My congratulations are overdue to Lambeth Council for opening the first new leisure centre in 30 years last February. Given the current economic climate this is no small achievement. At the time of the launch Lambeth said,
"The new multi-million pound Clapham Leisure Centre on Clapham Manor Street comes complete with a new six-lane 25-metre swimming pool with movable floor, 100-station fitness gym, four-court sports hall and dance and fitness studio. The highly sustainable building forms part of an £80m, multi-award winning regeneration scheme."Cathedral Group, the developers of the scheme which includes private and social housing and a new library, equally boast of the 'brand new sustainable leisure centre designed by specialists LA Architects.'.
How much cycle parking do you think there is for this building in the pro-cycling borough of Lambeth? I'll give you two hints to help you guess:
1. This 'highly sustainable building' is just a stone's throw from Cycling Superhighway 7;
2. The parking is located in a shiny new road next to the Leisure Centre called 'Bicycle Mews'.
What's your guess? Maybe 50 stands? Or, planning for the future, 100 stands? Surely no fewer than 20 stands?
Seriously, the answer is 9 stands although Lambeth's operators better.org.uk state there are only 9 spaces.
And I'm inclined to agree with better.org.uk because several of the stands are wedged so tight together that you can't get your bike in or out without bashing your way past other bikes. Here's how it looked this chilly March afternoon:
Below is the Leisure Centre sign just by its front door and you can see the crammed cycle parking just by the far wall. As you can see from the photo at the top of this blog post, there's no cycle parking in front of the building.
You really couldn't make it up, could you?
Did the planners consent to just 18 cycle parking spaces? Do the Architects and Developers really believe that it is acceptable to install the cycle parking so badly, and does providing a nominal 18 cycle parking spaces fall into their definition of 'highly sustainable'?
But above all, when will the parking positioning be improved and the quantity increased to meet the aspirations that the name 'Bicycle Mews' surely implies?