No more ‘Charlton Lido’? Tell us what you think

Charlton Lido - August 2012

Charlton Lido – August 2012

UPDATE 24th SEPTEMBER 2013: Mark Sesnan, MD of GLL, has left this comment in the thread below:

Dear Charlton Champion,

I am pleased to be able to inform your readers that GLL has discussed the naming of the Lido further with the Council and we have agreed that there needs to be more consultation as to what is the best name for the new facility.

GLL’s preference is now ‘Charlton Leisure Centre and Lido’, thus retaining Charlton in the name, but being clear that it is ‘more than’ just a Lido, but we are happy to hear other suggestions, however, as the owners and the people making the millions of pounds of investment and the organisation that actually has responsibility to make it work, GLL will of course make the final call on the name.

We very much appreciate the level of local interest in the Lido and hope that this will be reflected in patronage when we are fully up and running.

As soon as we have the relevant information we will let you know the plans for opening the new facilities in the new year and what date the pools will be back up and running in the Spring. Meantime, the pool will stay open until the end of October half term and a timetable leaflet is available at the Lido or on the web. Kids for £1 will run throughout this period.

Lets all look forward to a Charlton success story (in the Royal Borough of Greenwich – of course!).

Mark

Mark Sesnan
Managing Director
GLL (Greenwich Leisure Limited)

Many thanks to all who have supported our campaign asking GLL and Royal Borough of Greenwich to rethink their lido renaming plans – those who’ve signed the petition, RT’d our Twitter feed, spoken to their councillors, and so on – it’s clearly an issue that’s provoked strong feelings in SE7 and beyond. The decision’s not been finalised yet, though, so please: sign the petition, pass it on; and let us know what you think of GLL’s new proposal in the comments below.

 

UPDATE 21st SEPTEMBER: We’ve launched a petition asking GLL and Royal Borough of Greenwich to rethink the renaming: wecallitcharltonlido.co.uk. Please take a moment to sign it!

This week’s Greenwich Time reports that the council is changing the name of Charlton Lido (or Hornfair Lido) to “Royal Greenwich Lido”.

What do you think?

UPDATE: Twitter user @Juptin reports that ‘Royal Greenwich Lido’ signs have started to appear:

So far this site has had no confirmation from the council as to whether any public consultation has taken place regarding the renaming.

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About Neil Clasper

Photographer; @CharltonCSE7 contributor; @RRRipchords guitarist; business publishing & marketing professional. Based in Charlton, south-east London.
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37 Responses to No more ‘Charlton Lido’? Tell us what you think

  1. Philip Moore says:

    I’m old school – Blackheath & Greenwich born & bred!
    Greenwich is Greewich, Charlton is Charlton & Blackheath is Blackheath (NOT Greenwich or Lewisham – dependant on where precisely you live!) – So it’s “Charlton Lido” for me!
    What next? Will our local footie team be called “Royal Greenwich Athletic?

  2. Barbara says:

    Have we already lost the battle? I saw a direction sign up on Shooters Hill Road today with the ‘new’ name. I’ve voted to keep the name as Charlton Lido.

  3. hayley says:

    Hi, I’ve asked GLL about this (a name change would be their call). Like 67% of people I think it’s Charlton Lido through and through!

    • Neil Clasper says:

      Thanks Hayley. Do let us know what GLL say.

      • Hayley says:

        I will do. I haven’t heard anything yet. I’m very unhappy. About a year ago there was a proposal to call it ‘Royal Greenwich Charlton Lido in Hornfair Park’. I opposed it then and heard no more so this re-naming is a surprise to say the least.

  4. Mr_Chas says:

    You are correct Barbara. That sign has been there for at least a couple of weeks. Game over I fear. Normal stuff from our North Korean style council…

  5. Adam Bienkov says:

    Pah. It’s not in Greenwich and there’s no royal connection to it, plus it’s been known as Charlton Lido for three quarters of a century. Idiots.

  6. Mary says:

    It should stay as Charlton Lido! We live in Charlton, and we’ve seen this lido through thick and thin….it’s ours!!!!!

  7. Mary says:

    Personally – having been brought up in Gravesend – we called them ‘baths’. Posh places in London had indoor baths, places like Gravesend has outdoor baths. We had never heard of lidos.

  8. David Gardner says:

    If this is true, then it is an absolute disgrace and travesty done over the heads of local councillors, The Charlton Society and local people. It cannot be allowed to happen. Charlton Lido (sometimes called Hornfair Lido, and Hornfair is very much part of Charlton) has always been one of the pillars of the Charlton Village that defines our pride and sense of place – along with Charlton house, Maryon parks and the animal park and Charlton Athletic. After years of struggling to keep it opened, the council under Cllr Fahy have brought it back to life and great credit to them and GLL – but Charlton Lido it should remain through and through. It has always been used by people from throughout the Borough, more so after the demise of Eltham Lido, and from further afield, but has been referred to by everyone as Charlton (or Hornfair) Lido.

  9. hayley says:

    Latest news: The four signs saying ‘Royal Greenwich Lido’ will be taken down. The name has not yet changed. Although I think GLL do want to change the name in future so this poll will be very helpful in supporting local councillors in fighting to keep Charlton Lido, well, called what it is Charlton Lido.

  10. Pingback: ‘Year-round’ Charlton Lido to close for winter | The Charlton Champion

  11. Kate says:

    Charlton Lido is closing from 3 November until “the spring”. Finances don’t stretch to heating the pool in winter as not enough members have joined. Implied threat that if there continues to be insufficient members that the pool itself will be summer only.
    Email from Better today is below. Extremely disappointing and depressing news as the swimming alternatives are all small, overcrowded chlorine pits. I’m hoping you can shed some light on the way this has been handled by GLL. The pool has been very busy, but this is an atypical summer with 2 months of sunshine. As a regular swimmer who loves the Lido, this is worrying news.

    ROYAL GREENWICH LIDO, CHARLTON – UPDATE

    Dear Better Swim member,

    Firstly, may we take this opportunity to thank you for joining the Lido as a Better Swim member. It is only by having such members that we will be able to make the Business Plan for the Lido work as the Lido develops.

    Currently, however, we only have 144 people signed up on the scheme and this is going to create a significant financial problem for GLL come the winter.

    The long term business model for the Lido envisages the cost of operating the pool being subsidised by the new ‘dry side’ facilities, but these will not open or get traction until well into the New Year (2014)

    However, in the coming months we are facing a significant financial problem keeping the pool open through the winter.

    The key costs for GLL are Heating and Staffing. The Heating bill alone in winter ranges from £200 – £500 per day.

    Accordingly, we are expecting to close the Lido this winter from Sunday 3rd November until the Spring.

    We appreciate that this will be a disappointment for you. We had hoped to have attracted significantly more members by now, but as we have not, we have to face the economic reality that heating a massive open air Olympic pool cannot be sustained with less than 1,000 members. The equivalent facility that we run in Hackney (London Fields Lido) has 1,200 Better Swim members.

    We are hopeful that with the whole new complex ‘Royal Greenwich Lido, Charlton’ up and running next year we will be able to attract the necessary numbers to stay open all year round. GLL will have invested £4m of our money and £1m of Partners money by the time the scheme is finished, so we do need to make it work!

    Meantime, we would like to invite you to a ‘Meet GLL, Meet the Managers and Lido staff team, Meet your Fellow Better Swim Members’ Barbeque to be held at the Lido at 6pm on Wednesday 2nd October.

    As regards your Better Swim Membership, you will have the choice to either suspend your membership until the pool reopens, or you can continue to use your Better Swim membership at any of the Greenwich indoor pools as well as all our other pools around London. We will write to you nearer the date.

    We are sorry to be the bringer of this not so good news, I hope you will understand our position and I also hope you will join us on the evening of October 2nd.

    Best wishes,

    Mark Sesnan, Managing Director
    Victoria Butler, Manager Royal Greenwich Lido

    • Neil Clasper says:

      Hi Kate, thanks for posting this – we were just putting up a new post on this subject as you were writing! It is very concerning. I’ve had a note to say local councillors are following it up (as they were unaware until this evening), so it’ll be interesting to see what we hear back.

  12. Rachel Farhi says:

    Visited the Lido for the first time this weekend just to see what it’s like. Put off by the early weekday closing time as I’d never make it there in time from work. Shame as I’d love to actively support a new community asset.

  13. Pingback: Friends of Charlton Lido – time for action? | The Charlton Champion

  14. Pingback: SIGN OUR PETITION – ‘GLL: It’s called Charlton Lido because it’s in Charlton!’ | The Charlton Champion

  15. Nikki says:

    I suppose it’s unlikely anyone is following comments on this post but not the site generally, but just in case, it might be worth noting here that the Champion has a petition against the name change…

  16. Pingback: Weekend Round-Up | Londonist

  17. Mark Sesnan says:

    Dear Charlton Champion,

    I am pleased to be able to inform your readers that GLL has discussed the naming of the Lido further with the Council and we have agreed that there needs to be more consultation as to what is the best name for the new facility.

    GLL’s preference is now ‘Charlton Leisure Centre and Lido’, thus retaining Charlton in the name, but being clear that it is ‘more than’ just a Lido, but we are happy to hear other suggestions, however, as the owners and the people making the millions of pounds of investment and the organisation that actually has responsibility to make it work, GLL will of course make the final call on the name.

    We very much appreciate the level of local interest in the Lido and hope that this will be reflected in patronage when we are fully up and running.

    As soon as we have the relevant information we will let you know the plans for opening the new facilities in the new year and what date the pools will be back up and running in the Spring. Meantime, the pool will stay open until the end of October half term and a timetable leaflet is available at the Lido or on the web. Kids for £1 will run throughout this period.

    Lets all look forward to a Charlton success story (in the Royal Borough of Greenwich – of course!).

    Mark

    Mark Sesnan
    Managing Director
    GLL (Greenwich Leisure Limited)

    • Neil Clasper says:

      Dear Mark,

      Many thanks for the update; we appreciate you taking the time to respond here.

      It is good to hear that there has been a rethink on the name change. I can only speak for myself on this, but your new proposal certainly seems to make more sense than ‘Royal Greenwich Lido’.

      This site is also desperate for the lido to succeed: a number of the contributors are regular lido users (as, it seems, are our readers); additionally we see it as having great potential as a wider community asset. You have probably seen from the comments on this thread, and the more recent post about the lido closing for winter, that there is a local perception that the lido hasn’t been adequately promoted (eg your own website still says that London Fields lido is “the only 50m heated outdoor pool in London”; many regular swimmers were unaware of the membership scheme; there’s no signage at Charlton station, or the Standard, and so on), and part of the frustration about the way the name change was communicated was that – apart from the blow of losing local identity – it was implied that changing the name would magically bring in a bigger audience. If there was evidence to support this idea, people may have felt a little less annoyed.

      We would like to help raise the lido’s profile, and perhaps help you understand more how users have found the experience so far – our readers have already given a lot of feedback, and made a number of suggestions in comments on this website. If we were to gather some lido users and readers together, would you be amenable to discussing it further?

      Neil

      • Mark Sesnan says:

        Neil

        Happy to meet to discuss the Lido.

        I am sure that your Readers will of course appreciate that the key issue for us is not just the current users, it is the need to attract many new members from a much wider catchment than the Charlton area itself – or the project will simply fail.

        We accept that there were some basic mistakes made regarding the web etc, but thousands did turn out on hot days despite this. Regrettably though we cannot run the business plan based solely on the British weather!

        Best wishes

        Mark

        Mark Sesnan

        Managing Director GLL

        GLL is a Charitable Social Enterprise

        This message is sent from my mobile device.

    • Nikki says:

      Mark,

      Thank you very much for commenting here, but more thanks are due for the constructive approach you put forward in your messages above.

      Anyone who uses the lido at the moment can see that you’re right, of course, and it needs more custom. Those of us that do go are, as you might have gathered, evangelical about the place. While we’re looking forward to having indoor loos and changing rooms, I think everyone appreciates what GLL have done so far. Whether online or talking to neighbours I’ve heard nothing but praise for the lido since you reopened last year: your staff are great, the different uses of the pool are always sensibly managed and the pool itself looks wonderful. So I’m really looking forward to seeing how we users can better channel some of this positivity and support so that we can do our bit to make sure the lido’s sustainable.

      If we were to establish a ‘friends of’/ users group as Neil suggests in his more recent post, would we be able to set up a regular schedule of meetings, perhaps with the local lido management?

      I’m so pleased to hear that you’re minded to keep Charlton in the name. Names and local identity mean a lot to people, as the comments on our petition bear out. If I were to have things entirely my own way, I’d prefer ‘Charlton Lido and Leisure Centre’ – could this alternative be considered?

  18. Mr_Chas says:

    Dear All I would suggest the most simple. Charlton Lido Leisure Centre It sums all facilities up in one go

  19. clogsilk says:

    I’m not sure I can 100% agree that the Lido has been brilliantly managed since it reopened – the timetable on the website is wrong, resulting in me having two very grumpy children on Saturday afternoon, and the pricing is extremely expensive, even with kids for a quid it cost me £8 to take my two there. It would have cost me £3.75 to take them to my local pool.

    I also encountered spectacularly aggressive swimming there from some users while I was doing my triathlon training.

    Shutting over the winter is also a nuisance as it means schlepping elsewhere to train outdoors.

    The tone of GLL’s responses also appears rather arrogant to me: “however, as the owners and the people making the millions of pounds of investment and the organisation that actually has responsibility to make it work, GLL will of course make the final call on the name…” Any need to be quite so pompous about it?

    Charlton Lido Leisure Centre seems to work well if there is an absolute insistence on drawing attention to the other facilities (once they are actually in place of course).

    • Mark Sesnan says:

      Hi Clogsilk

      Not sure what the issue is with Saturday afternoon opening?
      The Lido has been open every Saturday from 9am to 5pm since Easter and that is what it says on the web site.
      Also you need only pay £4 if you get yourself a Greenwichcard.

      Mark

      • clogsilk says:

        Hi Mark

        I don’t live in Greenwich, so don’t think I’m eligible for a Greenwich card. The issue on Saturday was with the training pool which the timetable said would be closed on Saturday morning and open in the afternoon. In fact it was the other way around.

        Clare

  20. Mark
    I am one of the locals who is passionate about the Lido, and there is good momentum to form a users group. Neil Clasper has been a fabulous advocate for this so far but is Better going to lead this? Other lido’s at Hampton Court, Saltdean, Portsmouth, I can see are making excellent progress in imaginative events & members schemes to raise awareness with the local community and build a loyal members group.
    Surely there are simple & cheap ways to start drawing in local users on social media streams, as well as more complex potential arrangements for things like involvement from schools, creating ‘other use’ like pop up’s [films, crafts groups and restaurants have been mentioned so far], and a users group would help spread the passion.
    Fiona Veacock

  21. Tsk, and I should have added that as locals it makes far more sense that we would feel more local pride and support for ‘Charlton Lido’ not something renamed for Greenwich…

  22. Alan Palmer says:

    Thanks, Mark, for your posts. I’m glad that GLL has had a rethink. As you and Neil have stressed, though, the council still have to give their opinion. I suspect they’ll be more recalcitrant in giving up their beloved ‘Royal Greenwich’ in the name.

    While I feel that ‘Charlton Leisure Centre and Lido’ is a definite improvement, I think it should be called ‘Charlton Lido and Leisure Centre’, stressing the attraction to most people. Out of curiosity, why didn’t the original “Royal Greenwich’ name include ‘Leisure Centre’?

  23. Mary says:

    I still think it should be called “Charlton Lido” and then just advertise the gym facilities….after all, “The Arches” doesn’t have all its facilities spelt out in the title, does it? Second best is “Charlton Lido and Leisure Centre” because the lido was there first and should be mentioned first, and be the unbroken main part of the name.

  24. stewart says:

    Stewart
    I swim at London Fields heated Lido every day and all through winter. Its very well attended and in itself has really contributed to the upgrade of the area. It took some time from 2004 to build up a head of steam, Id say its one of the best pools in the country, not many heated Lidos.. only . Charlton would be similar.

    GLL/Better are a bit useless at doing anything like this. In fact all they can do is suggest putting in gyms etc as this is all they’re good at, and spending money on unnecessary (ugly) developments keeping all their developer buddies in salaries. Maintaining drains? getting people to go? not so much.

    So keep an eye on GLL, like a hawk or they will close it all the time and still get paid.

    • Mark Sesnan says:

      Stewart
      GLL do not get paid anything for running Charlton Lido, in fact we lost £200,000 on this summers operation despite the Lido being packed every hot day.
      Accordingly we have to put gyms in to subsidise your swim.
      Thanks for your positivity, it all goes to make ones day…..
      Mark

  25. orangeblimp says:

    Sounds to me the The Royal Borough is ashamed of Charlton???

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