Users group back in action as Brixton Rec leaks continue

modernist building at night

Brixton Rec users Group (Brug) – after a gap created by lockdowns – is again engaged in representing Rec users’ views to Lambeth council and management of the centre.

Issues include the perennial problem of leaks, as well as heating and plans to demolish International House.

BRUG plans a regular newsletter and a stall near the exit to get the thoughts of Rec users and share its hopes for the future.

High on the agenda will be the council’s plans to take management of the Rec back in house from April next year.

It has been managed for some time by GLL, which rebranded itself as “Better” a few years ago.

BRUG said its committee is in discussion with the council to ensure that the voice of Rec users is heard throughout the handover.

It said council officers and Cllr Donatus Anyanwu (Labour Coldharbour), cabinet member for the voluntary sector and leisure, have agreed to attend a public meeting to listen to users during the transition.

BRUG also recently met Rec manager Mo Youseff and operations manager Enrico Gioppato. It said monthly meetings with them will discuss practical matters including cleaning, heating and ventilation, bookings and maintenance issues.

Problems with leaks at the Rec continue.

Brig said water leaking from the roof has put Studio 1 on level 6 and a quarter of the sports hall out of action. It said the large amounts of water running onto the pavement outside the ramp after heavy rain is from the same leaks, “not from the swimming pool!” 

Fluctuating shower and pool temperatures are because only one boiler is working. And the wet-change rooms are cold.

BRUG said the council is due to start work immediately on heating in the changing rooms, replacing a second boiler this month, and will investigate the leaks.

BRUG has also discussed council plans to create a “Rec Quarter” which, in the long term, would involve demolition of International House and development of the Pop Brixton site.

office block and container village
International house and the containers of Pop Brixton

International House and the Rec were designed and built as a single entity and both BRUG and architects have highlighted serious issues that demolition of one would create.

The council’s initial moves would make Brixton Station Road more “user friendly” for market traders, cafes and the public.

It will include better street lighting, trees and improving shop front signage. The council have secured £6m from the London mayor’s Good Growth Fund to pay for the work, which is to due to start early next year.

Cllr Matthew Bennett, deputy leader of the council for planning, investment and new homes, met BRUG to outline initial proposals to build 240 affordable houses on POP Brixton site and to refurbish or demolish International House.

BRUG opposes demolition “as International House is intrinsically part of the Brixton Rec complex and should instead be upgraded for local workspaces and creative enterprises”.