Sunday, 28 February 2021

Lambeth Council is proposing re-development of the Rec Quarter in central Brixton (BRUG) has submitted a critical response

Brixton Rec Users Group were told that Lambeth want to redevelop the Pop Brixton site together with International House to build 240 affordable homes and that they wanted to consult with us as a community group active within Brixton Rec.

BRUG welcomes the proposals for affordable homes and Lambeth’s aspirations for inclusiveness and sustainability. Lambeth are presenting the proposals as part of the development and regeneration of what they call “the Rec Quarter”. This together with Lambeth’s intention to invest a significant amount of money in the Rec shows that they recognise how important the Rec is within the community. It was listed as being architecturally and culturally important in 2016.

The Pop Brixton site is a separate entity opposite the Rec and would be suitable for future homes to be developed there. Including International House as part of their proposals is an entirely new development and could impact upon the Rec in dramatic ways as they have suggested that International House could be up for demolition and included in the regeneration plans.

BRUG strongly opposes the demolition of International House which is part and parcel of the whole Brixton Rec complex. We want to see it kept as a community asset to be refurbished to provide multi-purpose use for office and workspaces within central Brixton as well as community projects to benefit local people.

There was no mention of how the sale and demolition of International House would impact upon Rec users who come to classes and activities for their physical, mental health and social purposes. The current pandemic has shown how people have been so badly affected when they’re unable to meet and mingle in a safe environment. Demolition could further disrupt the provision of services within the Rec over a prolonged period of time.

BRUG considers that the whole development process is being rushed through at the worst possible time in the middle of a global pandemic. The deadline for bidder’s expression of interest is mid-May 2021 and the selection of plans is scheduled for September 2021. There will be no time to have meaningful consultations while we are all restricted by the lockdown requirements. Little opportunity for open scrutiny of bids or time to select appropriate socially responsible bidders has been allowed.

It concerns BRUG that Site 15 is the Pop Brixton site and has never included International House. Lambeth are now linking the two separate sites without any consultation. Will Lambeth Council ignore their own planning requirements as they did when they granted planning permission for the Hondo tower?

BRUG is asking Lambeth Council to consider the benefits of refurbishing International House and use it as an opportunity to improve the whole Brixton Rec complex by integrating disabled access, energy use strategy and shared community benefits.

BRUG cannot support these Lambeth Council proposals. Brixton Recreation Centre should be at the heart of the proposals; to minimise harm to the environment and promote benefits for the community by maintaining International House as a community asset.

David Duncan (Chair, Brixton Rec Users Group)

1 comment:

  1. As an architect who worked in the Lambeth office at the time the Brixton Rec was designed and also as a sometime user of the excellent pool, I fully endorse the comments and advice of the BRUG and strongly hope that Lambeth will change their plans for Central Brixton in accordance with these wise words from the local community.
    Kate Macintosh MBE RIBA