Permanent lido could come to the Royal Victoria Docks
PUBLISHED: 12:00 13 August 2018
The Royal Victoria Docks could have a permanent lido after thousands of swimmers flocked to a temporary urban beach there during the heatwave.
Since it opened on July 18 more than 25,000 sunseekers have used the free beach which is managed by City Hall’s Royal Docks Team.
However it faced closing this week after GLA bosses failed to apply for permission to stay longer than 28 days but Newham Council gave permission for it to continue trading until September 2.
If the project is deemed successful the team will put in place plans for a permanent pool in the docks “subject to extensive feasibility work”, a Mayor’s Office spokesman said.
Programme director Daniel Bridge told the Recorder: “This is the first time we have come on board to manage the project and we have had an incredibly successful year.
“We are going to expand the idea of a permanent pool. We are testing the water, if you like, to see if we can open something more permanent.”
North east of the river is “particularly lacking” in official outdoor swimming spaces, Mr Bridge said, and hundreds of bathers have taken to illegally diving into the docks during the scorching weather.
“We are providing a safe, secure place to swim and that has been really welcomed,” he added.
The Royal Docks Beach is the flagship event after the team secured £314 million of funding for regeneration of the area in June.
This is the sixth year the beach has been open for the summer, but the first time it has been managed by the City Hall team and the lido has been included.
Newham Council heard a last minute planning application for the pontoon, children’s pool, sundeck, toilet block, changing rooms and beach kiosk, and agreed to let the event stay open until September 2 as planned.
Councillor Rachel Tripp said: “We want to do our best for residents, which means we like to see applications they are set up and already done.”
Mr Bridge added: “We overlooked the fact we needed planning permission to stay longer than 28 days. It was a mistake and we should have handled it a lot earlier, but it won’t happen again.”