£20m Lewisham pool and leisure centre opens June 10th

Lewisham Council says:

On  Monday 10 June, Glass Mill – Lewisham’s flagship new leisure centre – will open to the public.

The £20m centre, located on Loampit Vale, has been designed by leisure specialists LA Architects and will be operated by registered charity Fusion Lifestyle on behalf of Lewisham Council. The contractor for Glass Mill is Pellikaan, with additional works by Barratt Homes who are developing the adjacent ‘Renaissance’ scheme.

Glass Mill has superb environmental credentials and will offer a range of the most up-to-date facilities and equipment. As well as a regional competition standard 8-lane swimming pool with seating for 300 spectators, there will be a 20m training pool, a 100-station gym, a climbing wall, a creche and two studios offering a programme of classes.

Users of the leisure centre will also be able to pamper themselves in a health suite with treatment rooms and sauna, steam and ‘ice’ rooms.

Great thought has gone into changing areas with separate male and female changing as well as specific areas for families and people with disabilities. The centre is fully accessible and includes moveable floors in both pools, changing cubicles with wheelchair access and signage suitable for the visually impaired.

A key feature of the building is the stunning display of over 1,800 coloured tiles, designed by artist Phil Coy, that form the façade and carry through into a rainbow of light in the various parts of the centre. Glass Mill’s exterior also includes a lighting display that changes in line with the surrounding soundscape.

A full menu of delicious food and refreshing drinks will be on offer throughout the day at the Rhubarb and Custard Café. Items served up by Rhubarb and Custard’s resident chef and dedicated staff will include gourmet burgers, healthy salads, coffee and homemade cakes, and a children’s menu. This local firm – a former recipient of a Mayor Of Lewisham Business Award – already has a committed following in its local neighbourhood of Lee and also operates the café at Wavelengths Leisure Centre in Deptford.

Mayor of Lewisham, Sir Steve Bullock, took a dip in the new swimming pool and said: “I am delighted to mark the open of this outstanding new leisure centre. Glass Mill is the culmination of over a decade of leisure investment in the borough.

“There is now a real opportunity for local people to take part in affordable leisure in all areas around the borough. That is what we have always been aiming for. ”

Fusion Lifestyle Chief Executive, Pete Kay said of the opening: "We are extremely impressed with the high standard of facilities now on offer at Glass Mill Leisure Centre and are proud and excited to begin the management of this fantastic centre.

“We believe that the opening of Glass Mill will make a real difference to the local community by providing first-rate sport, swimming and fitness facilities at an affordable price, and Fusion Lifestyle are committed to continuous development of our programmes and activities in order to offer new opportunities for everyone in Lewisham.”

Alastair Baird, Managing Director of Barratt London said: “We have great pleasure in delivering a landmark building for Lewisham as part of the wider Renaissance development.”

Glass Mill’s opening hours will be 6.30am-10pm on weekdays and 7am-6pm on weekends and Bank Holidays. Rhubarb and Custard Café, located in Glass Mill’s foyer, will operate the same hours. For enquiries about membership options, or the full range of facilities and classes on offer, call Glass Mill on 020 8463 9600.


Peter Thornton said...

This is exciting and was something I was wondering about just this morning. Having looked at the photos online I think wavelengths (if it ever reopens) will still be better for toddlers.

Caro said...

No sports hall with badminton/basketball/netball then? Shame. Lewisham lacks these!

SamB_UK said...

I joined last week - if you call up or go in before next week, you can get discounted membership.

Max Calò said...

I'll be making the most of Ladywell Pool in these few last days. I love the 33m pool, I'll miss it
But anyway, I'm glad it'll open at 6:30 am weekdays and they're also extending the weekend openings to start earlier and finish a bit later, there would be no other way to fit the current users of Ladywell and the extras that the new pool will undoubtedly attract, and Ladywell is really crowded recently.

CB said...

Very depressing that Fusion is running it...the terrible staff and management make visiting the pool in Forest Hill unpleasant, and seems that they do no better in Dulwich: http://www.eastdulwichforum.co.uk/forum/read.php?5,1053429,page=1

Max Calò said...

I'm surprised to hear, the Fusion management of Ladywell Pool is excellent, the best it's ever been.

Andy said...

I have only good things to say about fusion since they took over wavelengths from the former management park leisure.
Customer service is much improved and the place in finally being cleaned regularly.
It was a relief when they took over.

Brockley Nick said...

I love going to Forest Hill Pool - it seems very well run to me

Nicholas Croom said...

Anyone got any news on Wavelengths? Last time I went in (month or so ago) they said the latest date to reopen was June 10. Although having looked into the pool, it looked like not much had been started.

choosenick said...

Do they have any supporting PR pics of mayor Bullock taking his dip? I demand documentry evidence?

Brockley Jon said...

It's not perfect. My wife has had sessions cancelled a few times at short notice, only being told when she got there. Have also heard a couple of complaints of being hurried out the pool way before closing time.

mintness said...

Went in today for a tour and to sign up for membership.

It's a nice facility, as you'd expect, though interest already seems to be extremely high (partly because of pent-up demand, I suppose - we've all been waiting for it to actually open for months now!) and I suspect it'll be really busy at peak times right from the opening day.

A few points that may be of interest:

Use of the pool will apparently be time-limited (bracelet/ticket-type system) and there'll be some times that are female-only (etc.), as is standard elsewhere. No timetable as yet. (I have to admit I didn't listen closely to this bit as I'm more interested in the gym!)

The gym itself is a reasonable size - I'd say the number of stations is
comparable to Goldsmiths or the Soho Gyms branch in Lewisham. There are two studios for classes, one large airy room and one cosier
space that uses the coloured panels on the outside of the building to
good effect in its lighting.

Classes will be bookable online for members up to 7 days in advance and will only be made available to non-members 24 hours beforehand. There's no timetable for classes yet either - they're expecting to publish it on Monday - but the content is the stuff you'd expect (yoga, pilates, spinning, boxercise...).

The sauna/steam room/ice room are attached to the gym changing rooms (upstairs), so you can't go straight from the swimming pool and its wet changing rooms (downstairs) to the steam room, for instance.

Do give them a call and take a look around if you're interested, anyway - they're doing group tours this week (and will presumably continue to do so after opening).

One last word of warning: the staff are clearly mostly brand new to Fusion's procedures, computer systems etc. and are learning as they go, so expect the signing-up process to be time-consuming and a bit chaotic. I'd recommend against leaving it until Monday - what with new members registering, existing members arriving for inductions and all the unexpected teething troubles that will no doubt arise, I rather suspect the reception area will look like a warzone. :)

Max Calò said...

"Use of the pool will apparently be time-limited (bracelet/ticket-type system) "

Max Calò said...

Shorter pool and shorter swims!

SamB_UK said...

I was on the same tour with mintness, and just to correct the bit about the use of the pool being time-limited...

The guy giving the tour said it will only be time-limited if it becomes necessary at busy times - they won't be doing that from opening. He seemed to think that would only be likely at weekends, if at all.

mintness said...

Told you I wasn't paying attention to that bit! :) Sorry for misleading you, Max.

Max Calò said...

Let's hope.

One necessary "I told you so" point.
A lot of us fought really hard to make sure that this pool wasn't 6 lanes only as the Council wanted it.

We managed to have 8 lanes but it should have been 10 lanes if not a full 50m pool. That we are now not moving in a new 50m pool is a massive missed opportunity, there would be plenty of space an room to expand usage (and Lewisham population has grown of 30,000 since the planning of the pool), we're now looking instead at the possibility to have to limit usage.

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Peter Thornton said...

A 50m pool would have cost significantly more I would have thought? The building would have to be bigger to accommodate it. There aren't that many 50m pools in the UK as a whole.

Max Calò said...

It would have cost some more, not a lot. The fixed costs would have been the same, just as the running costs. As for the size of the building, well, they were planning from scratch, they could have done it whatever way they wanted it. And yes, there aren't many 50m pools iin the UK, all the more reason to build one.

BenjontheHill said...

Has anyone looked at the climbing wall? What kind of facility do they have?

Max Calò said...

Not to mention that just having an extra 2 lanes that would have made a substantial difference to usage and in the scale of things would have been a very small sum.

Btw, years ago the people of Lewisham came to know of a plan for a new pool on that site through a brochure where Mayor Bullock wrote that he wanted there a full competition pool alongside a diving pool!!

Max Calò said...

Sorry, one more point, that could deserve an entire post.

You say it would have cost more, but more that what? Think about it.

Do wee know what it cost?
No, nothing!
This is the most obscure public building in terms of costs. We don't know anything about it.

The story goes that initially the Council had earmarked £7.2m from the sale of the Aragon Tower, but then I think that as some point these money disappeared in the Council's general budget.
Then the Council gave the land to Barratt in exchange for the building of the leisure centre, but maybe they also gave them cash, we don't know because it's confidential.
Barratt built about 800 flats there and also received £20.5m from the government or they wouldn't have built anything.

How much did it cost? Anybody knows?

Anonymous said...

I was wondering the same. Have emailed the centre but without a reply yet. It barely features on the site, so I'm not optimistic

mintness said...

The tour didn't include the climbing wall so I didn't get to see what it's like - apparently it's run by a completely different company and isn't included in membership. The reception desk deals with enquiries/bookings but everything else is handled externally.

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Max Calò said...

This Sunday 4pm to 5:30 pm there'll be the last adult lane swim slot at Ladywell Pool, then the pool shuts for good. Drinks at Ravensbourne Pub will follow. All welcome.

Anonymous said...

Climbing Wall is shown here (or at least the plans are):

mighty_mousette said...

For what it's worth, that's what they do at Forest Hill Pools on weekends - slots are timed to one hour, starting on the hour. I guess it's to stop folks spending all day in there as it gets busier and busier...

Max Calò said...

Had they built a bigger pool that's actually sized to the demand they wouldn't have to do it. Why do people build 6 lanes pools in densily populated areas when adding two lanes allow so much more flexibility?
And what's so wrong in staying more than an hour in a pool? I do it occasionally. Just a couple of weeks ago I first swam a bit with my daughter and then after she left with my wife I had a long swim and did 100 lenghts (of 33m), it took me 75 minutes, so in all I was in for almost 2 hours. Should I feel guilty for that? I don't think so. I think that this is what pools are built for.

Ian Culshaw said...

I went this morning, no ticket system in place at the swimming pool.

SamB_UK said...

Rather a frustrating experience this morning - after being told in no uncertain terms last week that, no, I had to wait until today to book a gym induction, I went in at 8am this morning to find that there are no evening slots available for inductions until next week.

The pool timetable is now up on their website. I'm not going to link to it here as I noticed it's actually got several noticeable differences to the one up on the wall in the foyer. Helpful.

Max Calò said...

I had my first swim at the Glass Mill last night and it was pretty good, here are my first impressions.

The pool is obviously shorter than Ladywell and that's one big point off but it also has many positives over Ladywell. The quality of the water is excellent and the surface is very smooth when Ladywell was instead prone to waves.
About the depth, it's quite shallow at the deep end but it's a bit deeper at the shallow end which makes it easier to do flip-turns at both ends.

One small thing that I'm not happy with is the ceiling, it has a fine cladding that is layed out horizontally compared to the pool lanes direction, so if you do backstokes you don't have a clear reference above to guide you going straight. There are behind the cladding pipes going in the direction of the lane to guide you and they are visible most of the time but because of the angle of the cladding they become nearly invisible when swimming towards the shallow end with your head tilted back (as it should be).
The changing rooms are really not as good as they should be though, there isn't any window and they're really hot. The showers are pretty sub-standard also, with some automatic sensors that don't really work that well, and the temperature can only be changed in the shower unit for disabled, which is the only good shower in there.

Max Calò said...

And another thing, there are windows from the street watching in the pool! Come on, some people actually wants privacy, who came up with that idea?

milky1018 said...

Sounds amazing. Now I have to treat and bring my family over there.


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