torsdag 31 augusti 2006

Brighton Swimming Club - a lost opportunity

The area in front of the Swimming Club is popular with substance abusers.
Outside Brighton Swimming Club

Outside Brighton Swimming Club

The doorway makes a handy target, in the absence of public toilets on Brighton sea front
Brighton Swimming Club entrance door

It is now ten years since I was Secretary to the Arch Section of Brighton Swimming Club, as it then was, and if I recall correctly, the annual subscription was less than £20 plus voluntary payment for the use of electricity, so subscriptions alone have almost doubled.

Sadly, there is less than nothing to show for it. Numbers using the arch almost daily are about three times what they were in 1997 but the facilities are much as they were.

Brighton Swimming Club's Arch

When I was Secretary, and, indeed, after my resignation, I produced plans to increase the usable space, to address the problems due to cramped conditions and poor configuration, in particular to achieve male/female segregation and prevent the daily nuisance users of the premises encounter due to abuse of the area next to the doorway, which at times can be very unpleasant indeed. In doing nothing about the problem for so long, the Club is party to a serious public nuisance.

Brighton Swimming Club's Arch

My proposal is simple and obvious: to enclose the forecourt area and move the entrance to the centre, to produce male/female areas on the two sides, each roughly the same size, with showers and possibly a toilet, in the centre, and space for bicycles inside, where they would be safe from theft and vandalism. Unfortunately, despite the fact that there are club members in the building trade, nobody has, to my knowledge, progressed this or a similar scheme with costings so that effective fund-raising could take place with a definite aim. I am assured that funds are available – a Brighton councillor advised applying for them when the “Brighton City of Sport” initiative was launched in July. I have even written to the ASA asking them to offer help in preparing a bid if the club itself was unable to do so, and this is something I hoped would have been followed up. Seemingly it has not.

Instead, club members are asked to raise small amounts of money, which is then frittered away in minor improvements, whilst the main issues are not dealt with. The latest, seemingly, is a proposal to renew the flooring, when such an investment would be entirely wasted were the much-needed enlargement to take place. Moreover, although the present flooring is unsatisfactory, an inappropriate renewal could make matters worse. Given that somebody decided to install a domestic kitchen sink unit in the arch, which is disintegrating after a couple of seasons, there is evidently a lack of awareness of the harshness of the environment in the arch, which demands the use of robust and durable materials and fittings.

Brighton Swimming Club's Arch

This certainly does not give members the confidence to make donations to the club, over and above the basic subscription.

2 kommentarer:

Anonymous sa...

Hi
I've just come across this and was wondering if you know whether much has changed in the last 4 years? Is it still in this state?

Physiocrat sa...

The Council and the Police have become sufficiently concerned about the problem to take some action and the Club is moving. But the underlying problem remains. The Club is run by the competitive pool swimmers who are not much interested in the sea, and the sea swimmers are not much interested in taking part in the running of the Club because most of the committee meeting time is spend on pool swimming about which most of them neither know nor care.

There really is a need to set up a separate club for the sea swimmers.

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