Petition urges Brockwell Lido to lift ban on local swimming club


Waterpolo at Brockwell Lido

Well over 1,000 people have signed an online petition calling on Fusion Lifestyle – a charity that runs Brockwell Lido – to lift its ban on a popular local swimming club.

The club, Brockwell Swimmers, says that, despite running successful water polo and relay sessions at the Lido in the past, it has been refused any bookings this year, despite applying as long as 10 months ago.

Brockwell Swimmers is a volunteer-run, non-profit club that is a registered Community Amateur Sports Club (or CASC) with more than 100 members.

“All our events have proved popular and encouraged hundreds more people to use our wonderful outdoor pool. This is good for the future of Brockwell Lido, good for swimming and good for the local community,” says the club in its petition on

The refusal to allow it any bookings is the culmination of a series of disputes in recent years.

Waterpolo at Brockwell Lido
Waterpolo at Brockwell Lido

Most recently, says Brockwell Swimmers chair Tim Sutton, Lido management placed near-impossible conditions on the usual application by the club to book the deep end of the 50 metre pool for eight Monday evening water polo summer sessions that it has been running for the last four years.

Brockwell Swimmers applied in June 2018 and, says Tim Sutton, it was told that an Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) qualified level three swimming coach, with a criminal record check, would be required.

Yet Brockwell Lido has now offered the South London Swimming Club (SLSC), based at Tooting Lido, Monday evening water polo sessions, asking only the presence of an ASA level 1 swimming assistant coach with no criminal record check.

“It is difficult enough to find a level three swimming coach, as most are level two, let alone one who specialises in water polo,” says Sutton.

“Many league-level water polo clubs use experienced players to teach rather than ASA level coaches as they are so difficult to find.

“We are now asking for parity with SLSC, and that our application is approved because we are the home swimming club and have a proven four-year track record of success.

“We can also bring new local swimmers to the pool, something Tooting’s club cannot offer.

Fusion’s divisive strategy is creating conflict for Brockwell Swimmers, SLSC and our own water polo members who will now be forced by Fusion to leave our club and join a swimming club from outside the borough.”

Waterpolo at Brockwell Lido

Brockwell Swimmers has complained officially to Fusion over the way it has dealt with the club, saying it has refused to talk to its chair Tim Sutton and, instead, tried to “make deals” with individuals.

Bermondsey-based Fusion Lifestyle has links with a score of local authorities, running more than 90 leisure sites. It has been running Brockwell Lido – which is still owned by Lambeth council – since 2003 when it began a four-year refurbishment programme leading to re-opening in October 2007. Its 25-year contract will expire in 2028.

Fusion’s income from “charitable activities” in the most recent year for which figures are available was £83,667,000. It has 3,568 employees.


  1. Brockwell Swimmers are sorry to hear the comments from Alison, Ben and Jason, and totally understand their frustration at a situation that gives them no other choice but to join another club to play Water Polo at their own local pool.

    The average attendance at Water Polo sessions this year has been just under fifteen. However, our club has a membership of over one hundred and it was decided at our last General Meeting to reject the proposal to give our Summer Water Polo to another club. If this happens we will lose half our members and a huge proportion of our funds putting the very existence of our swimming club in jeopardy. As Chair I need to respect the decision made by our members.

    Four years ago we started with zero players and last Summer we had between twenty and thirty players in the pool each Monday evening. It was wonderful to see the pool so full and is something the club is very proud of.

    As has been said repeatedly to the Water Polo players, they have three options:

    1. Stay with Brockwell Swimmers and continue the success of the last four years.

    2. Join South London Swimming Club at Tooting Lido and back their rival bid to take over our Water Polo.

    3. Form their own Club and set their own rules.

    Obviously we would like them to stay with Brockwell Swimmers, but whatever they decide we wish them well.

  2. I am confused by this article. I recently was given a flyer by Tim Sutton promoting Brockwell Swimmers events at Brockwell Lido. Having read this article I now question why he is asking members of the public to sign-up to Brockwell Swimmers, as well as promoting events that would appear not to be sanctioned by the Lido management.

  3. I confirm Jason’s comment below about the factual inaccuracy of this article. Until last month I was Secretary of Brockwell Swimmers but resigned due to the Chair’s unprofessional and aggressive handling of stakeholders including Fusion and Lambeth Council. The petition is based entirely on mis-information as the club has not banned from the lido at all. Indeed they will willingly accept bookings from Jason and I on behalf of Brockwell Swimmers, just not the Chair due to numerous issues with his conduct. Furthermore the people in the photos including myself have decided to discontinue their Brockwell Swimmers membership and find more appropriate and productive ways of operating the water polo.

    • As well as other inaccuracies, I have checked with other club members in the picture and Alison seems to be the only one to have discontinued her membership recently.

  4. Note that the petition started by Tim Sutton is not supported by the majority of the waterpolo players at Brockwell swimmers.

    This petition contains many inaccuracies. Fusion is not stopping local groups from using the pool and waterpolo will still be offered through a local non profit swimming group.

    • The club Ben mentions is South London Swimming Club based at Tooting Lido, in another borough, nearly two miles away. Not that local.

  5. It would be worth fact checking this article with Fusion and sources beyond Tim Sutton. It contains some serious inaccuracies. For a start, Brockwell Swimmers own website contains information about their monthly Sunday swims at the Lido – hardly sounds like a ban.

    As the person who has organised the water polo part of Brockwell Swimmers for most of its history, I can attest that the information in the petition isn’t wholly or even mostly accurate. It’s also worth noting that Tim Sutton May not be a reliable source as he is facing a no-confidence vote raised by 15 members of the club in part due to this petition and other disinformation he has spread as part of an activist agenda against Fusion.

  6. Unfortunately Brixton Blog hasn’t been given the full facts and one person has chosen to air their dirty laundry in public. Please don’t sign the petition it is creating unessercery tension between the parties involved.

  7. Here are some of the supporters’ comments so far…

    “I’ve been a member of Brockwell Swimmers for only six months but have loved the indoor training sessions over the winter. I was so looking to moving outside with the warmer weather! Surely there’s enough space at Brockwell Lido to squeeze us in?!

    “This is a great local resource and the Club should be allowed proper access. Members are invested in the pool and this sense of ownership ensures the pool is cherished and protected for future generations of swimmers “

    “This pool has always belonged to the community and most of the people who use it are swimmers not sunbathers.”

    “The Lido should support the local community and community events”

    “This is happening all too often. Council facilities managed by ‘private’ companies… Local clubs should not be blocked from council facilities.”

    “This is madness, what is going on in the world? Of course the swimming club be should be allowed to hire the pool. Private companies shouldn’t be allowed to run a public facility if they can’t make it available to the community. There is currently a rejuvenation in lidos up and down the country, mainly bought back in to commission by swimming clubs, volunteers and other enthusiastic people. This giving inner city residence the chance and opportunity to swim and learn to swim and reap all the benefits from this pastime.”

    “I’m signing because communities are stronger when they have access to local facilities, and facilities benefit from the support of local communities. C’mon Fusion Lifestyle – what a fantastic bunch of ambassadors are knocking at your door – let ‘em in!”

    “It would be amazing to be able to host a gala at Brockwell and welcome all the clubs who have welcomed us to their pools. I love the lido and it is so important that it tries to accommodate the wishes of ALL users and truly meet the needs of the whole community.”

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