Brixton Rec is a focal point of the community, as much valued for its social side as for sport according to a local survey.
More than a thousand people took part and the results are a huge vote of confidence for the Rec, the classes and activities available.
However, there was fierce criticism of the standard of cleanliness and complaints about the length of queues, over subscription of popular classes and the entrance was described as ‘gloomy’ and ‘intimidating’.
The Rec’s swimming pool, exercise classes topped the survey with particular praise for teachers but there were calls for better disabled access and complaints about minor defects and repairs not being attended to.
Cllr Jane Edbrooke, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “It’s clear from the survey that people enjoy going to Brixton Rec for socialising, seeing friends and meeting new people.
“What it also highlights is the diversity of those using the Rec which gives it the informal, inclusive atmosphere so people feel part of a community. Lambeth council is committed to Brixton Rec and we know there’s room for improvement.
“That’s not just about day to day housekeeping – it’s about making sure the centre’s safe, accessible and efficient.”
Lambeth councillors and Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL), who manage the centre, are discussing a package of repairs and maintenance identified in a structural survey of the building that include improved fire, safety and evacuation measures.
The Rec’s central location was also an important consideration for many users and well over two thirds were satisfied with the level of affordability. The question of how rooms and studios could be used outside of peak booking times was also raised and that’s an ongoing discussion with local people, the council and GLL.
The survey, the first in a series on health & leisure facilities around the borough, included street stalls, face to face sessions, telephone interviews and online participation was developed by Lambeth Council with the Brixton Rec User Group (BRUG).
The next survey will focus on Streatham’s Ice and Leisure Centre that opened last year. West Norwood Health and Leisure Centre will open in the next couple of weeks – making a hat trick of new leisure centres in Lambeth.