The Olympic-sized pool at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre has hopefully been saved, after the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced investment for desperately-needed repairs.
The pool closed in March 2020, following a cracked underwater window, and has remained that way since, much to the chagrin of swimmers and divers who use the facility — both casual and professional.
A petition was launched to secure the future of the venue — one of the few 50m pools available to Londoners — saying: "The success of the GB swimming and diving teams at the 2020 Olympics shows how maintaining facilities like this can be central to nurturing the athletes of the future as well as providing local people with a place to exercise and enjoy themselves." The petition has now be signed by over 40,000 people, and may well have helped influence Khan's promise to allocate funds.
Designed by LCC Architects, the pool opened in 1964 as part of the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre (now Grade-II listed), and has become something of a mecca for those training for triathlon and diving events — as well as for school classes, water polo teams and casual swimming. Its reinforced concrete diving platform is both an invaluable facility for divers, and something of an architectural masterpiece.
Diving gold medallist Tom Daley has used the pool to train in his time — as have many other athletes who've gone on to scoop medals for Team GB — and the Brazilian team even used it as their hub during the 2012 Olympics.
Ellie Reeves, the Labour MP for Lewisham West and Penge, tweeted her joy at the news that the Mayor of London would be investing in renovations:
After a tireless campaign driven by our wonderful local community, @SadiqKhan has committed to funding the renovations for the 50m pool and diving pool at Crystal Palace. We now must ensure that this is delivered on as soon as possible & get our pools reopened.— Ellie Reeves (@elliereeves) November 12, 2021
It's not yet known how much the investment will be or when renovations will commence, although a spokesperson for Khan said: "[the mayor] has asked his team to urgently contract a firm to plan and carry out the necessary renovation works, with the goal of maximising the time the pools are available for use."