London Fields Lido to reopen in ‘several weeks’: preposterous panic claim by Hackney council

LidoNight14: London Fields Lido floodlight switch-on 11121 © david.altheer@gmail,com
A switch-off: would-be users are worrying about how long the lido will be dark

LONDON FIELDS LIDO could reopen in several weeks, according to Hackney council.

Community services councillor Jon Burke said “our regular inspections indicate that a reopening date is still several weeks away”.

Encouraging? No, lido lovers will worry about that “still”, suggesting as it does that a reopening several weeks away had been earlier mentioned. It had not.

The statement shows signs of panic, to fob off increasingly concerned users. It was made in response to continued pressure from Loving Dalston for answers about what has become a farce.

Burke said two main areas of work remained on the, uhm, snagging list:

* the ducting and air-handling unit was badly installed, so the contractor, Etec, had been told to strip it out and start again;

* drainage, finishes, flooring and tiling were “not finished to an acceptable standard initially” and were “being rectified”.

LonFieldsLido©DA0917: London Fields Lido Dalston E8 220917 ©
The pool looking good in late summer — until quality problems emerged

The swim supremo admitted that users of the 50m pool were “losing their patience more than two months after the planned reopening”, saying “We are equally frustrated and due to the contractor’s track record of missing deadlines we are not able to confirm an actual opening date.”

Confirm? The only date he he has so far confirmed was 30 September 2017, a deadline that came and went more than a month ago.

The council, said Burke, was coming down hard on the contractor, Etec, for “non-compliant work and missed deadlines”.

At this late stage, Hackney clearly believes it cannot sack the north London firm.

So the council is using contractual financial penalties to press Etec to finish the work as well and as quickly as possible. Homeowners will know just how badly contractors can react to such tactics.

It could be worse. Hackney previously kept the Olympic-length lido closed for years, and Clissold Pool, the replacement for the original pool at N16 9EX, went wildly over-budget. (Let us not even dip our feet in the Britannia pool controversy that has also upset Hackneyites.)

HaggyBaths: derelict pool in Haggerston Hackney LON 120313 © david.altheer@gmail,com
Haggerston Baths: another pool that has dipped Hackney council in ignominy

Then there is Haggerston pool, the Edwardian gem at E2 8BA, just west of the corner of Whiston and Queensbridge roads. Labour regimes left it to moulder for years, just as they did London Fields Lido. The council next week tries to sort something out.

Talks about that sinking feeling… when it comes to pool provision Hackney council at some point gets out of its depth. Anybody got a lifeline?

David Altheer 191117

Backstory: Hackney council drowning at deep end; Reopening date sinks without explanationLido nears end of repairs for serious leaksLido repairs going well, says contractorLate reprieve for lidoHiring a contractor is not going swimminglyLido’s off-the-wall horror; Sell Haggerston heritage says Hackney 

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