This one's for Hackney locals (including you Stoke Newington types who don't like to admit you live in Hackney), swimmers, and followers of useless local Councils and "Labour" politicians who fail working-class communities.
As you may already know, the Clissold Leisure Centre was Hackney Council's great millenium show-off-showpiece. Except that the roof leaked when it rained and it had to close down and, despite promises and predictions, has still not reopened.
The BBC's local interest programme covered the Clissold affair last week, and I've copied below the response from 'Not the Clissold Leisure Centre', a local residents' group exposing the scandal and campaigning for reopening. Here's a link to their website, but be warned that as of now, it seems to have crashed.
'Hodder' is Stephen Hodder, the architect of the physical disaster; 'Pipe' is Jules Pipe, who as Hackney's Mayor should take some responsibility for the political disaster - but is usually busy trying to avoid taking any such thing.
I wouldn't necessarily endorse everything that 'Not the Clissold Leisure Centre' says, but at least they are speaking out about this scandal, and as local residents are well entitled to be as angry as they sound.
So this week we watched in awe as first Hodder and then Pipe talked through their arse about nothing in particular on BBC1's Inside Out programme. Hodder says they made mistakes but not as big as LBH's annoying wish to save £1,000,000. The thing has cost £50,000,000 but it is LBH's penny-pinching fault for wanting it to cost £49,000,000 seemed to be his big point. You'll have to do better than that Steve.
Then Pipe came on and ran the old story of it all being done by aliens back in the 90's and nothing to do with him, the Labour Party or Hackney Council. The funniest bit was a scruffy fat bloke from legal standing in front of the Town Hall saying, "well just write to us and we will answer your questions" - "that's what we have been doing for six years you fool" we screamed at the screen.
Both decided to be interviewed in swimming pools. Hodder in Walsall, Pipe in London Fields as if these were examples of a shining success for each of them. Darlaston Pool is open unlike at least two of Hodder's cement ponds. London Fields Lido, which only exists because Hackney people lay down in front of bulldozers to save it from Hackney Council, is not - as another Pipe promise to open it this year becomes another Pipe lie.
Two things have just happened though. We have just learned that London Fields Lido will now be opening not in October 2006 but in March 2007. This was whispered to people who were to be swimming there this weekend yesterday morning. The group that have been booked to swim in the Lido this Sunday have been told that they will be informed on Monday if this can still go ahead!!!!!!! - Any 'soft opening' dates are now subject to review.
Today's [27/9/06] Architect's Journal has the piece ....
Hodder could face legal strife after breaking Clissold gagging order*/
Hackney Council is understood to be considering legal action against Stephen Hodder after he broke a gagging order over the Clissold Leisure Centre debacle./*
We still await the fun and games when Clissold opens - remember Pipe saying "September"? He has now said this for the past three years. Put your house in a relative's name Jules because if it turns out Clissold still doesn't work some people might be after surcharging you for every penny you have got for the shambolic way this whole thing appears to be being progressed.