Letter to Second Clerk of the Committee
from the Head of Business and Finance, FusionSouthwark
Community Leisure Limited
I write following a telephone conversation you
had recently with my colleague Helen Hayes from urban regeneration
consultants Town Centres Limited, about the issues facing the
Camberwell Leisure Centre, and the potential interest of these
issues to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee public evidence
session on the Sport of Swimming on Tuesday 4 December 2001.
We are currently developing an innovative partnership
approach to attracting the necessary funding to regenerate Camberwell
Leisure Centre, which is an impressive grade II listed building,
which may be of interest to the Committee. Our approach is outlined
in this letter. In addition I attach a copy of the Camberwell
Leisure Centre Regeneration Scoping report (not printed),
which sets out further detail on the use of the facility and the
aims of this project. Please note that this is an interim report,
and the project is due to be completed by mid-January 2002.
Camberwell Leisure Centre is a wet and dry facility
situated in Camberwell, south-east London. It is leased from Southwark
Council and operated by Southwark Community Leisure Ltd (trading
as Fusion). Fusion is an independent, not-for-profit, community-focused
organisation. It currently operates seven leisure centres in the
London Borough of Southwark, and has recently commenced the phased
refurbishment of Dulwich Leisure Centresimilar in age and
design to Camberwell Leisure Centreproviding an extremely
high quality health and fitness facility through £¾
million investment to date.
Camberwell Baths were opened in 1892 and provided
"First Class" and "Second Class" baths. The
building is Grade II listed. After many alterations during its
history, it now provides a 25-metre pool, a teaching pool, a two-court
games hall and a multi-purpose space.
A dilapidation survey carried out in 1997 concluded
that there are significant structural issues to be addressed,
and that the heating, ventilation and filtration systems and water
treatment plant would need complete overhaul/replacement by about
2005 (the last overhaul of the pool plant took place in the late
1980s). The general condition of the pool and its ancillary facilities
is not satisfactory, with issues around water and ambient temperature,
water cleanliness, hygiene and inadequate changing facilities.
It is estimated that the requisite works to the pool hall, wet
ancillary areas and pool plant would cost in excess of £2.5
These points notwithstanding, the pool at Camberwell
Leisure Centre is a much-valued community facility. It delivers
a significant swimming lesson programme to 16 local schools, its
National Teaching Plan swimming lessons are well attended, and
it is used by a number of local swimming clubs. Its dry-side facilities
are used by many local community groups for sports, arts, training,
meetings and social events. There is substantial local support
for the facility, and there is great potential for a revitalised
and redeveloped centre to be a notable community asset.
The need for investment is clear. However, it
is apparent that the necessary funding is unlikely to be available
from a single source, such as the local authority. Fusion believes
that there are opportunities to build a coalition of funding partners
that will deliver an innovative solution to the problem and provide
the financial support that will enable the Camberwell Leisure
Centre to continue to provide valued, high quality facilities
for the local community.
Fusion is working with urban regeneration consultancy
Town Centres Limited to draw up and implement a redevelopment
programme that will see Camberwell Leisure Centre play a significant
role in the wider regeneration of the area. A regeneration scoping
exercise was commenced in July 2001; consultations with customers
and local community groups, organisations and schools is now concluding;
and outline project proposals will be prepared in January 2002.
The scoping exercise has identified a number of community organisations
requiring accommodation in Camberwell, including a childcare provider,
a healthcare provider and arts organisations. The consultation
process has also confirmed the position of the leisure centre
as a highly valued local facility. Developing the Camberwell Leisure
Centre as a multi-purpose centre to meet local community needs
will, we believe, enable funding to be drawn from a wide range
of sources, and will help to maximise use of the centre by a wider
cross-section of the local population.
The document outlines our approach and progress
so far. The scoping exercise will be finalised over the next few
weeks, and proposals will be taken forward, with our partners
in the coming months.
28 November 2001