A survey of Brockwell lido users is “highly negative” says the Brockwell Lido User Group (BLU) which commissioned the survey ahead of its annual general meeting on Sunday (19 November).
Key issues include:
Communication problems – Users expressed dissatisfaction with the communication regarding service disruptions and closures. They felt that management was not proactive in informing members about issues.
High prices – Some feedback indicated that the lido’s services are overpriced, “especially given the poor state of facilities and the lack of proper maintenance”.
Class availability – Reduced variety and number of classes, as well as the scheduling of classes, were concerns for some users. They wanted more options, especially on weekends and evenings.
Lack of community focus – There was a feeling that the lido does not reflect the diversity and needs of the local community as it once did, with a lack of affordable access for all community members, especially families and children.
Value for money – Members felt they are not getting the service they pay for, with “continuous compromises on hygiene and comfort”.
Poor cleanliness – There were frequent mentions of unclean facilities, dirty showers, and toilets across various sections of the lido, including the changing rooms and studios. Users founf it off-putting and a significant deterrent to their visits.
Equipment and facility disrepair – Many complaints about broken equipment such as showers, toilets, gym machines, and poolside amenities that have been out of order for extended periods. There’s frustration over the lack of timely repairs and proper maintenance.
Poor management – There was a strong sentiment that the management shows “disrespect” to customers and is neglectful. Users felt that their complaints and feedback are ignored and that there is a lack of transparency and accountability from management.
Staffing – Reports of staff shortages leading to reduced service, such as partial pool closures and cancelled classes, contribute to a negative user experience. However, there were also positive comments about the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff on site, “suggesting that the issue lies more with management than front-line employees,” said BLU.
BLU said “Users want improvements in cleanliness, timely repairs, better management, more classes, improved communication, and better value for money. There’s a strong desire for the Lido to return to being a cherished community asset.
There was also a strong sentiment that Fusion Lifestyle, which manages the lido for Lambeth council, “is not fulfilling its responsibilities to maintain and repair the facilities. Users feel that complaints are routinely ignored by management, leading to a feeling of disrespect. The lack of timely repairs and the perceived indifference to the facilities’ declining condition are seen as evidence of poor management”.
Comparisons with other lidos suggested that Brockwell’s offerings are overpriced, “especially since discounts and seasonal passes are limited or non-existent”.
On-site staff were often praised for being friendly and helpful. “There’s a sense that staff are doing their best under challenging circumstances”.
While individual staff members were often commended for their friendliness, “there are mentions of some staff being unhelpful or rude. The feedback suggests that while most staff members are performing well, they are let down by a few individuals and overall by the management’s failure to address the facility’s issues
There was “a strong sentiment that Fusion is not fulfilling its responsibilities to maintain and repair the facilities. Users feel that complaints are routinely ignored by management, leading to a feeling of disrespect. The lack of timely repairs and the perceived indifference to the facilities’ declining condition are seen as evidence of poor management”.
The lido’s booking system is described as “clunky, unreliable, and sometimes pointless”.
Issues with booking slots, especially during closures, added to user frustration.
Cleanliness was a major issue across all areas of the Lido, with reports of “filth and neglect”.
Changing rooms were considered “dirty, neglected, and in disrepair” with reports of broken facilities like spin dryers. There was a sentiment that the changing rooms are not a welcoming or hygienic space.
Specific grievances included broken doors and lockers, as well as poor ventilation leading to damp and uncomfortable conditions.
Toilets were frequently described as broken, dirty, and often out of order and there were complaints about unpleasant odours and a lack of toilet paper.
Many showers are out of order or not functioning properly, the survey found, said BLU. “Issues with temperature control and cleanliness are common. The lack of hot showers is especially problematic for swimmers in cold weather.”
Gym equipment was criticised for being out of order for extended periods without repair. Cleanliness of the gym area was a recurring complaint, with dirty floors and unclean equipment. “There is a perception that the gym does not provide adequate value for the membership fees, given the state of the equipment and facilities,” said BLU.
The pool itself is “generally loved for the swimming experience it offers”, but there were concerns about its cleanliness and maintenance.
“Spa”, sauna, and steam room facilities are “frequently broken or closed”, the survey found. There were also concerns about unsanitary conditions, with descriptions of “mould, algae, and a persistent bad odour”.
Classes were appreciated, but ther was frustration over cancellations and lack of availability.
Details of the survey were shared on posters at the lido and also sent to BLU’s users via email. It was not publicised on social media. It went live on the morning of 10 November and was closed in the evening of 16 November. More than 200 users responded. The summary of the data was generated by ChatGPT from user feedback.
The BLU annual general meeting is at Whippersnappers at the lido, on Sunday 19 November starting at 10.30am.