Swimmers complain they’re in the dark about London Fields Lido as Hackney Council admits opening is still weeks away
PUBLISHED: 14:54 13 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:11 13 October 2017
London Fields Lido could still be shut for several more weeks – much to the frustration of swimmers and clubs who say Hackney Council isn’t giving them enough information.
The popular pool was due to open a fortnight ago, having closed in April for major work on its crumbling tiles, and to give the changing rooms and reception area a makeover.
But since then, “there has been no word at all to anyone”, according to Becky Horsbrugh, who is doing a 10-mile charity swim in Bangladesh and was set to start training there with Swim for Tri last week.
The swimming club, which rents lanes at the pool, was given two days’ notice it would not be opening on September 30 after all. By that time it was too late to arrange an alternative venue and they had to refund 30 clients for their eight-week fitness courses – and they fear the customers might not come back.
“What’s infuriating was the short notice,” Dan Bullock from Swim for Tri told the Gazette. “They said: ‘Sorry – it’s overrunning,’ and that was it. I wonder what went wrong that suddenly that there was so much to do at such late notice, and why nobody could have given us two or three weeks’ notice to soften our response to our clients.
“We are a small group and rely on that income, and refunding lessons isn’t great for cash flow. We need a period of time to get clients in to ramp up interest, so to have the rug pulled from beneath your feet with two days’ notice was annoying, as is being kept in the dark with no news.”
Ms Horsbrugh has found the pool’s closure has had a big impact on her training.
“All we want to know is what is happening, and whether I need to join another club or not – just someone telling us something,” she said.
“It’s really frustrating for regular swimmers – the place has stayed open and makes money thanks to people like me who swim there throughout the year including on cold winter days.”
A spokesman for the council said the town hall needed to be “100 per cent certain” of a date that Etec Contract Services Ltd will have completed the works before announcing an opening date.
“We will announce a revised reopening date as soon as we can but anticipate that it could still take several weeks until all the work is completed to the required standard,” he admitted.