CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Teen injured during heatwave fights in queue for Parliament Hill Lido

Calls for investment in more outdoor pools as warm weather leads to "ferocious queues"

05 July, 2018 — By William McLennan

SWIMMERS have called for more investment in outdoor facilities after tempers flared when thousands of people queued up for a dip at Parliament Hill Lido amid soaring temperatures.

Several fights broke out on Saturday, with one 15-year-old boy reported to have suffered a fractured eye socket and cheekbone.

Suspects were said to have been taken away in handcuffs following the altercation.

The lido closed to new arrivals as it reached capacity at 1pm on Sunday, with hundreds turned away.

Eleanor Kennedy, chair of the Parliament Hill Lido User Group, said: “Obviously people want to swim at the lido and that’s great. But the thing is, when it does get very hot, unfortunately it makes certain people in the queue a little bit more aggressive, a little bit more grumpy.

“It then makes it very unpleasant for everybody. The Lido then has to close because violence has broken out. It has to close because people are giving the staff grief.

“It’s really about keeping a cool head and realising that you might not be able to get in.”

She said that on a busy day lifeguards deal with up to 3,000 people, adding: “You have to expect that you may not get in. The queues are ferocious.”

Ms Kennedy said that people seeking a “proper swim” should aim to arrive early at the lido, which opens at 7am.

She said the crowds on warm days, coupled with the increasing number of year-round swimmers, showed the need for more outdoor pools.

“There should be more facilities like this in London. They’re obviously extremely popular. We shouldn’t have made the decision to turn them all into car parks. It’s an important call to the powers that be, to the council and the government, to provide more facilities for people. We have a huge number of people swimming all through the year and really obscene numbers wanting to swim when it’s hot.”

A spokesman for lido managers, the City of London Corporation, said: “The Metropolitan Police were called to an incident at Parliament Hill Fields Lido on Saturday afternoon. An injured per- son was taken the Royal Free Hospital by the Hampstead Heath Constabulary where he was treated for his injury.

“On Sunday, due to the length of the queue in the morning and the large numbers already inside the Lido, a decision was made by Heath staff to close the queue at 1pm, allowing the staff to man- age those visitors inside the facility safely.”

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