Council in deep end over paddling pool

A PADDLING pool outside Swiss Cottage leisure centre has been given the go-ahead, two years after the council paid for it

Katie Davies

A PADDLING pool outside Swiss Cottage leisure centre has been given the go-ahead, two years after the council paid for it.

When the new-look centre was opened in 2006 a special system was built into the fountain to allow a paddling pool to be developed.

It allows staff to flip a switch and let water build up so kids can splash around in the sun.

However, only now is the council pushing ahead with the plans - and leisure chiefs estimate it could be September before the paperwork is completed.

Stan Dobson, who lives in the Taplow tower block next to the centre, said it's a shame the council is missing this year's early heatwave.

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"The paddling pool was always a part of the design - the council just didn't bother putting it in," he said.

"They have a new contractor now who said they would get it in by September. I just hope it happens. It is a shame they've missed this good run of weather."

The paddling pool was originally delayed because the water was found to be too dirty. Instead, jets of water spray those frolicking around but no depth is built up in the fountain.

However, despite the dirty water problem being solved, the paddling pool idea was still delayed.

Mr Dobson continued: "Everyone goes on about finding things for kids to do. They spent a lot of money for this system and we saw a year without children enjoying it."

Visitors enjoying the good weather outside the leisure centre this week supported plans for the full-scale paddling pool.

Mother-of-three Amy Ashton said: "The fountain is great but the rest of the area needs to be further developed for children. I think a paddling pool would do that."

Another mother-of-three, Anne Lee from Baker Street, said: "A paddling pool would be fantastic. It would be great to have that and let's just hope the weather stays like this for a lot longer."

Others without children also supported the proposal for improving the area.

Nihil Shah, 20, said: "This is a fantastic area. I really appreciate it being here. A pool would only raise the spirits around here I think."

A council spokeswoman said a temporary paddling pool would be introduced during half term later this month, but would not comment further on the work to make it a permanent feature.

"The water fountain was designed to turn into a paddling pool during fine weather and we will be putting the plug in for the half term holiday, starting on May 26," she said.