Updated: Sep 16
News Shopper reports: Beckenham Place Park’s new wild swimming lake will be open to the public in a matter of weeks, ready for a launch event on July 20.
The much-anticipated lake forms part of a £4.9 million project to regenerate the park – which is the largest in the borough – funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It includes a new wet woodland, play areas, BMX track, skate park, public toilets, as well as a cafe, visitor hub and education centre in the Homestead.
Lewisham Council also contributed nearly £2 million to the project, which includes a new bridge over the Ravensbourne River.
Cllr Sophie McGeevor, cabinet member for parks and recreation, said the park “looked amazing” and hoped the new lake and play areas would encourage children and their families to live more active lifestyles. “We have just got the latest health figures for Lewisham and 38 per cent of year six pupils are overweight or obese,” she said. “It is really important to have activities to get kids outside. There has [already] been a lot of focus on sugar and healthy eating.”
Swimmers will have to book online and pay electronically when they turn up, she said. But there will be a free section of the lake for shallow paddling. The lake is expected to have lifeguards over the summer but will be open all year round.
Water quality will be tested every week with the lake filled from a natural borehole. The lake is around 285 meters long by 48 meters wide and is 3.5 meters at its deepest level.
But the project has not been without controversy, with a row breaking out in 2016 over the removal of the park’s golf course – the last public golf course in London.
A petition to keep the golf course garnered 7000 signatures.
Cllr McGeevor encouraged residents to book online for the launch event on July 20 when the link becomes available on Lewisham Council’s website over the next few days.
The full charging details have not yet been announced.