‘Fun is strictly NOT permitted!’ Historic council-owned Richmond lido bans sunbathing – and family swims – so upmarket locals can swim al fresco in peace
A council-run outdoor swimming pool in South West London has come under fire after telling local residents sunbathing is no longer permitted at the facility – and children can’t swim outdoors – despite the UK currently basking in sweltering temperatures.
Pools on the Park, one of several leisure centres that fall under the control of Richmond Council in South West London, boasts a heated 24-degree outdoor pool in spacious surrounds and has been a popular haunt for families for more than fifty years.
However, the Grade-II listed lido, built in 1966, has become increasingly strict, say residents, since the pandemic, with one local claiming she was told this week by a staff member that family swims were currently not permitted in the outdoor pool.
Last week, the Pools on the Park Twitter account announced that sitting on the grass area around the pool was also not allowed. All appointments to swim must be booked via phone or online in advance, according to the Richmond Council website.
London is currently enjoying a June heatwave, with temperatures today set to hit highs of 28C.
Pools on the Park, in Richmond, South-West London, declared that sunbathing around its historic Grade-II outdoor pool is currently not allowed
A message posted on the Pools on the Park Twitter account on June 9th reads: ‘We would like to remind customers that the outdoor grounds remain closed and sunbathing around the outdoor pool is not permitted.’
A second message said ‘the outdoor grounds access is only available once our core term-time program ends’ – although the poster didn’t clarify when that would be.
MailOnline has contacted Richmond Council for comment.
One local resident, Lydia Boyd, a mother-of-two, said stopping children from using such facilities in a cost-of-living crisis – and a heatwave – was unjust.
She told MailOnline: ‘This is a crucial facility for children who aren’t able to go on holiday, visit the seaside or join an expensive gym. As a council-run pool, it should be available to all members of the public.’
Heyday: The lido has long been a popular spot for families looking to cool off in a heatwave – but residents claim they’ve been told family swims are no longer allowed at the council-run facility
Local mum Lydia Boyd said she’d been told she was no longer allowed to take her two children to the outdoor pool. She told MailOnline: ‘As a council-run pool, it should be available to all members of the public.’
On Twitter, those who read the pool’s message about a sunbathing ban were equally unimpressed.
One wrote: ‘Any enjoyment or comfort is strictly not permitted @poolsonthepark.’
Another added: ‘Covid is over, drop the restrictions now’.
The historic swimming centre, previously known as Richmond Baths, first opened in 1966 and now has Grade-II listed status.
According to Zoopla, the average property price in the upmarket area of South West London was £1,170,908 in the last 12 months. A Council Tax band D property in the area costs £2,141.21 a month.
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