The Glass Mill leisure centre is set to open on November 16 following a “deep cleaning and refurbishment” to make it Covid-safety compliant, Lewisham Council has announced.  

All lesiure centres run by the council have been shut since lockdown in March, except for Downham which partially reopened over the summer. 

The council announced in September it expected to start a “phased reopening” of the facilities in October. 

Following Glass Mill, Forest Hill Pools will open on November 30, but Wavelengths in Deptford is not due to open until January next year.  

Ladywell Arena opened for athletics clubs on October 29. 

The council’s new leisure contractor, Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), has been assessing each centre to ensure Covid-19 safety compliance, including The Bridge and Bellingham, which the company says needs a “more comprehensive assessment”. 

On Glass Mill, a council spokesperson said: “In line with Covid-19 guidelines, there will be reduced opening hours, significantly reduced capacity with a one-way system in place as well as changes to the layout of gym equipment to allow customers to maintain social distancing whilst exercising.” 

It emerged at full council last week that some leisure centres in the borough may not reopen at all during the pandemic.  

In response to a councillor’s question about reopening the Bridge, mayor Damien Egan said there would have to be a balance between the cost of making the centres Covid-19 safety compliant and the council’s “ambition to provide an accessible leisure offer for all Lewisham residents”.   

Mayor Egan said the council expects “to be a position to be more specific about plans for the other centres, including The Bridge, in November”.   

“These assessments include a building condition survey and a review of the readiness to open under Covid-19 secure rules including, increased ventilation requirements.   

“We are aware that our older facilities do not have the necessary modern air handling and ventilation systems, therefore more detailed survey work is required to ensure the facilities can meet the Covid-19 safety conditions,” he said.   

The mayor acknowledged the Bridge is “important to the many residents and groups”, but added that the financial challenges of reopening leisure centres “should not be underestimated”.    

“Once the assessments have been completed, officers will work with GLL to explore the costs associated with reopening, balanced with our ambition to provide an accessible leisure offer for all Lewisham residents,” he said.