* Update, Friday 141016: Hackney council late yesterday announced the closing period, the end of November 2016 until spring 2017, for repairs to London Fields Lido, as exclusively reported here months ago.
The council said in a statement that:
* Pre-paid members will be able to continue swimming, at no extra cost, at Britannia, Clissold and Kings Hall leisure centres. Members will also be able to swim at the London Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park, Charlton Lido and any other swimming pool managed by Better, aka Greenwich Leisure Ltd.
* Members will also be able to use the new health and fitness facilities at Queensbridge sports-community Centre throughout the closure.
* Memberships can also be frozen or suspended during the closure of the Lido.
LONDON FIELDS LIDO is to close for several months. The news is being kept from swimmers but rumours have been swishing about for the last week and now, thanks to well-placed sources, Loving Dalston can outline what is likely to happen.
The Olympic-length heated pool at London Fields West Side E8 3EU will close for maintenance this autumn, probably in October, and possibly for three months.
Neither Hackney council, which owns the heated pool, nor Better, also known as GLL/Greenwich Leisure Limited, the social enterprise that runs public baths and fitness centres for Hackney and other councils, will say what arrangements or compensation will be provided for regular users, even those with long-term passes.
Mike Martin, London Fields User Group chairman, did not know of the impending closure.
However, Hackney council’s Kim Wright told Loving Dalston that some pool tiles had cracked and were coming away from the wall.
Temporary supports to stabilise it were installed in June so the lido could stay open “while we investigate the cause of the problem”.
The £166,000-a-year neighbourhoods director continued: “We put signs up in reception (pictured below) to inform customers of the work. Tests carried out by industry specialists have shown that there is a problem with the screed layer between the pool tank and the render which holds the tiles.”
Solving the problem will be “a major piece of work” that would require the pool to be closed “for a period of time…
“At this stage we do not know exactly how long the works will take or when they will start.”
Worryingly, she added that the pool would stay open while “we procure a contractor” to carry out the work. Worrying that, months since the problem emerged, a contractor has not been found.
The tile trouble comes as a shock after the optimism of the night in 2014 the council launched late openings, although it is only 10 years since the 50-metre pool was reopened.
More than £2 million was spent on its refurbishment in response to 18 years of campaigning by local residents dismayed by Hackney’s mothballing the art deco treasure. One can envisage the lawyers estimating their fees for the inevitable law suits around the tile problem.
Facilities at the lido include a café, run by the small Hoxton Beach chain, clothes and hair driers, a sunbathing area and the popular communal showers. Individual showers are also available.
The best of these is the fully enclosed Stokey pool. Austere and less well designed than the lido, it is 2m deep for all of its 25m, which makes it of little use to would-be competitive swimmers. And to combat, ahem, swimmer-deposited fluids, it uses a different system from that at the lido: swimmers’ eyes often sting. It also has little effect on countering the strong perfumes some male swimmers fail to wash off before they enter the water. Other pools: press here.
Hamish Scott 170816
* Backstory: Happy, smiling high-paid elite of Hackney Town Hall; Let us spray, says Hackney; Hackney pulls plug on Haggy Baths hopes; Hackney chronicler wades in to save baths; Investors flood in for pool; Hackney washes its hands of heritage site; London Fields Lido lights up; Wetsuits in Hackney lido; Swimming may return to the Haggy; London Fields hipster heaven costs council £140,000;
* London Fields Lido is at the northwest end of London Fields E8 3EU (020 7254 9038)
* All pictures on this page © DavidAltheer [at] gmail.com, and all for sale for reproduction. Most photographs are available in bigger formats
* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained. A link in no way expresses support for any site.