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Waltham Forest Lido: right idea, wrong place

Alice Roberts
By Alice Roberts
30th March 2023

Waltham Forest Lido: right idea, wrong place

CPRE London has a number of serious concerns about Waltham Forest’s proposals to locate a new lido on Low Hall Sports Grounds.

We are urging Waltham Forest residents to write to Cllr Grace Williams, leader of Waltham Forest Council, – to ask the council to locate the new lido on the old Larkswood Lido site and not on the Low Hall Sports Ground.

Playing fields – needed for sports. The Low Hall sports fields are well-used and much-needed for sports. While the council has said it would work with sports clubs to find alternative facilities, it is never straightforward ‘lifting’ clubs and moving them to another site: clubs may not even survive this disruption and relocation.

Low Hall Sports Ground. Image: Google Maps

Protected green space. The fields are also protected Metropolitan Open Land which should not be built on and, while lidos are open-air, they still require buildings, and the site will no longer be green open space as its protected status intends.

A better, alternative site – the old Larkswood Lido site in Chingford! There is a much better site for the lido: the site of the old Larkswood Lido in Chingford (see Lost Lidos). This was closed in 1987 and now hosts Chingford Leisure Centre – but the reality is that most of the site is now a large surface car park. If the lido was built on this site, there would be no need to build on Low Hall or move the sports clubs.

Chingford Leisure Centre site which is now largely a big surface car park. This would be a much more sustainable location for a new lido, without the need to build on playing fields. Image: Google Maps

Car park or lido? Waltham Forest Council is already a leader on delivering sustainable transport and can use this opportunity to do even more by converting a parking lot into a space for swimming and leisure, and promoting active travel at the same time.

Fitting with the council’s vision. Using this site would fit with the council’s vision for the lido to be part of a larger, multi-use community sport and leisure destination – since it is adjacent to the Larkswood Playing Fields and the Chingford Leisure Centre.

Larkswood Playing Fields, adjacent to the Chingford Leisure Centre site. Image Google Streetview


Larkswood Lido in Chingford in its heyday. It used to be on the site of the Chingford Leisure Centre.