A petition calling on City Hall to fund the reopening of Crystal Palace National Sports Centre’s 50-metre and diving pools has received more than 20,000 signatures in just a week.

The facilities have been closed since March 2020, when a structural issue with the 60-year-old listed building was identified.

Swim England has now thrown its weight behind the campaign, stressing the importance of the sports centre, which is one of just two facilities in London that caters for elite swimmers, divers, and water polo players.

Writing to the GLA, Swim England London chair, Alex Harrison, said: “The only long-term solution is the repair and redevelopment of Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, with at least like-for-like facilities, in particularly the 50m competition pool and 10m diving pit.

“The loss of these facilities would have a devastating impact on the sporting landscape in London and leave us trailing behind other areas of the country.”

The London Aquatics Centre, in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, is the only location offering similar facilities, making it difficult for clubs to find training time.

Mr Harrison further stressed the detriment of the closure to the wider public, who suffer reduced access to the physical and mental benefits of swimming.

Ellie Reeves, MP for Lewisham and Penge East, also wrote to the Sadiq Khan expressing her disappointment at the lack of a target reopening date, describing the issue as a “major concern”.

She has called for the Mayor to secure funding for repairs and commit to the long-term future of the 50m pool and listed building that houses it.

Since the closure, Greenwich Leisure Limited, which runs the centre, has been working with the Greater London Authority to find a solution.

The costs and level of repair work required were said to be significantly more than expected, due to unforeseen scale and complexity.

In March, the Mayor approved expenditure of up to £550,000 in order to carry out essential maintenance work at the National Sports Centre over the next two years, including work to the stadium.

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “Whilst the Mayor appreciates the frustration of all those who would love to be using the Crystal Palace pools during this Olympic summer, safety must always come first and unfortunately survey work carried out over the last 18 months has identified a number of issues with the pool that require attention.

“The Mayor remains committed to securing a sustainable future for the centre, which is an important sporting and community facility for the capital. Further assessment work is now being carried out to allow plans to be drawn up for the future of the site.”

You can view the petition here

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