Us Londoners sure do love an outdoor dip, after all – ’tis finally the season to splash around in outdoor pools and caption your Instagram posts: ‘costa del [insert borough name here]’. No-one can deny the physical and mental benefits of outdoor swimming, I mean, there’s a reason why it’s become so popular over the past few years. Unfortunately though, we can’t all be the ‘adventurous and outdoorsy’ types who are happy to dive straight in at the first sight of open water. So, if you’re not quite ready for wild swimming, lido’s are pretty darn handy if you’re summering (or apparently Septembering) in the city.
It seems as though we’re not the only ones with lidos on the brain as Redbridge Council has announced plans to build a huge new lido in Valentine’s Park, Ilford – and when we say huge, we mean it. If all goes well, then next summer we can expect the likes of a 25-metre and six-lane pool, a children’s splash-pad, some swanky changing facilities, a café, a gym, a dance and exercise studio, a meeting room, a car park, and a picnic area. Blimey, they’d better get to work.
The lido is being built in response to the increasing popularity of open-air swimming, but it won’t be the first lido to have graced Valentine’s Park. There was an outdoor pool in the East London park between 1923-1995, but it had to be closed due to upkeep costs. The new lido will be built nearby to the original, inside the beautiful and historic Valentine’s Park and the council expect to utilise the latest technology to ensure the lido is sustainable and cost efficient to run.
No timeline for construction has yet been agreed, but public consultations regarding the future of the pool are taking place over the next few weeks and residents of the area will be invited to give feedback on the proposed new designs.
Councillor Kam Rai, Deputy Leader of Redbridge Council and Cabinet Member for Finance and Regeneration said “Our borough is a great place to live, work, and visit, and we’re continuing to invest in leisure facilities so local families and visitors can access everything they need right on our doorstep. The new lido will provide a sustainable, fun, and social place for people to exercise in the great outdoors, while boosting our local economy and restoring the heritage of Valentines Park.”
Find out more about the proposed plans here.