‘Drain the lake, import more sand and build a bigger car park’: How to ‘save’ Ruislip Lido that has become a ‘dump’, according to residents

In a corner of West London, close to the end of the Central Line, is Ruislip. Known for being one of the best connected commuter towns, its Polish War memorial and also its Lido. In recent times the Lido has become a hot topic for locals in the area and now some have given their opinion on how to return the man-made beach and lake to its former glory.

Formed from imported sand, the beach is accompanied by a miniature railway track, café, and nature walks, perfect for a sunny day. From the outset Ruislip Lido seems like the perfect place spend the day and have a relax. However, the opinions of locals are not flattering and many want to see the Lido revamped so it is no longer “undesirable” and can become a place that Hillingdon’s residents are proud of.

The main problems that locals complained about included the water safety, or lack of it, and the lack of facilities to put up with increasing levels of tourism. Currently, swimming is not permitted in the reservoir. Even though the Lido has a beach, Hillingdon Council warn of the danger that Blue Green Algae poses to humans and pets, as well as “certain microscopic parasites” which can cause allergic reactions.

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Car parking and overcrowding have both been criticised by locals who want to see the council make a change

One local who was particularly unhappy with the current state of Ruislip Lido was a dog walker who often takes her pet Labrador around the woods which border the reservoir. Lisa Grange, 27, said: “I’ve lived in Ruislip my whole life and the place has just become a dump. We need to fix it because it could be a beautiful place.

“I think it needs new sand because it’s dirty and maybe even drain the lake, rid it of blue green algae and it could become great for the area. We could see water sports return and I’m sure swimmers would love the opportunity too enter the water again. It seems a shame that they can’t.”


Locals want the Lido to be returned to its former glory and have the water cleaned

Another flaw of the Lido, pointed out by locals, was how overcrowded it gets on warmer days. Local residents wanted more car parking spaces to become available so that less of the surrounding roads were stacked up with cars from out of town visitors. In an effort to combat this, Hillingdon Council officers limit the Lido to 1,200 people during busy periods.

According to local café worker, Richard Oakes, 32, this doesn’t work, he said: “It needs change round here. It can just about cope with the usual traffic but on a sunny day its chocker block. Cars will fill up the roads in about a mile radius just to come to the beach.

“We need to make the car park bigger for one because this will help as it puts people off having to park ages away. People even get blocked in the car park during the summer months because of desperate people wanting to make the most of the sun. It’s funny because a lot of people come and done realise you can’t swim in the water, even though it’s a beach.”

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The Council advise swimmers not to enter the water due to allergy and blue green algae dangers

As well as the water and overcrowding, the other main topic was the cleanliness of the beach and Lido. One resident labelled the sand on the beach “dirty” and another said “the sand is just used to bury litter”. A worker at the same café as Richard even suggested “importing more sand” in the hope to make the beach look “a bit cleaner”.

Despite criticism, there was hope among locals that Ruislip Lido had the potential to change and be returned to its former glory. Most people thought that with a bit of attention to residents’ suggestions, Ruislip Lido could become a great space for the community and tourists alike.

Finally, Marla, 47, who lives in Ruislip Central, said: “It’s not a great place but it can easily be changed and we can make a good area of it. It could be great, so much potential. Just ask yourself why the hell they have a beach next to a body of water that they actively encourage people not to swim in. Change this an we’re on to a winner.”

The Council actively encourage use of public transport to Ruislip Lido and the H13 and 331 buses stop close by Ruislip Lido and the woods. Hillingdon Council were contacted for comment but did not reply in time for publication.

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