Brockwell Lido: Residents hit out at leisure centre’s ‘exclusive’ swim sessions

Residents have hit out at a leisure centre over its “exclusive” swim sessions after arrangements for a community swimming group were pulled by the company at the last minute.

Brockwell Lido, in Brockwell Park, Dulwich Road, is owned by Lambeth council but managed by Fusion Lifestyle.

On November 25, 2023, Brockwell Swimmers –  a registered, non-profit, Community Amateur Sports Club – met with Lambeth councillor Ben Kind and members of Fusion Leisure to discuss a hire application for coached swimming sessions at the lido this summer. 

Brockwell Swimmers member Tim Sutton, 63, of Helix Gardens, Brixton, said: “It took years of asking for the sessions before we finally got a meeting.

“We thought it went well and we had reached an understanding.”

Mr Sutton said they received an email from Fusion the same day to confirm all dates for the coached sessions had been accepted. But, five months later, on April 3, Fusion said the lane could only be hired if sessions were not coached.

On Saturday, Brockwell Swimmers secured its hire lane, but it is still not allowed to host the sessions.

Mr Sutton said: “This completely contradicts what is clearly stated in our hire agreement, and the discussions we had in November.

“We started to receive emails threatening to cancel our agreed hire dates.”

Treasurer of Brockwell Swimmers, Mary Pierce (Picture: Mary Pierce)

Fusion Lifestyle said the decision was made because of an existing exclusive contract with a small commercial swim school, Streamline Swim, signed in 2018.

But Mr Sutton described the U-turn as “totally immoral” and “discriminatory” against the Brockwell Swimmers, claiming that exceptions had previously been made to allow other groups to host coached swimming sessions at the club. 

Mr Sutton said: “They let Windrush Triathlon hold their own coached swim sessions in the summer – exactly what the Brockwell Swimmers club are asking.

“They are dictating who can use our publicly-owned pool.”

Treasurer of Brockwell Swimmers, Mary Pierce, 64, from Vauxhall, said members of the group have been left “frustrated” by years of push back from Fusion.

Ms Pierce, who has been swimming at the lido since 2017, said: “We just want more inclusivity so that people and our club can have an opportunity. 

“Brockwell Lido is such a lovely space.”

Now, Brockwell Swimmers are calling for an “effective” user group and steering group that clubs can appeal to against decisions made by Fusion.

Mr Sutton said: “These two bodies seem to have fallen into a state of stagnation, sadly this demonstrates the lack of accountability that the management of Brockwell Lido now have.”

The contract with Streamline Swimmers is due to expire in 2028, but Mr Sutton said he fears the situation will continue if the contract is renewed.

A spokeswoman from Fusion said: “There is an existing contract in place for the provision of swimming coaching by a highly experienced, longstanding, and local partner.  This contract gives the provider exclusive rights to coaching at the lido. 

“This is due to expire early in 2028, we will review this agreement nearer the time as a matter of good practice.

“All groups including Brockwell Swimmers Club are welcome to hire lanes at the Lido subject to availability and in accordance with our booking terms and conditions.”

Pictured top: Tim Sutton at Brockwell Lido (Picture: Tim Sutton)

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One thought on “Brockwell Lido: Residents hit out at leisure centre’s ‘exclusive’ swim sessions

  • Timothy Sutton

    Just to be clear, Fusion agreed a contract with the amateur Brockwell Swimmers club for coached swim sessions for July and August 2024. They are now trying to renege on this, saying that in 2018 they gave an exlusive contract (without any tender process or consultation with the community or Lambeth) to a small private company who, in effect, are dictating which local sports clubs can train at our Lido. Lambeth must ensure that they honour this contract, and Fusion should stop discriminating against its own local swimming club who are trying to help build a lasting future for this wonderful South London facility.


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