After a tireless campaign driven by our wonderful local community, last week, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has committed to funding the renovations for the 50m pool and diving pool at the Crystal Palace National Sport Centre.
Our community fought tirelessly with a petition that received over 20,000 signatures in just a week and now stands at over 40,000 signatures. I have also been lobbying the Mayor for some time to commit to this, so I am delighted by this news. I’m also extremely grateful for the support from Swim England, who helped champion our local campaign.
These pools have been closed since March 2020, with delays to repairs to the 60-year-old listed building caused partly by the pandemic and a lack of funding for remedial work, but this is a key local resource for the community.
The reopening of the pools is particularly important for local leisure swimmers, but also for the next generation of elite swimmers who use it frequently for training, as it is one of only a handful of 50 metre pools in London and the only one for neighbouring Kent. The closures have meant that swimmers, divers, and water polo players have all had to travel extremely long distances for well over a year now to use specialist facilities elsewhere.
I recently met with the Minister for Sport to raise this with him as well as call for funding ahead of the Autumn Budget and Spending Review and I will also be meeting with Sport England to see if they can guarantee any provision of funding for the future of the pool and National Sports Centre more widely to add to that guaranteed by the Mayor.
Getting the pools open again is crucial to nurturing the talent of the future, as well as providing local people with a place to exercise and enjoy themselves. We must now ensure that this is delivered as soon as possible with a clear target reopening date put in place.