Lido Proposed for Wormwood Scrubs

Plan would see Olympic-sized pool by Linford Christie Stadium

Open air lidos are becoming increasing popular across London
Open air lidos are becoming increasing popular across London. Picture: West London Lido


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A volunteer group called West London Lido has been set up with the aim of creating a new public lido by Wormwood Scrubs, possibly by the site of the Linford Christie Stadium.

The group estimates that the project could be realised with funding of around £15 million. The aim would be to create a purpose-built open-air swimming facility that would be open all year round and accessible and affordable for the whole community.

An Olympic size pool is envisaged, 50m by 25m with ground-sourced heating, surrounded by poolside changing rooms and a sun terrace.

There would a small splash pool for children and cafe. Additional facilities might include a gym, exercise studio, small group spin studio, yoga room and community meeting rooms. It could integrate with cycle lanes and include a compact bike park.

Other London lidos such as Brockwell Park, Gospel Oak and London Fields are popular with residents in those areas and reportedly have seen in increase in usage during the pandemic. The nearest purpose-built lido to the location proposed is over 8 miles away.

The group has considered a number of sites across west London including Gunnersbury Park, Gladstone Park and Dukes Meadow.

Its preferred site now is the southern built-up edge of Wormwood Scrubs which would have the least impact on the ecology of the open green space.

On its web site the West London Lido group says, "Open air swimming is good for physical health, fitness and mental wellbeing. It can help combat a range of conditions including obesity, diabetes, asthma, arthritis, dementia and depression.

"A quick splash or a couple of lengths is good for the body and the soul. It’s exhilarating and gives you an all-day buzz. At a lido, you can swim, meet friends, have a coffee or sit and read. Or just enjoy the play of sunlight on water.

"The threat from Climate Change means we need new alternatives to cheap flights abroad. Longer hotter summers and milder winters make an all-year-round lido more viable. "

The Friends of Wormwood Scrubs responded to the proposal by saying, "We’ve been approached by The West London Lido group which has been launched to campaign for an open-air, heated, public swimming pool on the Linford Christie Stadium (LCS) site. It is an idea which has attracted a lot of interest among Friends not least because it seems an all-round healthier and more nature-friendly future for LCS than becoming a giant football stadium."

At the moment the group is looking to consult widely and build support before securing a site and aiming to raise funds. It believes it is possible that a lido could be completed in the next few years and, with a 'rock-solid' business plan would not require any financial support from the council.

The group is encouraging people to give feedback on its plans - you can do so on its web site.

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January 13, 2022

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