The area in front of the Swimming Club is popular with substance abusers.
The doorway makes a handy target, in the absence of public toilets on Brighton sea front
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.
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.
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.
This certainly does not give members the confidence to make donations to the club, over and above the basic subscription.
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