Today brought good news for Charlton Lido swimmers with the announcement that the current opening times will be extended through November. In previous years the timetable has been cut back in winter with the heated pool closed on some weekdays. The centre was one of the first to reopen after lockdown and has been busy since with swimmers taking the opportunity to exercise outdoors.
**Winter Timetable Update**
We are excited to inform you all we have extended the current opening times throughout November as well, for the first time!
This means you can swim 06.30-20.30 weekdays and 09.00-17.00 at weekends!#JustKeepSwimming
We’ve also learnt that the centre’s popular Swim Doctor sessions will restart in November – a chance for adults to improve their swimming technique and fitness. Booking opens October 28th via the app or website, with the first sessions starting Tuesday 3rd November at 9:30am, then Friday 7am & Saturday 11am. Spaces will be limited and must be pre-booked.
In other lido news, the pool covers were recently replaced, which has – in this writer’s experience at least – improved the average water temperature, particularly in the mornings.
Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to open their doors, so long as they keep the details of who visits them. But swimming pools and indoor gyms “need to remain closed for now”, Johnson said, calling them “close-proximity venues”.
Johnson said he agreed with Dartford’s Conservative MP, Gareth Johnson, who said people should “their patriotic best for Britain and go to the pub”.
The news brought an angry reaction from Mark Sesnan, the boss of GLL, which runs facilities for Greenwich and councils across London and beyond. The organisation, which brands itself Better, was founded out of Greenwich Council’s leisure services department in 1993 and now runs 270 centres, but has been hit hard by the enforced closure.
GLL’s other centres in the borough include the Waterfront Leisure Centre in Woolwich and the Greenwich Centre. It took over Charlton Lido in 2012 after previous plans by Greenwich Council to hive it off as a diving centre failed.
In an email to customers, he said: “The government has made a potentially catastrophic mistake by leaving community leisure centres, indoor gyms and swimming pools off the list of businesses that can re-open on 4th July. Nor given any indication when they might re-open. This needs urgent review and we need to open as early as possible.
“This will be bad for business, bad for jobs and bad for the health of the nation.”
He said the decision would put thousands of jobs at risk, lead to leisure facilities closing and “vulnerable businesses, including many not-for-profit organisations, folding”.
Last month, a report to Greenwich Council’s cabinet said the pandemic had resulted in “serious financial implications for GLL due to the loss of revenue at borough leisure centres. This is the subject of pan-London discussions.” Other boroughs where GLL operate include Camden, Croydon, Islington, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.
“It has been proven that conditions such as obesity and diabetes significantly increase the risks associated with Covid-19,” Sesnan added.
“We all enjoy a pint. But if pubs and restaurants can reopen it defies logic that indoor sports and leisure facilities remain closed – particularly public facilities designed to serve local communities. This decision appears misguided and short sighted. We need an opening date for our sector immediately.”