Swimmers from around Great Britain are now petitioning Mayor Sadik Khan to reopen the Crystal Palace Pool, which was closed back in March of 2020 due to structural issues.
The pool is part of the National Sports Center, which was opened in 1964 and has hosted several regional and international meets over the years. As an 8-lane, 50 meter pool, the Crystal Palace pool is one of the only long course pools in southeast London.
In March 2020, the pool sustained a cracked underwater window, resulting in its temporary closure. Due to the lockdowns imposed with the coronavirus pandemic, that closure was extended through the present day.
Now, London mayor Sadiq Khan has said that a decision regarding the pool’s future will be announced in the coming weeks. According to estimates, repairs on the pool could cost up to £1.3m, significantly over the £55,000 budget that the mayor allocated for maintenance of the facility.
Over 34,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org, calling for the Khan to repair and reopen the pool. According to the petition, supporters are asking Mayor Khan to:
- Commit to funding the repair of the 50m pool and diving pool, or putting in place a clear process to secure funding.
- Commit to a target reopening date, with regular progress updates between now and that point.
- Commit to a long-term future for our 50m pool in CP and to preserve the aesthetic and character of the listed building that houses it.
The petition has earned the support of several prominent community members, including Tokyo Olympian Eden Cheng, who finished 7th in the 10m synchro diving event last month. “I know a lot of divers who are at national level, even international level and without a pool like Crystal Palace so close to home and without the chance of gaining access to another pool with such high facilities, they lose interest in diving, and they just stop,” Cheng said in her support statement.
The Crystal Palace pool is one of two major competition facilities in London, with the other being the London Aquatics Center. Built in 2011 for the 2012 Olympic Games, the London Aquatics Center is roughly the same size as the Crystal Palace Pool, holding 2,500 spectators as compared to Crystal Palace’s 3,000. However, in recent years, the London Aquatics Center has taken over hosting duties from the Crystal Palace Pool, limiting the number of events held at the latter of the two stadiums.
The two pools are located about 15 miles from each other, with the London Aquatics Center being located in Central London and the Crystal Palace Pool located in Southeast London.