A picture of what the Peckham Lido would look like - a very modern structure with wooden panellingm modern showers and a 50-metre outdoor pool

Peckham Lido undeveloped despite over £63,000 raised for reopening

The Peckham Rye Common Lido remains undeveloped despite a crowdfunding page raising over £63,000 for a feasibility study in July 2016 for its reopening.

The money was raised by over 1,000 backers, including a pledge of £7,500 from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and £10,000 from Southwark Council.

The feasibility study, a preliminary exploration of the rebuilding of Peckham’s lido, was published in April 2021 and demonstrated the project’s merits and viability.

A waiter at Peckham’s Mr. Bao restaurant said: “The rebuilding of the lido is Peckham’s biggest mystery.”

Henry Harker, director at Haydon Finch said: “Every year or so I look it up and find nothing.

“I’ve tried to contact them via social media but I’ve heard nothing and they don’t make it easy to contact them either.

“I’m an architect myself and I like and respect the practice involved and wanted to support a project out of my business’ pocket.

“I’m surprised that there isn’t more transparency on where the professional fees were spent, even just an email update would have been appreciated, but I haven’t had anything sent to me since 2016.”

The current state of the common where the lido was proposed to be built on top of the former outdoor pool

The Peckham Lido campaign, founded in May 2016 by locals Ben Lloyd-Ennals and Jim Glynn, is a joint project between Peckham Lido Community Interest Company (CIC) and architectural firm Studio Octopi to create a space with a 50-metre pool and a café.

The campaign sought to bring biodiversity, health and wellbeing to the heart of the community, as well as new jobs and a boost to the local economy.

Studio Octopi’s Design Proposals taken from the Peckham Lido Feasibility Study Summary Report April 2021

A source close to the campaign who wanted to remain anonymous said: “Southwark Council, having been supportive of the idea initially, completely stopped engaging with the project quite soon after the raising of the crowdfunding funds for the feasibility study.

“It’s been many years since the feasibility study was completed, and the council has refused to comment on whether they are supportive or against the project.”

The Southwark Council said: “We have nothing to add to the matter.”

The Peckham Lido CIC and Studio Octopi said that they are not in a position to give an update at this moment in time.

The blue fountain is all that remains of the former Peckham lido

The former lido served swimmers and sunbathers for more than 50 years in Peckham Rye Common before it fell into disrepair and shut in 1987, where it was then buried.

Jill Hanrahan, a Peckham resident, said: “I used to go to Peckham lido 55 years ago for the whole day.

“Mum used to make me 4 spam rolls and a bottle of orange squash and we had the best times ever.

“Then a few years later we used to go over the fence late at night for a midnight dip – the good old days!”

Valerie Scott added: “I was brought up a couple of minutes from the old lido and learnt to swim there.

“It’s a grand idea to rebuild it.

“Us oldies have nothing but good memories of the lido.

“Bring it back and let the kids of today have some of the fun we had.”

Crowds cheer at the former Peckham lido back ‘in the good old days.’ Credit: Peckham Lido Spacehive Crowdfunding Page

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