Campaigners have launched a petition calling for the London Borough of Merton to consider the needs of open water swimmers when they carry out essential repair works to the lake in Wimbledon Park.
Wimbledon Park, including its lake, was first designed by revered engineer Capability Brown in 1765. Brown built a dam across the valley to convert a marshy stream into a 9-hectare lake. Stuart Coleman, part of the Swim Wimbledon campaign team says: “Today the lake is still beautiful but is arguably very under-utilised. Local residents and swimming enthusiasts are aiming to change that and Swim Wimbledon is bringing together their voice.”
The council are required to carry out the improvement works by January 2022. These include tackling the high levels of silt that have built up over the years. Swim Wimbledon say that with a little extra thought, planning and attention, these improvement works could include planning and preparation to make the lake ready and safe for swimming.
“In days gone by the lake was frequented by swimmers. Why should that not happen now?” says Coleman. “The adjacent athletics track and wider facilities could also make the venue perfect for supporting multisports events as well as open water swimming, not to mention local schools in Merton and Wandsworth boroughs that do not have enough accessible public swimming facilities.
Swim Wimbledon is looking for supporters to sign their petition to put forward their case to make the lake safer and more accessible for swimming.
Image: Alexey Komarov