton, Chief Executive of Cathedral Group, said: “This partnership with Lambeth Council is an excellent example of how great public buildings can be delivered in today’s economic climate if the public and private sector work together entrepreneurially. The leisure centre is an amazing new facility for local people, which is 100% owned by the council but has cost it nothing.”

Jeffrey Adams, Group Chief Executive of United House Group, said: “Clapham One is a landmark regeneration project which is revitalising Lambeth and providing a catalyst for the wider regeneration of South London. As constructor, joint developer and investor in this project, it has been very rewarding to deliver high quality new public facilities which have enhanced the Clapham High Street area, in partnership with Cathedral Group. It’s great to see the new leisure centre open and already receiving a high volume of visitors from the local community.”

The new leisure facilities include:

•           new multi-use four-court sports hall for basketball, badminton, indoor tennis, 5-a-side football and other indoor sports.

•           100-station fitness gym.

•           a six-lane 25m swimming pool with movable floor and teaching pool

•           dance, yoga and martial arts studios.

The new Clapham Leisure Centre, Clapham Manor Street, Clapham, SW4 6DB, will officially open on Friday 3 February. Local young people will take part in a special swimming gala, while there will be a gymnastics display in the sports hall.

Journalists and photographers are welcome. Please call James Savours, 020 7926 2559, to discuss interviews and filming opportunities. Images are available.

For further information on Cathedral Group, please contact:

Robert Pine, ING MEDIA

Tel: 020 72478334

e-mail: Robert@ing-media.com

For further information on United House, please contact:

Lucy Ball, Four Communications

Tel: 07765 400663

Email: lucy.ball@fourcommunications.com

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