Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Floating swimming pool in Greenland Dock - countdown to end of consultation period

Hi All

Just a reminder that the consultation period for the ill thought-out planning application 15/AP/1752 for a permanent floating heated and chlorinated swimming pool, measuring 40m x 20m (125 ft x 65 feet), at Surrey Docks Watersports Centre in Greenland Dock.  The operating hours of the pool are expected to be from 6am to 10pm.  This will place it immediately in the vicinity of the Rope Street apartments and opposite Tavistock Tower and the dock-facing houses and apartments of Russia Court East.

Depending on which of Southwark Council's information sources you consult, it's the 3rd, 4th or 7th of November so I'd recommend that if you wish to submit objections, you do so by the 3rd on the Southwark Council planning page for this application.  It is very important that if you have objections you make them now by leaving your comments on the Comments page at:

If allowed to go ahead it would be incredibly noisy with the sound of screaming kids carrying over the water.  Given the Dock's acoustics, the noise from the pool (and there will be a lot of noise) will be amplified and bounced around all houses surrounding the dock.  It is going to be terribly ugly too, an artificial appendage with ugly shower blocks completely out of keeping with the residential tranquillity of Greenland Dock and its heritage.  There are also potential problems with traffic and parking to add to those that will be caused by the new developments behind the watersports centre and the one planned for South Dock that will have blocks of 20, 15, 8 and 3 storeys.  There are much wider considerations too, some of which are described in a recent comment copied below:

This development conflicts with Policy 3.26 of the Southwark Plan (Borough Open Land):
(i)    The proposal is not ancillary to the use of the open space-it is a new use for the open space that would conflict with existing uses by closing off a section of water to all other users, as well as to wildlife.
(ii)    The proposal is not small in scale. A 40m x 20m development plus surrounds would have a major impact on the dock, on water users and visitors as well as residents.
(iii)    It will detract from the site's open nature and character. The design is unsympathetic to the Dock's current construction and will not "blend in".
(iv)    It is not required to enhance activities associated with Greenland Dock. In fact the development will if anything conflict with existing activities. There is no substantive information provided on the demand for this facility in the local area.
(v)    It does not positively contribute of the setting and quality of the open space. The application does not have sufficient detail to allow an informed view, but the pictures supplied suggest that the development will be visually intrusive.
The development is in our view also contrary to the following Southwark Plan

The development will add significantly to the noise impact on other users and local residents and for significantly longer periods in the day than the noise arising from current uses, contrary to Policy 3.2. There is no substantive information on proposed hours of use. Outdoor swimming pools are inevitably noisy. The surrounds of this development, being largely water and solid surfaces will amplify the noise levels unacceptably.

The development provides no assurance for the removal of the facility should it prove to be uneconomic to operate or become damaged beyond repair.  Ratepayers would then have to pay for its removal. The Council may find it very difficult to make a claim under the manufacturer's warranty unless it is fully involved in the development. The application has no information on pricing, volume estimates, capital and running costs to allow an informed assessment of the likely economics and consequent risk of closure.

It is also not possible from the information in the application to assess what the transport impacts might be and whether they would conflict with Policy 5.2.

The potential environmental impacts are significant should there be a leak of water- over the life of a facility of this type the risk of a leak must be substantial. The application has no environmental impact assessment to assess the risks systematically and to set out risk mitigations which could be the subject of planning conditions and associated enforcement measures.

There is no information on the need to store and use hazardous substances e.g. chlorine for water purification, contrary to Policy 3.10. The Dock's existing pontoons need to be scrubbed daily for bird droppings. There is no information on how the swimming pool would handle bird droppings.

There is no information on security arrangements to prevent unauthorised access to the pool when it is closed, contrary to Policy 3.14. The pool is likely to be a magnet for illicit users during the summer, with significant noise and nuisance for local residents. The current Watersports Centre security arrangements are unlikely to be sufficient.

There is no information on the energy consumption and grey water management of the development and how the methods chosen to heat the facility and recycle the water will minimise the environmental impact, contrary to Policies 3.4 and 3.9. Given the existence of a local indoor pool, there is no justification for any significant additional emissions or waste, directly or indirectly, from this development.

The development will not enhance the character or appearance of Greenland Dock, which is a historic environment, contrary to Policy 3.15

The planning details are:  15/AP/1752 -  Installation of a 40m by 20m floating, self supporting swimming pool in Greenland Dock. Greenland Dock, Watersports Centre, Rope Street, London, SE16 7SX.  The Case Officer is Dipesh Patel. Full documentation and other details are on Southwark Council's website at:

The documents for the case are at:

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